People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Tag Archives: monthly

Monthly Method Spotlight: Informance


What:  A “informative performance” of behaviors that you have witnessed or researched. Informance uses acting as a way to tell, explain and share an idea.

When/why: Informance is a good way to build a shared understanding of a concept.

How: Designers showcase an idea by role-playing and putting on a performance.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Extreme User Interviews

Extreme User Interviews

What: Extreme user interviews are evaluations by individuals who are completely familiar or unfamiliar with a product or service.

When/why: Extremely familiar users can highlight key issues or problems. Extremely unfamiliar users may inspire insight for improvements.

How: Traditional question and response interview techniques can be used or a number of other UX methods mentioned in previous Monthly Method Spotlight posts.

Tips: Extreme user interviews are best done one-on-one to insure interviewees are not influencing each other in their responses.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s LawParkinson's_Law_Book

What: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” is Parkinson’s Law. It is the title of a book which made it well-known.

When/why: Remember when you were in school and you worked on an assignment the last minute when you had weeks to work on it, yet somehow you aced it anyway. Yes, it might have been luck or Parkinson’s Law might have been at play. This is not to say that procrastination is good, but when you have too much time to complete a task, many of us are bound to procrastinate. Sometimes it doesn’t take as long as you think to complete a project or task successfully.

Keeping Parkinson’s Law in mind when working on project tasks, milestones, and timelines is useful. When you are working on a project, keep in mind that if you drag the project out too long, you not only lose momentum but the work somehow expands to fill the time available. This is not to say that one should rush a project, but one should keep this law in mind when assigning, working on, or delegating project tasks.

How: Underestimate the time it will take to complete the project among your internal team. This is not about over promising and under delivering. It’s about setting challenging but realistic deadlines for your projects and for each project task. A mild sense of urgency is a good thing. Say, for example, you’re working on a book chapter or presentation. The deadline is in 3 months. Set a deadline of having a first draft in two weeks and asking a colleague to look it over, followed by a revised second draft by the third week, etc.

Tips: Decide what needs to be done and by when. Schedule the time you’re allotting for the task. Focus on the task at hand. Avoid distractions. Perfection is the enemy of progress, the task needs to be completed successfully, not necessarily perfectly.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Parallel Design

building-modelParallel Design

When/why:  A design methodology that involves several designers pursuing the same effort simultaneously, but independently, with the intention to combine the best aspects of each for the ultimate solution.

How: A type of prototyping that can be done by users. Ask users to come up with creative solutions to the issue being addressed. Provide them with basic materials such as pen, pencils, paper, crayons, etc.

Tips: Remember to have users design in separate areas so that they are not influencing each other.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Word Association



What comes to mind when you think of SLA?
Word association activity at User Experience Caucus meeting, Special Libraries Association (SLA) 2012 Conference, Chicago.

What: Word Association

When/why: This method is a quick and informal way to gather information and insight about what people think about a particular organization, service, product, etc.

How: Example scenario – You want to know what people think of your organization, but you know that people don’t want to fill out a survey. Ask them what comes to mind when they think of your organization.

Tips: Tell participants to quickly tell you what comes to mind. The idea is to get their immediate reactions and responses, not thought-out ones.

Next Steps/Conclusions: Look for patterns in the responses.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.