User Research: Bus


I spent thirty minutes on the bus to observe the behaviors of passengers and took field notes to record whatever I observed in order to finish the memo. My field notes include the observations in the version of both text and images. My goal is to find three common practices and one most interesting one to have further investigation. By sitting there and merely observing others, I found out several practices that I have never noticed before. The process of doing user research helped me discover the flaws in the existing design and the result can be used to help the designer make an improvement in the future.

writing down the practices that I observed

So what?

The first problem I encountered was that I can only observe some simple routine, such as people are listening to music and people are talking with their friends. However, after a while, I started finding out something new that are less likely to be noticed if you are not forcing yourself to observe the details. If I started to care more about the environment around me in the future, it will be more easy to do the observation.

how the seats on the bus were filled by passengers

Now what?

The process of user research is a valuable experience for me, since the observation helped me a lot to be more patient in order to find out something that other people might not notice before. It is important for the designer to do a user research before the designing process, because they need to first know whether their idea will work for the users before they pay much effort and money on the designing process. For instance, if a smart phone designer wants to design a function of video call, it is essential to know whether the user will use this function before actually get to the designing process. Otherwise, if the user dislikes the function, it will be merely a waste of time and money.

And the result of the user research can also be used by designers as a direction to make an improvement in the future. For example, the bus company might re-design the handrail and ring structure to make it more convenient for the passengers.

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