User Research

What we did and why…

This week’s studio session aimed at giving us practice with user research, specifically observation. In studio, our task was to observe a practice field site and take field notes. We then returned to discuss our notes and present our work to the class.

Our class leaving to observe a practice field site

The studio session was useful in helping us to complete the deliverable, as it required us to complete a similar activity except using a different field site. I chose my field site as a bus stop that was across my dorm.

Field site that I chose for my user research

I chose this site as it was convenient and had various practices I could work with. While observing, I concentrated on people waiting for the bus, getting on the bus and getting off the bus.

I have also included a link to my final memo submission below:

My experience…

I loved the experience of observing and making field notes, as it was the first time I worked on a project like this. However, I encountered a couple problems during the process. It was difficult for me to decide on a task to expand and fix. After much contemplation, I decided on students that are required to pay for tickets because their Husky card is defected. I later realised that the practice I chose was the one which I related to the most. This bias caused me to choose this practice even though there might have been more common problems. Therefore, in the future, I will not allow my bias to affect my design decisions.

Where would I want to conduct a user research study?

I would want to conduct a user research study in a tech company such as Microsoft because technology and innovation interest me. I would expect a wide range of practices such as brainstorming, sketching, prototyping et cetera. Technology is a big field where design solutions can have a positive impact on society. I’m also interested to see if there are any practices which will surprise me.


Reflexivity affected my user research in many ways. Earlier I mentioned how my bias toward the practice and observation caused me to choose it for my design challenge. I also took my field notes in a very specific way. Instead of observing everything that happened around me, I focused on people waiting for the bus, getting on the bus and getting off. Though this allows me to have more details, it also causes me to miss other important practices or events that could have occurred. I primarily focused on the practices that are common to the location rather than unique practices. This caused my field notes to be mainly focused on the three activities.