Research kick off!

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Today we started the research phase of our thesis projects with a great talk from Christine Truc, the founder of the Design Strategy Lab. Christine in an expert in User Research and gave us an overview of how to plan and implement our research. As i mentioned before i am looking into what it means for people to live a balanced life, what are people’s personal values they need to meet to feel comfortable in their lifestyle. I am also especially interested to see if personal informatics can play a role in helping people achieve this. If you can access more information about your day  to day actions that is currently hard to access or invisible would this help. For my research i am going to work with three user groups; students, couples who live together and work, and couples that live together with a family. By working with these user groups i hope to see how people’s priorities change through a change in age and their lifestyle? What do people need to do to live a meaningful life, and do they use any tools or strategies to achieve this. This week i will be working on preparing different tools to use for during my interviews, these may include diaries, mapping tools or card sorting activities. I will post about them here as i define and create them! At the end of last week i also did some initial research on what tools are currently available and did a quick email question asking people “what information about their lives that is currently limited would they like to have better access to?” Some of the reply were:

“A system that tells me how my personal actions and lifestyle (i.e. flying, cycling, recycling, energy consumption, food consumption etc.) contribute to my personal lifestyle picture and how this affects the larger global picture. Information is currently there but they all seem so separate as systems and isolated. I would like them to be more integrated so I can get an overview of myself and others (maybe my local community, or my social circle of friends etc. – peer support system)”

“I’d like to know more about spending my money, so I could manage my finances    more effectively. I generally am decent with my money, but I can let it slide easily when I’m busy on other things. I’ve looked at things like budgeting software but always seemed like too much work to set up”

“I’d also like to know more about my shopping habits, so that I could make more ethical choices by buying good things and not bad things”

“I really don’t know if I want to know anything about my actions. I’d rather get unexpected information about my life, that could trigger a change in behaviour or make me reflect upon certain aspects of my life”

Although this exercise was slightly random, i found it very interested to here such a wide range of responses. It helped me see that the area i am dealing with is very subjective to the user. Different people can have such a wide range of personal values.

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