SUMMARY
The brief for this project asked us to do research for brightSolid, an online technology business specializing in ancestry and genealogy.  Our task was to evaluate the existing family tree interface for the findmypast.co.uk website and create suggestions for improvements of the family tree function or create a completely new concept. Through our initial desk research of the client’s competition and the concept of memory sharing we moved into the user-testing phase, which lead us to the concept development phase. From our research, we came up with two options for the project to move forward, one was to keep the existing findmypast.co.uk interface but make improvements based on the results from our user testing sessions and the other was to create a new concept based on our initial research and findings from what our users said about expectation and wants. We decided to move forward with our new concept because this allowed us to think of the broader challenges instead of coming up with “band- aid solutions” to cover up current interface problems.

MY ROLE
In this project I was very active in setting up a project plan, organizing our data and spending intense time on researching the topic and themes surrounding ancestry and memory storing and sharing. I contributed to the team by providing structure and driving the project forward. I focused on my storytelling abilities and looked at this challenge in a holistic way. I assured that the data from the user led the project but that the client’s needs and wants were incorporated strategically.

KEY LEARNINGS
In this project, I gained an understanding of basic HCI processes and methods, such as conducting user testing sessions and moderating focus groups and I was able to integrate ethnographic methods to complement findings from the user sessions. I gained the ability to moderate groups of people without interfering and to develop low-fidelity prototypes with the users during the sessions.

SKILLS
HCI Processes and Methods // Rapid Prototyping // Conduct User Testing and Focus Group Sessions // Concept Development and Design


MSc Design Ethnography 2011 – 2012 (HCI and Usability Engineering Module)
January 2012

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