On our journey through the Creative Experience Research (CER) framework, we’ve covered setting creative experience goals (Part 1) and talked about research methods (Part 2) to unveil insights that meld creativity with usability. Now we highlight a third key aspect of CER: analysis. This is where data becomes insight and we create compelling narratives that drive understanding of how to make the creative experience sing. This phase is not about getting a report card that kills creativity; instead, it’s a vibrant story that fuels creative teams and clients alike. In this article, we’ll reveal our approach to analyzing insights and evaluating success under the CER framework.
Breaking from tradition
From the start, it’s important to call out that CER analysis departs from the traditional research stereotype of analysts “crunching the data” and producing a black-and-white report that the design team has to follow. Simplistic judgments of “good” or “bad” are replaced by context, understanding, and clear decision-making. CER analysis invites the cross-functional team to be a part of the process. By inviting strategists, creatives, clients, and the entire production team to be a part of the analysis, we make sure we’re leveraging our collective knowledge and not leaving anyone or anything behind. Our goal is to efficiently guide the analysis in a way that promotes shared understanding and solid decision-making.
Harmonizing left and right
We take a rigorous, utilitarian approach to analysis to understand the functionality, usability, and structural performance of the design. Essentially, how well it performs for people on a cognitive level. This is where customary usability metrics, task success rates, and error rates find their stage. Yet, they are not the solo performers. We also do creative analysis that explores the emotional resonance, aesthetic appeal, and imaginative engagement the design evokes. The power of this blended approach is that it provides a fuller understanding of the user experience. The logical and creative insights intertwine and support one another to create a richer narrative that drives a deeper understanding of what is really happening in a user experience.
The methods of analysis may vary, but the singular goal remains – to create a balanced view that honors both the scientific and artistic aspects of the experience. Whether it’s through heat maps that unveil the areas of visual focus, or thematic analysis that dives into user emotions, the aim is to narrate a story that is both analytically sound and creatively inspiring.
Collaborative platforms and triangulation
Utilizing collaborative analysis platforms, contributors from various disciplines come together, each with their own lens adding a unique perspective to the collective understanding. Bespoke to the project and team, we create collaborative spaces that segment the user journey into a sequence of events and behaviors. Within each segment, we combine and corroborate findings from multiple research methods to build a clear understanding of what is happening inside and outside the user’s mind throughout their design experience. These collective snapshots of the experience, when connected together, help us to understand how the user experience unfolds. We see the holistic experience and its collection of moments.
Our goal is to evaluate how an experience stacks up against the goals that we’ve created from the outset. Looking back at aspects of the creative experience, we identify some ways these goals are articulated:
Engaging Goals: Metrics such as accessibility compliance levels, user-reported context relevance, and device compatibility ratings, gleaned from Accessibility Audits, User Surveys, and Contextual Inquiry respectively, provide key insights into how accessible and contextually resonant the experience is.
Believing Goals: Metrics like attitude shift indices, brand perception ratings, or semantic differential scale scores, acquired through Interviews, Focus Groups, and Semantic Differential Scales respectively, reflect the attitudes and beliefs fostered through the experience.
Knowing Goals: Metrics such as task success rates, attention heatmaps, or findability scores from Usability Testing, Attention Tracking, and Tree Testing respectively, are fundamental in evaluating the clarity, findability, and recognition of key information.
Feeling Goals: Metrics like emotion mapping outcomes, desirability scores, or diary study insights from Emotion Mapping, Desirability Testing, and Diary Study respectively, gauge the emotional resonance and aesthetic appeal evoked by the design.
Doing Goals: Metrics such as conversion rates, navigational efficiency ratings, heatmap analyses, or A/B test results, obtained from Usability Testing, Navigational Analysis, Heatmaps, and A/B Testing respectively, reveal the effectiveness of the design in facilitating desired user actions and behaviors.
Choosing the Right Medium: A Balanced Symphony
In Creative Experience Research (CER), communicating insights is an art form, weaving together narrative, visual, and statistical elements to tell a compelling story. It’s not about merely presenting data; it’s about making it resonate. Whether through a touching user tale, a revealing video, or a striking statistic, the chosen medium should not just convey, but evoke. This blend not only showcases the statistical essence of the design but also narrates the user’s journey in a way that’s tangible and relatable. It’s about selecting the medium that transforms insights into a catalyst for action, propelling the creative narrative forward with a rich, insightful harmony.
The blend of storytelling methods isn’t just a closing note for for analysis step, but a testament to CER’s ethos. It’s a call to not just observe and analyze but to feel, understand, and narrate the user experience in a way that’s profoundly human yet strategically sound. As we delve into the narratives of user experiences, we’re not just collecting data; we’re gathering stories, emotions, and insights that drive design forward in a way that’s both imaginative and effective.
The Creative Experience Research Framework
The CER framework emerges at the crossroads of creativity and practicality, offering a broader lens compared to traditional methods that may focus narrowly on either usability or creative concept. As we conclude this series, the holistic and integrated approach of CER shines through. It nurtures an environment conducive to informed trade-offs, arming teams with a richer understanding to navigate the multifaceted design landscape. Unlike the traditional dichotomy of creativity versus utility, CER weaves them into a coherent narrative that fuels the evolutionary journey of design. It morphs us from mere researchers or designers into storytellers, strategists, and empathetic advocates for a user experience that resonates profoundly. As we venture forward in our design endeavors, CER serves not just as a methodology, but as a narrative compass guiding us towards creating experiences that are as meaningful as they are measurable.
Part 1: Creative Experience Research
Part 2: The Creative Experience Research Toolkit