Journal Club 21.1.2011 – User-Centred Design and Sherlock Holmes

With many of our research projects employing HCI research methods, we had a light discussion on one of HCI’s core concepts: user-centred design. To stimulate discussion we took a look at the interesting paper, ‘Pastiche scenarios: Fiction as a resource for user centred design’ by Blythe & Wright (2006), available from here.

The paper looks at an alternative method to build an understanding of target users of systems in the tasks they do and the scenarios that bring about the need for these tasks. The proposed method is the creative use of well-known fictional characters, such as Sherlock Holmes or Bridget Jones, in creating personas and scenarios over the standard ‘static’ methods of rolling out some basic statistics such as demographics and job title. This approach can make the process of UCD a lot more fun and lead to an enriched understanding of the users needs, desires and cultural issues.  In particular, their use could be helpful for the types of studies we do here at LiSC that involve real people in real environments instead of  tightly controlled lab studies.

Examples of our projects that could benefit from the use of pistache scenarios are ENACT and Electro-Magnates, both of which will involve a diverse range of pariticpants touching upon sensitive aspects of their well-being and lifestyles.

A new cake made its debut appearance, the Sticky Toffee with butterscotch cream, it sure gave the Carrot and Walnut cake a run for its money.

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