User Research

Summary:

This weeks studio sprint focused on user research. In studio, we learned what field notes are, how they help us and how to take them. After that, we identified and analyzed the various practices discovered from our field notes. From the identified practices, we picked the most different or intriguing practice and came up with a design solution for it. For my user research project I chose to observe people visiting the famous market Safeway. I was successful in taking down field notes about the events I observed. From these field notes I was able to identify three common practices and one interesting practice for which I provided a design solution for. The link to my memo and appendix may be found below:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzEtqOG6ipTNVUZQOXJYYXp0dW8

Reflection:

During the course of my observation at Safeway I identified numerous practices being carried out by the people and employees shopping and working there respectively. The practice that I chose to investigate was the process of customers leaving their trollies outside and the monotonous repetition of they employees constantly going outside and bringing back the trollies inside. This practice evoked an uncomfortable feeling in me and that is why I chose to provide a design solution for it- the Trolley Track.

Brainstorming and noting down observed practices.

What I Enjoyed:

This weeks sprint deliverable was rather different. Instead of just submitting a written document or making a video, I got the chance to conduct my own observational experiment in the real world. I liked the fact that we got to choose between two places to observe — a bus stop or a food supermarket. Since we were not specified any particular location, I was given the chance to conduct my observation at a different location compared to everyone else. This reduced overlapping a lot and helped many students like myself learn to conduct solo observations and taking field notes.

Presenting practices observed and design solutions.

Reflexivity:

My observations, field notes and research were effected in several ways due to reflexivity. I entered Safeway with pre existing notions about people and their practices in food markets. These notions caused me to view the actions of a very specific type , namely — the common practices such as paying the bill or picking up items from shelves. Due to this, I missed out a great deal of different actions such as people buying age restricted items or returning to a shelf to change their product. But fortunately, after realizing this mistake of mine, I was able to observe everything happening without any sort of bias. I realized that while it is important to pay attention to the major and common practices, it is equally important to identify minor and less common practices.

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