The Stare Down

HCDE: User Research Deliverable

I conducted a thirty-minute observation in a Paccar Library. I sat at a table in the middle of the vertically large room on the bottom floor. I sketched and wrote down everything I saw in my notes.Often I would catch myself staring at one person for longer period of time and understanding their habits. After watching people’s habits I realized three practices. I noticed a taste testing practice, human interaction with laptop practice and writing practice. The taste testing occurred because there was an unexpected event in the library where a brand advertised their drinks and student had the opportunity to try it for free. The laptop practice occurred because people were on their laptops and I noticed the way they used it. The last practice was writing was another common thing that the people in the library were doing.

I was very shocked to know that they had an event at a Library. The event was called Study Slam for Greek members. It was very loud and caused a commotion. It was shocking because Libraries are quiet and not meant to hold events. So not only did it shock me but frustrated me because it was louder than usual. I then realized my feeling arose from my prior knowledge of a library but User Research requires a technique of disconnect and observing just to observe which I will do in the future.

As I stared down people and watched them do habitual practices that they use in a library environment, I felt some unintentional stares back. I felt slightly like a stalker but at a certain point I got over the awkwardness and found it interesting to look at what I see all the time in a different way. It almost excited me to start designing product to counter act the practices I observed but I snapped right back focusing on the task at hand.

Some unintended expectations are that I assumed that the Library would be quite at all times and it wasn’t which have initially skewed by research results. The reason why it would skew my results is because I would be looking for the obvious quietness but because there isn’t it confused my research. My reaction may have not been that shocking to watching people on laptops and writing because I’ve seen it several times before which may let me know minute details that are common and therefore my research not being entirely inclusive.

The sketch in my field notes shows my location in theroom and a rough sketch of the laptops people were using.
My field notes explains what I saw during the evnt at the library.
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