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Story-based Design Methods

Thu Oct 26, 2023

Please read Interaction Relabeling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions. Please pick out 3 quotes from the paper and write 1 paragraph response for each.


“While usability is often a laudable goal, it isn't enough. Focusing on ease of use tends to encourage a narrow view of what ‘use’ is with respect to technology, emphasizing efficiency and productivity over exploration or curiosity.”

From reading discussions online between designers in the interactive design field, the discussion of aesthetics vs usability often comes up with a strong divide between the sides of which is more important to product design. However, it is essential to recognize that aesthetics and usability don't have to be mutually exclusive and a well-designed product would ideally strike a balance between the two aspects. Aesthetics is the first thing that users engage with when looking at an app or product, so it is an important entry point to create an inviting experience and make the interaction enjoyable when they use it. Usability ensures the product functions effectively and provides value as a tool for the user, so they continue to use it. Combining both elements encourages efficiency and exploration creating a more holistic experience.

“The ‘hands-on’ nature of interaction relabelling enables participants to come up with novel ideas about interaction which are different from those which emerge from market research, literature studies, traditional brainstorming techniques or sketching."

Relabelling is an unique process of idea generation that allows participants to break free from preconceived notions and come up with innovative ideas in contrast to traditional brainstorming methods. By encouraging participants to engage directly with the product and think outside the box by putting two seemingly unrelated ideas together, such as the revolver and appointment system in the reading, there are a lot of novel interactions that can be explored. The idea of shooting bullets at a person to create an appointment sounds absurd but the exercise allowed the participants to observe that the way people can interact with appointments can vary strongly and each point of the appointment-making experience becomes an opportunity to design a novel interaction.

“By taking characters that are extremes, character traits can be exposed which, though common, remain hidden because they are antisocial or in conflict with a person’s status...Designing for extreme characters was useful for this project in highlighting issues such as secrecy, status, and autonomy not normally emphasized by appointment managers. "

At first, the idea of using characters such as a drug dealer, pope, and polyandrous youth seem like approaching the user journey process in the most chaotic route, but seeing how the participants were able to clearly define the difference in their experiences with the topic and their relations to one another showed how this approach can be a highly effective strategy in shedding light on concealed issues. By highlighting friction points and requirements of such extreme characters, the participants can cater to a broader user spectrum and discover the needs and behaviors of users that aren't based on a cookie-cutter persona that may be closer to a reflection of their own experiences and expectations of the product.


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