User Research

During this week in studio, we dove into the topic of user research. We first had some practice on what kinds of observations to record and then split into two groups to go out and observe users in the libraries. I specifically went to the engineering library to observe how students study at the library.

Our group discussing our observations.
Our group presenting our findings to the class.

And for our homework for the week, we went out into the field to observe people on our own. I chose to observe people at a bus stop near my dormitory.

Here is the final submission to my observations and memo notes.

Something that frustrated me while observing people at the bus stop was the lack of action. People at the bus stop were usually just waiting or running to catch the bus. There weren’t many varying actions that I was able to record. Another reason why I was frustrated was because of the lack of people at the bus stop. One solution to the reasons that I gave is that I could come at a busier time. That way I am able to observe more people at once and record more diverse observations. But during the time I was observing people, I noticed that became more aware of reoccurring patterns among different people.

A question that comes to mind is; What would you do if someone were to interact with you during your research?

I personally would engage and take advantage of the situation and direct their attention to the actions of the people around us. I would even reveal that I am observing people and tell them the truth of what I am doing to see what their reaction is and see how that might affect their actions at the bus stop.

In light of reflexivity, an example of a way that I might have influenced my own research is that I could have stood in front of the bus stop where most people usually stand to get ready to ride the incoming bus. I could have caused other people to join me to wait in line because in my observation, I found it takes a catalyst to lead other people to decide to wait in line for the bus.

A example of a reflexive issue is the physical presence of the researcher within the the environment that they are observing. In the case that there is only one person and the observer. There may be things that the single person may do when there is no one around which the researcher may influencing the actions of the observed.

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