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Use of WebLabs as a platform for remote customer research

USI Final Project by Dirk van de Mortel. Draft report: [PDF, 500K]

WebLabs is the project name for a new, web-based platform for gathering user feedback. During most, if not all phases in the (iterative) design cycle, representative users and/or clients can be involved and leave feedback/input as part of User-Centered Design (UCD) process. This feedback is valuable for an evaluator (e.g. HCI expert), who then compiles yielded information and implements severe parts, by rendering them in the development of the product or service. Executing usability tests by means of a User Evaluation Method (UEM) as part of UCD is a well-known method. Other usability methods are e.g. contextual interviews, focus groups, heuristic evaluation, interviews, personas, task analysis etc that all might be applicable as feedback system on the web.
However, until now little information is known on how laboratory testing compares to remote testing, concerning Philips Research applications (i.e. multimedia applications for consumer electronics). Important advantages of remote testing are A. Time and space independence (asynchrone) B. Relatively low cost for a worldwide (and cultural diffused) audience/participants and C. Automation of results. Important disadvantages are I) No control after publication or invitation of users II) Applies on the imagination of participants when a situation is simulated/mimicked III) Requires special preparation (low fidelity prototypes become digital or hybrid: send by post and evaluated with Web applications).

D. van de Mortel, Use of WebLabs as a platform for remote customer research, USI Final Report 9044408127, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, 2008.
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Far far away … To help expats feel more at home abroad

Far far away ...
Far far away ...

A nice project done by MieKe Kleppe. “The goal of my IBP is to design a system or device that will help expats to feel more at home abroad. I used literature, interviews, surveys and a context mapping session to find out that the real problem is that they feel far away from the people that really know them. After some more research and idea generation I refined my direction in designing a system or device that will motivate friends of the expat to share their daily life with the expat with use of text messages. So I chose to design something for the friends, not the expats themselves. The biggest challenge for this project was to make sending the messages as little effort for the friend as possible, but still keep it interesting for the expat.

The result of my project is a pendant that can be hung on the phone of the friend. With a simple sliding movement a message is send to his expat friend. Context awareness phones are used to determine what the friend is doing and which message should be send.”

Download the report [PDF, 800K] for details.