This week I worked on user research, specifically observation. I first did some short observing practice in studio, and then went to a market and continued my user research by spending thirty minutes taking field notes of my surroundings. To guide my observations, I followed a Pcubed principle, where you look for people, practice, place. I also tried to use a P4 heuristic to look for people, practice, place, and problems, which helped me identify design opportunities.
Reflecting on my Experience
My experience doing user research was something I really enjoyed. It went by quickly and I ran into practices that surprised me. Something that surprised me during my user research was that I quickly noticed a pattern in my observations at the grocery store. The pattern that I noticed was that more than half of the shoppers at the grocery store had kids with them. It seemed that most of the shoppers were struggling to carry their kids or keep their kids near me as they shopped. This made me wonder what future designs could be created to address this practice, whether with having comfier grocery carts or with having kids rooms in all grocery stores, like some of them do.
What are some ways that you think user research can be used and what fields it could apply to other than design?
One field that user research can be utilized in is the education field, using user research to understand how kids learn, how group dynamics and attitude’s influence kid’s learning and behavior in the classroom. Additionally, user research can be used in the field of Anthropology or Psychology in attempt to simply understand our culture and society. Besides giving us insight into designs, user research can give us insight about what motivates humans and why we do the things we do and how we do them. This insight can be applied in business situations, problem resolution skills, and help us learn about cultural differences.
Reflexivity in User Research
Since reflexivity is inevitably a part of all user research, there are some ways that it influenced my research. For example, my choices on how to do my research, such as what time of day I went and staying in one place of the store to observe instead of moving, influences what things I observed. Furthermore, my expectations of what practices people would be doing at a grocery store, and what practices would be unusual to see at a grocery store, influenced what practices I observed that stood out to me. Also, if people could sense somebody watching them, it could influence how they behave and act. For example, influencing how someone acts by observing them could be a big problem for psychologists doing research, if participants think of them as a position of authority and act differently, all the data and observations will be skewed.