Gumienny, Raja; Dow, Steven P.; Meinel, Christoph
Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
New York, NY, USA
User-centered designers often seek to synthesize data from user research into insights and a shared point of view among team members. This paper explores the synthesis process and opportunities for providing computational support. First, we present interviews with novice and expert designers on the common practices and challenges of syn-thesis. Based on these interviews, we developed digital whiteboard software support for sorting individual seg-ments of user research. The system separates out individual and group activity and helps the team externalize and syn-thesize their different views of the data. Through a case study, we explore two computer-supported approaches: a structured condition that externalizes the different perspec-tives on the data of each team member and an unstructured condition that allows each member to organize data into clusters. Novice designers tended to prefer the structured synthesis process, while more experienced designers pre-ferred to freely arrange information segments and create clusters on their own. We provide implications for design education and support tools for user research synthesis.