Since launching MindCanvas, just over six months ago, my life has kind of been overtaken by that (typical with startups I am told). You learn to live from crisis to crisis (sometimes the server crashes, sometimes a customer wants a major change in the system right now! You move heaven and earth within your little organization to do it, and present it nonchalantly the next day.) Personally, I have also started thinking of myself as an entrepreneur as much as a researcher and designer. Its been an exciting ride, and inspired by a posting by the founder of Riya describing the last few months at his startup, I am going to start writing more about the last 180 days with MindCanvas.
MindCanvas TreeSort Interface
To begin, apart from the excitement of life in a startup, what I am enjoying the most is having a ringside view of how research happens in the real world. Let me confess, I am a research methods junkie. What fascinates me are ways to understand people. Doing good design is partly about getting the right picture of users. What are good ways of doing that? What methods are used at what time in the design cycle. With MindCanvas, I have learnt a lot about the rhythms of research – what type of research people do, at what stage of design.
The first thing you notice is what methods are popular during what part of the design cycle. Currently, MindCanvas offers four main methods: OpenSort, TreeSort, Divide-the-dollar, and FreeListing (with three more methods almost ready to be introduced). My observations are based on that, though I do have a sense of what other methods are being used at that stage).
6 months ago, I had made a guess as to what methods we most expected to be popular. This is what I had predicted: OpenSort, followed by Divide-the-dollar.
Of course, I was completely wrong…