User Research Process
For my study, I chose to make observations at the undergraduate library. I seated myself in a couple of different locations so I would be able to view different areas in the first floor. For each of my observing locations, I tried to blend into everyone else by having my laptop out along with my notebook (for observations) so people would not change their behaviors based on my actions. I then proceeded to write down anything and everything that caught my attention. It was surprising to me how fast time actually passed by when I was taking in my surroundings, and how many common practices there were between individuals that I had not expected to be prevalent throughout the library.
My Chosen Practice
During my observations, I witnessed almost every student walk through the entrance and immediately take a lap around the bottom floor of the library. From what I could tell, it looked like all of the students did this in order to find a seat in that had a table in front of it (Project Link).
My group and I were allowed 1 hour to come up with an idea to address the problem we chose. We started by coming up with a solution for this issue by quickly sketching ideas that came to each of us. After we had gotten a decent number of sketches done, we decided to compare each idea by how much of an impact they would make, and how easy it would be to implement it.
After some discussion, we decided on the following:
Due to the ample amount of chairs available, we thought it would be a good idea to create a transportable type of desk that is attachable to any type of chair. The desk itself can open up for extra storage, and after each use, stores its own parts (some sort of device that allows for attachment between the desk and chair). The desk also comes with a lock so people can secure their belongings when needing to leave the area for a quick task (bathroom, water, snack, etc.). Since our library allows students to check out items, we decided it would be a good idea to make these desks available to students through the library rental system.
Overall, this was a very fun challenge and I really enjoyed being able to use real problems and real user research to create a solution. I am very excited to see what other ideas I can come up with when given a longer amount of time!