TAPT and contextmapping : understanding how we understand experience

C.J. Hooper, I.A.C. Soute

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    Teasing Apart, Piecing Together (TAPT) and Contextmapping (CM) are cross-disciplinary methods for understanding people's experiences, in order to build better products and services. Whereas TAPT concerns deconstructing and reconstructing experiences, CM is a method for accessing laypeople's tacit knowledge to support design. This article describes these methods, which have been used in domains including the humanities, software engineering, and industrial design. It describes a small comparative evaluation that explores the types of insight yielded by each method, and the contexts of use in which each method is suitable. Eight students worked in pairs on two design tasks, producing designs, responding to questionnaires, and participating in a group discussion. The design tasks were built to further the research of the second author, who assessed the designs in this context. Initial results showed that both methods were suitable for use, but that TAPT was better at dealing with emotional and social aspects of experience, and was faster and easier to use: TAPT was arguably better suited to the tasks. This study demonstrates a suitable approach for comparing design methods, and lets us identify the more important research questions about the use of TAPT and CM. The designs that our participants produced can be used in a future study to garner more insights, particularly about how informative and inspirational method outputs are. The strongest factors when deciding which method to use appear to be whether there is a desired focus on emotional and social facets, and the time available to apply the method.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)444-451
    JournalLiterary and Linguistic Computing
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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