User Research Process Blog


In the in class part of this exercise, in order to practice gathering user research, me and a group of two of my classmates went to Mary Gates Hall to observe people’s interactions with the environment. Me and my group noted things more specifically, such as the main hall being primarily a transition space, that was more crowded and noisy. We are pictured discussing these interactions below.

Me and my group discussing our research together.

Then, we presented these ideas to the class, and heard from others who explored Mary Gates as well and the HUB. We are pictured presenting our research and our design solutions for this research below.

Me and my group discussing our research and possibility of design solutions with the class.

In the out of class Sprint, I took to the 32 Fremont Bus route to observe people’s habits and interactions in this commuting environment. I took a variety of pages of notes (one such page pictured below) in order to hone my thoughts into one specific area.

One of seven pages of research notes that I took on the bus.

I also ideated future steps towards research and design solutions to the behavior that was exhibited, such as by bringing in people like engineers to ideate for the structure of the bus itself. This is important because observation in a field helps to connect users with designers in a way that is strictly based on interaction with a system. The users are not under specific knowledge of this research, so the data is realistic towards actual passenger’s behavioral habits.


In my experience, I found the interactions on the bus between the driver and passenger particularly interesting, and chose to note this specifically in my research. I was surprised that I had never noticed how much more likely a passenger is to say thank you to the driver when they are exiting out of the front entrance that is closest to the driver himself, and conversely less likely to say thank you when exiting through the back exit. I would love to explore more design solutions on this topic, and would be interested to see the actual behavioral habits behind this decision.


In the future, I would love to further explore people’s mannerisms in different settings. I found that in this practice, I noticed more about the way that systems functioned, and became more creative as a designer with my design solutions as well. I found that the longer I pondered the interactions in this experience, and as the time stretched closer to the thirty-minute end-point, the more that interactions made sense, or the more that I figured out easier alternatives to existing problems in the field. My thoughts in this sense became more complex, my research developing better as a result.

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