Research Synthesis Design Solution


Brick and mortar 03

User needs

01 Directed storytelling

In order to get a feel for users' mental model of the wine shopping process, we conducted directed storytelling in which we asked self-identified wine "novices":

“Tell me about the last time you shopped for wine."

From these informal interviews, we gleaned the following general, recurring needs:

Informational needs: Requiring assistance to figure out what kind or type of wine to buy.

  • One person was shopping at the wine store, in the company of a more knowledgeable friend:

    "I just let him do all the picking, because he knew what to get"
  • Another interviewee was invited to a dinner party, but wasn't sure what would be a good wine to pair with the main dish. She did some research looking at several forums online, but found the abundance of opinions overwhelming:

    "One person would say Riesling, another person swore by Chardonnay, so I felt like it was hard to get a definitive answer; like it's more of an art than a science."


Emotional needs: Not wanting to look stupid, wanting to impress others.

There was some sentiment that more expert friends would judge others based on their knowledge (or lack thereof), whether this was true or not...

  • "He's a bit of a wine snob, so I wanted to show him that I could hold my own"
  • "I bought a Zinfandel, then asked what she would have chosen... she said something else... so I felt almost like I had 'failed' the test."





Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University