Usewell project launches with workshop at E-culture Fair

Posted by Selina Schepers on Tuesday November 29th 2011 at 11:32

After a year of research and development, Usewell, the user-centred design roadmap, tool and website was launched with a workshop at the e-culturefair on the 17th of November. The workshop itself consisted of  an introduction into the research carried out during the develpment of the project, followed by two real world UCD method case-studies presented by Usewell partners, Bert Paepen from Pyxima and Mathy Vanbeul from ATiT.

In its online form, the Usewell tool offers visitors the chance to shuffle through cards, looking for challenges their organisation is currently facing, ranging from issues around innovation to problems with existing websites, in turn, these challenges are linked with user-centred design methods which, when carried out, can lead to insight/solutions to the challenge at hand. The 15 Usewell methods; Brainstorming, Card Sorting, Checklist Review, Context Mapping, Customer Journey Map, Diary, Focus Groups, Interviews, Mapping, Personas, Prototyping, Scenarios, Shadowing, Task Analysis and User Experience Test, were selected based on their accessibility, contribution and relevance to organisations and small businesses looking to learn more about their user-based, innovate on existing services or make changes to existing products or services.

As a project, Usewell offers an easy, quick and easy way to match method to challenge. There already exists many roadmaps, toolkits, books and websites which offer many takes on user-centred design methods, but few offer users a clear means on how to prepare, execute and analyse the results. Over the coming years, Usewell intends to add further methods, casestudies and tips/tricks from users,educators and those trying these methods out for the first time.

Following the presentation of the case-studies, the Usewell workshop worked with an off-line version of the Usewell cards. This offline, tangible card-set mirrors the content online but is a tool that mediates discussion in small groups. Each small group was moderated by a Usewell partner and the participants ranged from small-business owners, people from cultural institutions to teachers in higher education. The feedback from the session confirmed the intent of Usewell, to make a clear relationship between the real issues faced and suggestion of method and to make these methods accessible.

For more information, visit:
Download the cards, guide and worksheets:

Presenting UseWell mapping icons

Posted by Selina Schepers on Wednesday March 10th 2010 at 11:57

Today we presented the UseWell mapping icons to our social spaces colleagues in order to get feedback. We received useful comments on our current mapping icons and strategy.

The icon set we designed for UseWell is inspired on the mapping kit created in the research project Interface-Our-Space. Interface-Our-Space made this kit to create an overview of creative processes. This enables critical reflection and transparency regarding artistic and research projects which are often quite complex. This kit contains icons for persons, tasks, activities, communication tools, lines and arrow to indicate directions, etc..

The icons designed for UseWell will help in our mapping exercises to gather user-centered design methods and tools. Icons are for example persons to define roles of project participants, problem and opportunity which will tell us if a specific method was used to conquer a problem or work out an opportunity, documentation of the project, achievement to clarify what was achieved by using a specific method or tool, etc.

For example icons to display emotional collaboration, whether you agree or disagree or even stand neutral towards a situation, were not clear enough. We will redesign these, as well for the tiny detail of the gender specified icons of persons. We made a female and male icons, this difference should be visualised more clearly.

Another concern was that we are going to receive to few methods and tools with using only the mapping exercise. However, our desk research creates an inventory of existing methods and tools. The goal of UseWell is to gather methods and tools, which are the most used and innovative.

Furthermore, we were asked how we start a mapping session. We will use the ‘personal inventory’ method (IDEO cards) as an icebreaker to create a casual atmosphere and to open up the discussion. Additionally, a mapping session will always be led by two researchers (Andrea & Priscilla); one will instruct the participants and facilitate the mapping process of writing down and gluing to the sheets of paper, the other will take notes and ask critical questions about the ongoing discussion.

Report UseWell kickoff meeting

Posted by Selina Schepers on Tuesday March 2nd 2010 at 11:58

On Monday 22nd of February partners of Usewell met at the Media & Design Academy. It was the first chance for many of the partners to meet each other and to share their particular backgrounds, knowledge and interest in the area of research, design and innovation. The kick off meeting began with a presentation of the Usewell project concept. In her presentation, Liesbeth Huybrechts, UseWell research leader at the Media & Design Academy (C-MD), presented her research into existing illustrated models of  user-centred design strategies. This included visualisations created by the Belgian User-centred design consultancy Namahn, Liz Sander’s graphical interpretation of design research across various user-centred domains, Anne Nigten’s collaborative creative tool called The Patchingzone and tools such as Ideo’s method cards, the creativity tool created by the design and innovation consulting firm, IDEO.