Day 1 recall
Earlier in the day I was able to remember 6 issues I would want to raise in a debriefing from yesterday’s session but if I were to reproduce them, it would already take a while to repeat the exact steps.
However, today was my last day at this job so it wasn’t very mentally taxing. After coming home, reading through a few articles and running the Day 2 session, I had to think noticeably harder to remember everything I expected from yesterday. After an intensive whole day’s work, a significant portion of the information would be lost.
Day 2 Pen & paper
Software under test: Goodreads recommendations feature
I eagerly customized my Amazon recommendations at some point in the past and thought I’d see what the supposedly social engine of Goodreads comes up with.
The session got heavily derailed by login issues so I did not get to actually explore the target feature but I kept it at 20 minutes to be able to compare the amount or information.
Notes: I tried to be diligent and got about half an A5 page of notes (the size I write, it’s a reasonable amount of text for 20 minutes).
I did not record timestamps although at a few places I would if there was a DB/logs to be checked. I did look at the clock though to ensure I don’t overstay.
Recall: We’ll see about that tomorrow but am not very happy. I unconsciously rely on the captured notes and before reviewing them, only have a few specific memories from the session. I captured 8 points to be raised in a debriefing.
(Note: This is an unpleasant aftereffect of heavy context switching in a past job, I have little problem starting over with a blank slate but unless I take - and review - notes or consciously focus like yesterday, information flows in and then right out of my head. That’s a big motivation for me to find a recall-effective way to take notes and to participate in this experiment.)
Listing the elements of a screen was boring and a waste of time but I know from experience that if I don’t do that, I’ll have gaps when/if retreading my path.
On the other hand there was at least one situation where I rushed ahead focused on the final result and missed an opportunity to check something. Something I need to watch out for regardless of note-taking.
I can scan the notes but with the way I write, they will not be OCR-able and thus not searchable.
This is my go-to method but I have plenty of room for improvement.
My notes are structured and marked with visible symbols so I can quickly return to important findings. Symbols/PQIP markers also support “perspective-based” overviews - these are things to praise and look for consistency with, these are questions to look up, these are potential charters etc.
Still, I know more visual elements could help me retain the information better, and it takes practice to know what I must write down and what I can leave out. An indented list structure is not the best structure when a reference between a line and one or more (even worse) lines that I wrote down before.