Three key factors for Conceptual Model Design

As mentioned in the previous article, Conceptual Model Design is the ability to design a product; with 360 degree clear understanding of the user.

The best way to understand a user’s mental model is by interacting with them and most importantly observing them.

Interacting to gather data may also be very tricky at times.

A very simple domestic exercise I tried, was to get some information from a very close friend.

Gathering data to analyse her cooking experience you see.

I have known Seetha for sometime and I have already noticed she uses a blunt knife.

Anyway, this is how our conversation went on.

Myself: Seetha, How do you find cooking. Do you have any difficulty there.
Seetha: Its ok. It all depends on my mood. If am in a good mood, I try something new, else same old shit.

The conversation was going tangentially. So to pull her back, I quick added, “Do you take a long time to cut vegetables?”.

Seetha: Of course! Everybody does. Don’t you too take a long time to cut vegetables?
Myself: Hmm yes. Seetha, aren’t you getting too comfortable with that blunt knife?
Seetha: My knife is blunt? Yeah… I think you are right. I didn’t even realise I was using a blunt knife.

So this is exactly what happens, be it any environment, domestic or professional, indoor or outdoor, users may find it very hard to describe their requirement, unless probably pointed out. I knew Seetha’s knife was blunt because I have used her kitchen and observed her using this knife all the time.

We humans quickly or with time adapt to flaws and may miss out addressing factors that affect us. Hence observing user will help us gather those little information.

Both Interaction and Observation are key factors to gather user data.

Focus group discussion is another very interesting key factor. You get so many interesting and constructive feedback.

The three important key factors for User Centered Analysis and Conceptual Model Design are:
1. Interaction/Interviews
2. Observation
3. Focus group discussion

You can get creative with this concept of CDM, and use it in marketing as well.

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By Jayanthi Varma

Jayanthi is Imajine's Co-Founder, Designer and Developer. Jayanthi is in the field of website design and web app development since 2003. Jayanthi is also a certified User Centered Analyst.

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