HCDE 498/210 User Research Process Blog
What I did
For my user research, I decided to visit a food market, as listed in the options for the assignment. I chose District Market as my venue for field notes and began by sitting at the bar-like seating at the Husky Grind and looking around and through the windows and into part of the other half of the building. After a little while, I decided that I wanted to visit the other half of the building, so I stood up and walked through the aisles of District Market with my sketchbook and took notes. I finished up a little over a half an hour, headed home, and began making my memo.
To be honest, doing user research made me feel a little awkward. Sitting at the bar felt fine, lots of students do their homework there so it wasn’t that obvious that I was observing them; however, when I moved to walking around and taking notes, I felt that it was very obvious that I was observing the patrons and recording their mishaps and movements. I feel like, to better my experience next time, I could find a more discrete place to take notes that would make me and the patrons feel less awkward.
Question: Do you think that you effectively did not influence the people that you observed? No, as described above, when I walked around the District Market, it seemed that people in the market were very aware that I was watching them and taking notes. I was given a lot of wary glances and then walked away from. For example, when, as described in my notes, a woman was attempting to reach a product on a high shelf, she gave up when she made eye contact with me after tipping the box a little.
I feel like in the first part of my notes I let my own frustrations with inefficiency get into my head when I wrote about the issue of students blocking the pathway from the District Market cashiers to the Husky Grind entrance and exit door. I feel like I may have hyperbolized the act in my notes and in my later explanation of the observation in my memo because I have a certain distaste for inefficiency. I also feel like the second half of my notes might be brief or not in the correct format because I felt awkward walking around the District Market because it seemed that I was making people uncomfortable. I feel like I could address these issues before I do another user research excursion by preparing for things I might react strongly to and planning where I feel that I could be most comfortable to take field notes without feeling awkward.