Framework for Design and Personal Immersion Exercise

Yesterday, Brian Graziano and Kelly Costello presented the IA Collaborative design framework. Below are notes on the framework and a personal immersion exercise.

IA Collaborative Design Framework

– Personal Immersion: try to become the user
– Observation: watch the user
– Contextual Interviews: talk to the user doing the contextual activity
– Expert Interviews: ask experts about the product
– Retail Audits: look at how similar products are sold

– Design Workshops
– Design Development
– Behavioral Prototyping
– Strategic Road Map

– Design Engineering
– Design Refinement
– Evaluative Research

Tips for Design
– Fully engage: get as close to the process as possible
– Be open-minded: people will shut down if they sense you are being judgmental
– Get visual: draw as much as possible
– Be patient: design insights take time

What to Look For in Primary Research
– Workarounds: learn from users that create their own solutions
– Interactions: observe the exchanges going on in a space
– People: look for key players in the interactions, dependencies
– Processes: consider all of the decision and activity points, document actions and results

Combining Research With Team Members
– Observations: what you saw, what impressed or bothered you
– Insights: patterns of observations from several team members
– Guiding principles: statements based on insights to inspire concept development

Personal Immersion Exercise


We broke out into groups and went to fast food restaurants to observe and document. Jenna, Zhe and I went to Intelligensia. The Chicago-based coffee chain does not have a strong street presence. Upon entry, it took a moment to tell who was standing in line versus waiting for an order placed. We looked around for a menu but didn’t see one until we were next to the cashier. The regular coffee menu was next to the regular tea menu. A third menu for the daily specials was on the other side of the shelf. As we were deciding on our orders, people waiting behind us seemed upset. We let a gentleman pass us. The credit card machine malfunctioned for him and as we waited, we noticed a cold beverage counter below waist level, under the pastry counter.

We waited five minutes before our names were called. We sat and observed. People come and go in droves. Crowds form and the place empties. The four retail spaces seem awkward. Coffee beans are the most prominent near the entry. Coffee makers and accessories are located between two central and crowded tables. Tea gets a few wall-mounted shelves in the back. A single cup coffee making system is featured in a wall inset near the bathroom.

– Retail items are disorganized
– Space is a premium
– Menu system is inefficient
– Managing different customer speeds is difficult
– Queue experience lacks clarity
– Gourmet experience is one of exclusivity

Guiding Principles
– Exclusive experience should not compromise function
– Separate experiences by customer speed
– Integrate retail space into consumption experience

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