Week 8: Diary Study & Workshop

Mar 2, 2018 · 4 min read

This week focused on developing our diary study and finalizing our workshop which we held on Saturday.


We had the opportunity to test our workshop activities on Tuesday during our research methods class, which turned out to be very helpful. We discovered some key elements we needed to change including providing more structure and clarity to our persona templates, as well as structuring out timeline so the persona template integrated better into the sequence. This was important because we had designed our workshop to be sequential, each activity building off one another.

First test of workshop activities
Updating our persona templates and timeline

We were able to test out our changes on a classmate on Friday before our Saturday workshop to make sure our participants would be able to easily understand the activities and do them within the general time we had planned for them.

Second test of workshop activities

On Saturday, we held our workshop. We had 9 participants ( 5 design masters students, 1 undergraduate from the CMU Sustainable Earth Club, and 3 professionals from elsewhere). We had them work in teams of 3 and perform the following activities:

  • Create 2 personas (one that cares about the environment, one that is indifferent about the environment)
  • Create the timeline of these 2 personas
  • Design a magic device that would make learning about environmental issues and volunteering opportunities easier
  • Redo the timeline to incorporate the magic device and how it would change the 2 personas future
Before the workshop (persona/timeline templates & magic device materials)
Teams working on personas, timelines and magic devices
Magic Devices

Diary Study

For the diary study, we decided to use a digital version using google surveys. This allowed us to send it to participants who were not based in Pittsburgh. In total we had 10 participants, 4 in Pittsburgh, 2 in New York City, 1 in San Francisco, 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, 1 in Toronto (Canada), and 1 in Melbourne (Australia). This allowed us to gain insight and the perspective of people living in different types of cities and environments.

We focused on the questions that related to their personal connection to the environment, including questions such as:

  • Did you have a conversation about environmental issues today? If yes, can you explain what you talked about, with who, and how the topic came up?
  • Are you aware of environmental issues affecting your city or town? Which ones and how did you find out and learn about them?

We also had them track if they did certain activities during the week, including things such as:

  • Turning off the water facet while brushing their teeth
  • Recycling
  • Using a reusable shopping bag

Most participants found the tracking exercise interesting because they found that it made them start to become more aware of the small day to day activities that they could do to help the environment.

“Yes, your list of activities made me consider how easy it is to undertake small tasks on a daily basis.”

We also had them take pictures every day of things they thought represented environmental issues. The participants also found this insightful because it required them to notice problems that they would not normally look for as they went about their daily lives.

“Maybe! I became more aware of the problems since I had to click a picture every week.”

Another interesting thing about the pictures is that everyone looked for a concrete representation of an issue, such as trash on the ground or signage about environmental issues.

Image 1 (Toronto), Image 2 (Ft Lauderdale)
Image 3 (Melbourne) , Image 4 (NYC), Image 5 (Pittsburgh)

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