Feedback: focus on an element of information overload

Monday, we presented our broad topic ideas around “Getting your shit together” with regards to life’s important documents to representatives from Microsoft and Motorola. The feedback we received ranged from enthusiastic and encouraging to bluntly disinterested.

We all agreed that we should veer away from important documents and information as a retrieval/archival problem and instead focus on the motivations for getting one’s s-h-i-t together and the barriers, perceived or actual, to taking on that chore.

We also need to look into the businesses which could benefit from a system where customers are more informed and savvy about their documents, which in turn would result in fewer inquiries to a call center. This could be the basis of a business model since any reduction in the volume of calls reduces costs associated with having a call center.

Information overload

Another theme in the feedback was “information overload.”  We feel our new direction, exploring the motivations and barriers to getting organized, meshes nicely with information overload because as we’ve charted out, these documents come to us throughout our lives and we are both overloaded by them but underwhelmed by the idea of dealing with them properly. Our design research will investigate:

  • the flow of important over one’s lifetime
  • motivation
  • emotional resonance
  • the learning process involved in becoming savvy about the need for a personal organizational structure

hand written notes about overload

 

Next steps: collecting horror stories

We will be conducting speed interviews about people’s horror stories involving important documents.

We will also be adjusting the diagram to show a spike at the end of one’s life since at that time, you are inundated with another set of legal, tax and financial documents.

We will also have interviewees look at our list of  important documents  types (i.e., tax returns, transcripts, passports, contracts etc.) and tell us about if / where they keep such documents and ask them how long would it take for them to put their hands on that document and how long they expect to keep it in their possession and why.

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