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Anyone else read and tried to create a mental model using her methodology?

I sent Indi some questions when I was developing a model and she actually took the time to write back and provide additional guidance.

Really helpful!

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Yes, I've been reading her book and saw her in Portland last year. Excellent book! I like how it included some practice questions because the method she introduces is not a thing you just pick up, you have to practice to be good at it. She also has lots of great examples.

That's great to know that she took time to personally write you back.

http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/mental-models/
We read this book for our UX book club a couple of months ago and I was very impressed by the book. We also had a very good discussion about the book. There are many good examples of mental models on the Rosenfeld media webpage for the book which I thought was very valuable.

I'd love to hear more about how your process with developing a mental model went. How and why did you decide to develop one, and was it as exhaustive of a process as the book makes it seem?
Crispin Reedy said:
I'd love to hear more about how your process with developing a mental model went. How and why did you decide to develop one, and was it as exhaustive of a process as the book makes it seem?

Sure! I'm happy to share what I did with you (and anyone else who is interested).

I decided to create a mental model largely for the experience. I did NOT follow the process to the letter. There was a specific area or two that I wanted practice in--combing the transcripts.

I've seen Indi give this talk twice and was always intrigued, but felt that I was missing something. The book filled in the gaps.

I was conducting some work for a client and already planning to interview several people about their experiences and perceptions using the client's website. It wasn't a perfect match for a mental model but I felt there would be enough material that I could practice combing the transcripts.

When I read the book, I had a very difficult time following the examples she used in the "Analyze Transcripts" chapter. I just could not always see how the quote led to the task. I felt there was a lot of interpretation. So I knew I had to try it to understand it better.

I shared my trouble with Indi and hypothesized it was because I didn't have access to the entire transcript. There was not enough context in the examples.

FWIW, when I combed my own transcripts I found it was easier because I had the complete context. So that was a very positive finding.

And while that part was easier, I struggled in other ways that I didn't expect.

One of the messages I got from the book was:
Do record Philosophies (beliefs or why things are done a certain way)
Do record Feelings
Do NOT record Preferences
Do NOT record Desires

And that led me to question Indi:
Don't Preferences and Desires shape Philosophies and Feelings?

The answer she gave me was: YES! Absolutely!

So that helped reassure me that I was on the right track.

Was it time consuming? Yes. And I wasn't even following the method to the letter! The model that resulted does not look like a traditional Indi Young Mental Model. I'm still doing some work with the client and am planning to share the model. I hope that it will be useful in summarizing the interviews and for communicating how the client's assumptions about one of their audience segments may need to be adjusted.

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