Going into the project one of my SMART goals was to be able to learn to ask better questions. As an engineer venturing into the world of User Experience and Product Design, I have always struggled with asking open ended questions. Throughout my life, I have worked to objectify information into 0 and 1 as most of the logic I would use is at its core binary. This is not helpful when you are interviewing someone to learn about the way they think and work, to do this we have to enter the “grey” area, which is very subjective and certain nuances have to be probed.
For this project, around 77 interviews were conducted in which I have played various roles like an interviewer, facilitator, note taker as well as the analyzer. With the help of my awesome team, I was able to get better at extracting a lot of information from users with very little questions and I have learned to navigate the subtle art of picking up on nuances and probing them to understand the motivation, purpose and goals of the users. Towards the end my internship, I felt that I have not only met my goals but exceeded them.
During the course of the project, I have,
- provided my team of five interns with resources about personas, contextual inquiry, ethnography and affinity mapping to ensure we will be on the same page throughout the project.
- conducted around 44 user interviews and 3 focus groups
- created and conducted a research process to ensure maximum participation from employees of a large corporation by targeting and localizing context of the research around the participants.
- created an extensive survey to get supporting evidence to our findings from the interviews
- created an “Attribute Document” for every user to make it easier to extract personas out of 400 participants.
- delivered personas to help QuickenLoans understand their employees better and to cater solutions from the bottom up.
- learned a lot about working in a team dynamic and the importance of including team members at every stage, I wish I could’ve done a better job at understanding what each of us wanted out of the internship, but it has been a learning experience.
In my opinion, my experience at QuickenLoans has provided me assurance that the concepts professors taught me scale very well even for a massive research effort like this. I couldn’t have done this without the incredibly professional team of interns at QuickenLoans UX and the help of my mentor, team leader and product owner.