In a recent project I used collaging for the first time in a user research workshop.
As we all know images can be a powerful stimulus. Just think about looking at photos from past holidays, they draw out feelings and memories that normally exist below our own levels of awareness.
The thing that I really like about collaging is that participants aren’t limited to a pre-determined set of questions. The visual stimulus allows participants to investigate topics that have meaning specifically to them.
I also found that collaging was a great way to involve participants who were not as comfortable discussing their opinion and created a fun buzz in the workshop, with everyone getting involved.
“When we ask a participant a set of pre-defined questions, we are predetermining the scope of the interview. Instead, by presenting a visual stimulus, we are letting the participant start the conversation and bring up topics that are meaningful to them.”
Smashingmagazine.com, Collaging: Getting Answers To The Questions You Don’t Know To Ask
The workshop took place in the early stages of a re-branding project I was working on which involved working with the staff to get an idea of their views and opinions on the company. I asked the participants to select pictures that represented how they felt about the brand at present and how they would like to feel about the brand in the future.
Some great discussions were triggered around the images that participants chose and stories that might never have seen the light of day were brought out into the open. This resulted in some real insights into the staffs needs and desires being discovered, that might otherwise have been missed.
What worked really well was carrying out the same exercise with the staff at the end of the project. This helped us to see if what we were doing was really making any difference to the staffs feelings towards the company.
I will definitely be using this process again, and although it might not be right for every situation, it was really interesting to see the results when I let the participants set the direction of the workshop.
Sources: Smashing Magazine