Today I submitted my documentation to the IRB.

“IRB” stands for Institutional Review Board: the on-campus committee that oversees research on human subjects. Every MDes student is required to submit an application to the IRB for the user research portion of the master’s thesis, even for “simple” types of research such as interviews and observation.

The IRB application process started months ago, when I met with the IRB’s Doug McFarland for guidance on my application. (Since I don’t plan to work with any vulnerable populations, he led me to believe that my application would go through without difficulty.) I expect to hear back from the IRB in the next two or three weeks, though it would be nice to be able to begin user interviews shortly after Labor Day.

This week, I conducted expert interviews.

In order to help focus my research area, I thought it would be nice to interview experts from industry, consulting, and academia (business schools, perhaps) to hear their perspectives on customer-employee interaction and how the service experience could be customized using technology. I think I may have started contacting interviewees a bit late; so far, I’ve done only three:

  1. with the head of the Target Technology Innovation Center (a SapientNitro division that works with Target),
  2. with a customer experience manager at PNC Bank,
  3. and with the CEO of a marketing company that helps companies send offers to customers through their credit cards.

I’m hoping to rustle up more interviewees in the travel sector, as well as more people involved in in-person, physical-store retail!

The Target Technology Innovation Center has the same furniture we have at CMU!
The Target Technology Innovation Center has the same furniture we have at CMU! (photo from the Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Embarking on the video sketch!

See the rest of the Interaction Design Studio II process blog here.

Today, The Joneses shot rough draft images for our video sketch. The video will show how a family (Rachel, Dan, and three-year-old daughter Norah) uses our software, FamilyPatterns, to make dinnertime more peaceful. Chris and Andrea posed as Dan and Rachel in photos so that we could create a rough cut of the video, and test it with our classmates on Monday during Studio.

The ambient display barely made mention in our Deliverable 4 presentation. In our video sketch, we hope to develop a visualization for electronic wallpaper that will feature in the kitchen scene in our video.

This week also saw The Joneses writing an outline for the final presentation. Following Yong’s advice after the Deliverable 4 presentation, we decided to stress the story of our journey from the Territory Map days, when we planned to create a system to help  parents decrease the cognitive noise of a busy schedule, to the development of FamilyPatterns. After a quick introduction of our concept, the presentation will describe the pivots in our project that caused us to change course.

By this time next week, we plan to have our final images ready for the video sketch.