We are five enthusiastic Interaction Design students at the 'HAN University of Applied Science'. Our project: Work on a major consumer mobile platform for an energy company. It's our job to identify a new customer value proposition, prototype the interface features and test the user experience. Our target audience is very diverse. Because we have limited time, we are focussing on young adults within a range of 18 - 30 years old who share houses.
Week 1 - Get User Insights
How do we gain insight into the perception of personal energy consumption within shared houses? That's our main goal for the first weeks. To find this out we set up a cultural probes study. Cultural probes is a technique used to inspire ideas in a design process. It can be used for idea generation, inspiration, values and dreams in a design process. The technique is about opening up the design space, instead of narrowing it. It serves as a means of gathering inspirational data about people's lives, values and thoughts. With a probe study you can find out what's under the top off the iceberg, the tacit & latent knowledge off the user. To get the most out off it we use a creative approach.
At first we've come up individually with some ideas and later we used the method 'sticky discussions' to decide which ideas we're going to work out. Next week we're going to discuss the output with the users who did our probe study.
To get some more user insights we need to make an Experience map. An Experience map is an enrichment of a customer journey. It's a strategic tool for capturing and presenting key insights into the complex customer interactions that occur across experiences with a product, service, or ecosystem.
To make a good Experience map we follow the four steps of mapping:
1: Uncover the truth
2: Chart the course
3: Tell the story
4: Use the map
To uncover the truth we need to observe the users. Everyone of us is going to do some research on their own. To keep focus within a small amount of time we first looked into shared rooms within shared houses. The kitchen is one of the biggest shared places in a shared house. We want to focus on the use of energy at the cooking process and see how people interact with each other when they use energy in the kitchen. Next week we're going to create a rough experience map with insights of these observations.
Week 2 - Get more User Insights
This week we analyzed our observations from last week. We observed the cooking process within shared houses and how people use energy together in the kitchen. With the results of these observations we created a rough Experience Map. To add more value to our Customer Journey, we looked at every single step in the cooking process. What people do, how they feel and what the say and think when they need to share energy in the kitchen.
We got to love post-it's! For our rough experience map we used a variety of colors to keep it all a bit organized. All different colors have a different meaning. Green is used for the activity, pink what the user feels and the orange ones are used for the quotes, the things the user literally said linked to energy. Some of them were very interesting and said a lot about how the user thinks about energy in general and how they use it in their daily life.
Because the 'shared' part is big thing in our case, we added some blue post-it's to our rough map. We have written down on these blue notes when the user came in contact with other roommates and what the contact was about.
To add some more depth in our insights we looked at the 'feeling' part of all the activities. Are those feelings positive or negative and how do they effect the cooking process? To make this visual we put those positive and negative feelings into a graphic. Now we can see how al those feelings are connected to each other and how they've got effect on the cooking process within the different stages.
Week 3 - Co-Creation
In the meantime we got back the results of the Cultural Probes that we've set up in the first week. To get more information from the users about how they have executed the assignments from the cultural probes, we have conducted several debriefing interviews. With the insights of these interviews we have performed a wall analysis. With the insights from these probe studies and debriefing interviews, a wall analysis was performed. During this wall analysis, all insights were stuck on individual post-it's. These insights were then clustered with different starting points, to find connections in different ways and to draw conclusions.
We could say that our probe participants are not completely aware of what green energy is all about. They found it hard to say what the real definition of green energy is. The wall analysis has shown that the terms like sustainability and gray and green energy are quite blurry. For example, they do not all know what insistence consumption means. All participants associate green energy with wind turbines and solar panels. So the link with nature is often made. There is not really a clear dividing line between green and gray energy. The participants are often more individually set when it comes to energy. They prefer self-interest over the interests of others. For example, they often prefer convenience over saving energy. Consider, for example, picking up the car instead of the bicycle when you need to do a quick shopping. One of the assignments showed that if, for example, the power fails, they would quickly seek help from acquaintances, like neighbors. Time is an important factor. The participants often leave plugs of devices in sockets, because they do not want to take them out every time. Or they leave the heating and / or lights on while they are not at home.
The participants are sometimes aware that they are wasting energy, but they aren't doing anything with that knowledge. Simply because they are not aware of their own consumption. Almost all of our participants don't know how much power certain devices use. They think that old and big devices, like refrigerators and washing machines use more energy than new and small devices. Not every participant takes energy consumption into account when purchasing new devices. With one of the participants, the cheapest refrigerator also happened to have a green energy label. But another participant was willing to pay a little more money to save more in the long term. In general the price of a product is usually the most decisive when purchasing a new device. All probe participants agree that the world must be preserved for our children, the next generation. So we got back a lot of information. As we expected, these conclusions raised new questions. To get answers to these questions, we have planned a co-creation session with the users who also preformed the cultural probes.
We started our co-creation session with the sensibility stage: discussing the results of the probe study and a little creative warming-up session, 30 circles. The participants had to draw as many sketches as possible in a short period of time. Those sketches could be related with energy, privacy and value in many ways. Next we went to our main stage, the fun part. For this part we created a little game with a very colored dice. Every color is linked to an assignment. Well that's not entirely true... Two of the six colors are very special. They are a gateway to get some delicious candy. Because candy makes everyone(especially Bregje...) happy! At this stage we mainly focused on getting more insights in a creative way.
The participants had to make sketches together about how they see the future related to energy, play 'hints' and the 'forbidden word'. They also had to select random pictures related to energy. All those little games gave us some good insights and answers to our questions. But to get more insights we had to ask some specific questions. To get the right kind of information, we started a discussion with topics that are mainly focused on privacy. Because we saw in the results of the probe studies and other desk research that privacy was a very important part in sharing energy.
Week 5 - Concept & Sketches
‘Go Green’ is a game that makes the user more aware of their energy consumption. The
user can save energy by achieving personal and shared goals, this will reward them with
rewards that they can spend on new energy-saving devices.
After the presentation we set the following goals for ourselves which we will start
working on: By using gamification we want to make students living in student houses
aware of their energy, water and gas consumption. We also want them to be actively
engaged in reducing their energy, water and gas consumption.
"In game design the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework is a tool used to analyze games." We used this tool to define certain key points in our game/project and define what we need to design.