When UX Designers Become Stage Designers

Stephanie Rosenbaum, principal from TecEd, came to talk to us two weeks ago about a new technique they used to uncover user behaviors for a client’s project.  She asked us, “What would you do if you had two weeks to complete a project – from recruiting participants to delivering results?”  We looked at her with confused looks and then she admitted, that most consulting firms wouldn’t take on a project like this, because 2 weeks is way too short of a timeline, but they were so excited about the project, that they did.

They wanted to understand how users would behave with the product in an office setting, in a living room and in a restaurant, but they didn’t have time to do site visits with the participants in those three places, so they decided to build real life prototypes  of those environments in the TecEd office.

These are what their observation lab and conference room looked like before the transformation:

And here is what “the office” space looked like…

the “living room” space

and the “sports bar restaurant”.

They brought their participants into each of the three rooms and asked them to talk about their own office space, living room and favorite sports bar and by just being in the spaces the participants started to act differently than if they were just talking about the space in a conference room.

Stephanie admitted that this was an experiment and they weren’t sure if the staged environments would get them rich enough data, but she was pleasantly surprised. She couldn’t tell us about the product they were testing, but we’re so glad she agreed to talk to us about her impromptu stage design method.

You can view her slides here and the recording of the talk.