09/2016 - 11/2016
The aim of this course on design research was becoming acquainted with the different phases and execution of a design research project. Our project explored the possibilities of increasing the feeling of happiness connected to the experience of donating as well as the related customer-brand connection, by designing a vending machine for charity. The experiment focuses on the use of gamification in order to enhance the playfulness and enjoyment of the interaction between the user and the machine. Based on related studies, it also explores the possibility of strengthening or enhancing the connection between customer and charity through emotional arousal.
The resulting vending machine was tested with 30 subject, generating sufficient amounts of data for quantitative analysis, which was performed using T-Tests. Although results did not indicate increased happiness, a more enjoyable user experience was observed, potentially leading to increased brand connection.
My main motivation for taking this course was the possibility of improving validation of my choices for future design projects. Due to the extensiveness of these projects, many design choices have to be made, which cannot all be individually validated. Some of these elements, however, are more important than others and may make or break a concept. Being able to scientifically validate such choices can be a valuable addition to my skills.
A challenging aspect of this course consisted of choosing a specific scope and minimizing factors that could influence results. Both from the pilot tests, as well as the final tests, I observed various small elements that seemingly affected the tests. Due to the limited available time, the prototype used for testing had imperfections and was operated by a person, rather than functioning fully automated. Unexpected sounds and movements resulting from these imperfections provided distractions, which for any serious research would corrupt the retrieved data.
The course provided a valuable training in quantitative data analysis and academic writing. These elements rarely emerged in my projects and courses throughout my previous learning activities. Naturally, possessing such academic skills are essential for a university education. Insights from this course were applied in my research project.