User research process blog

For the user research project, I went to Safeway which is not far from UW. At there, I observed customer’s action and their interaction with the place. I observed how people shopping and checking out their items. When observing, I brought my notebook and pencil with me so I can write some interesting things down.(they can be treated as “practices”. I concern my note as a tool which can reminds me what happened at field. Also, it will helps me to identify some practices which is worth further investigation.

During my observation, there is one thing which frustrated me a little bit. When I was walking around at Safeway with my notebook and pencil, I could feel that people looked at me with a strange view. The reason is simple: normally no one will wandering around and writing, in a food market. Although the interpretation did not tell me what I might do next, my determination was not weaken because I know that I must continue my observation, the project is still waits ahead.

One question arose since I learned user research part at the lecture: why this part is important for designers? And now, I am confident to answer this question: For “HCDE”, the most important part is “HC”, human-centered. Our project’s main purpose is to make people to live a better life with our products. To fulfill this purpose, designers need to know what people exactly need in their life. Then, we go to the observe field, using our professional knowledge to observe, to analyze what is needed in people’s life. These observation also serves as guidelines to help designers to design and improve products.

During my observation, there is particular one practice which attracts my attention and I decided to explore it further because it contradicts my prior expectation. I call it “using self-bagging machine practice.” When checking out items, there are two options for customers: go to counters or use the self-bagging machine. For the latter one, people will scanning and bagging items by using a special machine. But when someone does not follow the process, the machine will stop working and user have to ask staff for help. As my expectation, using self-bagging machine should make the checkout process goes more fluently but things turn into opposite side. This example also influences my further research because I was thinking how to make self-bagging machine easier to use since I saw people have difficulties on using it. Again, it is HCDE’ s purpose that to make people’s life better with our products.

Final submission:

self-bagging machine
my field note
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