User Research — Commuting
I picked the bus stop at University Way NE & NE 41st St to do my commuting user research for the variety of people taking buses there. It is also because that I am familiar with surroundings on University Way NE, which later I found to be extremely helpful to make sense of how practices relate to the surroundings. I paid attention to when buses stopped at the bus stop, and before and after buses came, since they are the main timelines for people waiting for a bus. I took notes by describing the practices instead of drawing them out because they were very straightforward and easy to describe with words. Since there were a lot of practices, it would also be challenging to draw all of them out while paying attention to other practices.
The project is very inspiring for me since I have never paid such attention to detailed things that people do on daily basis. I realized how some small details could change the whole design. I also enjoyed looking at the practices and found out most of them had things in common and yet still have many differences. It makes me feel great that I took the time to observe and identify practices, which might raise design questions and challenges in order to further improve the design if necessary.
I think this user research technique is great for many situations, especially when a product or a design has already been put to use for a while. It would be extremely helpful to see how users are reacting while using the design. It is also a great way to generate existing problems and new ideas from practices. Public buildings, areas with larger population flows, and other things that are open for the public would benefit a lot from this approach. Since the user group is larger, it is much more possible that people can gather many different types of practices to help further develop and improve the design of the property by working with other experts. For places and things that are not open to the public, such as a private bathroom design for private homeowners, it would be hard for researchers to gather information. Therefore, this technique might not be appropriate. I can see myself using this technique in the future to identify more practices around my daily life and learn more about the design challenges.