User Research Process Blog
What Did I Do
For my user research, I chose to observe a food market with identifying practices. Since it is a place where a wide variety of different practices would be experienced every day, I believe there deserve to be further developed and improved. From the very beginning, I walked to the center of the market but then understood that this location was overcrowded, which would have prevented me from being attentive. So I spent 30 minutes not far from the entrance, observing a lot of practices and definite those that interest me the most: grill management practices, weighing-machine management practices, and knife cleaning practices. All this time, I was making notes, trying to make them rather short but informative, as writing prevented me from observation. As the time for research ran out, I went home to reread the notes and make sure they are understandable.
Here is my final user research deliverable:
Among the things that attracted my attention during the research was the hot dog cart, which gathered groups of people. It was rather interesting and surprising for me to notice that the clients almost never came to the cart alone. In this way, the salesman was either overloaded or had nothing to do. I wondered if it was convenient for him to work in this way, as he had no time to clean the cooking surface when it was not yet too dirty. In this way, the idea of a new design appeared in my mind.
Did people who were around you in the market notice that you were conducting research?
Frankly speaking, I believe that some people who saw me standing at the same place for a while and writing something wondered what I was doing. Still, the majority of them moved constantly so that they did not have an opportunity to find out that I was doing research. I was concerned about the salesmen because they did not change their position. Maybe my presence affected their actions to some degree but, in general, they were not interested in me because I was not the only one there.
Firstly, I influenced my research as I came to the center of the market initially but decided to alter my location. With this change, I lost an opportunity to observe the practices maintained by the previously selected sample and got a chance to find other practices that caught my attention. Except for that, the fact that I was standing and making notes in the place where people do not usually perform such activities was likely to interest some people and affect them. Even though they seemed not to realize that I did research, they felt my presence, and it influenced them. I believe that this is the most critical issue, as effective results require the researcher to stay uncovered. If the salesmen knew I was observing their actions and making notes, they might have been nervous, angry or irritated, which could have made them act more accurately or careless.