- Project Summary
User Research is the fourth sprint in HCDE 210. During studio, TAs had offered us a great opportunity to practice how to do the user research. I understood the P-3, which is people, place and practice, principle; I had my experience of taking field notes; I learned to filter out 3 promising practices from my notes as well as the most interesting one out of three; and finally, my group mates and I gave a short presentation about out findings in front class.
For the personal assignment, I chose Food Market as the place I was going to do user research. I went to the QFC that located at University Village. I observed people’s actions in vegetable & meat area.
The picture above was just one of my observation spots. I constantly changed my observation spot so that I could gather people’s actions as diverse as possible. Sometimes I even stalked one person for a short tour to get his/her consecutive actions.
I took notes on every action I had observed, and chose three out of them to finish the assignment. That 30 minutes observation was interesting. It helped me find out some interesting details I have not noticed before.
I also attached my finished user research report below. Please check it out if any interests.
- Something to Focus on
During this experience, I felt surprised to see all actions that I have never noticed before. There was no specific one that I would like to cast my focus on because every one of them was intriguing. I realized that the reason why I felt so surprised was that I was not subtle enough on things happening around me. But as a designer, that sensitivity seems to be very important and necessary. Therefore, what I would do in the future is that I would try to discover more interesting facts from my daily life, and perhaps do better in future user researches.
When I considering the reason of why people’s actions were so diverse and if I could really solve the problems out of that diversity by eliminating the diversity, I always failed to give myself a solid answer. But I do believe it was the diversity that made people an unique kind and gave birth of designers. Since diversity cannot be eliminated, I could try to take advantage of that diversity and regulate it with proper methods. And I think this is the main job of all designers, especially HCDE designers.
For my research this time, I think there might be some different actions being observed if I had chosen a different time to do my research. From my perspective, during different periods of a day, the types of people who were shopping might also be different. For example, parents or people in charge of cooking were more likely to purchase food 2 or 3 hours ahead of meal time, whereas college students who were preparing for parties could have totally different actions or decisions while they were in vegetable & meat area.
Furthermore, one thing that would lead a detrimental influence during observations is that the ways observers observe make people uncomfortable. It is reasonable for people not feeling good when they realized their actions are recorded and studied. In that case, researchers might draw conclusions that diverge away from the fact. These kinds of conclusion would affect the research in a very negative way.