Interviewing Time!

The Process:

So first after reading up/learning how to interview people, I then constructed a interview guideline which my mentor then reviewed for me. I listed important “first things first” which included my explanation for interviewing them, what sort of info I was gathering, and how I was going to use their info. I explained that it was informal, I wanted them to blabber on and think out loud, and of course, I thanked them for their time!

I underlined the questions that I definitely wanted answered and the rest were fill-in questions, follow-up questions which may be relevant, and some questions I came up with on the spot because it seemed relevant to their response.

I was careful to let awkward silences be filled by them, so they could think out loud and try to uncover for me the thinking behind their actions. I finished by asking if they had any questions again, briefly repeated how I was going to use the interview, and of course, thanked them again!

Snippet of my interview outline

The Results:

So, I realized that freshmen girls have very different morning routines. Some do their makeup, some do their hair, some take a shower, some people the first thing they do is change, for others it’s the last thing they do. But it seemed like everybody had a pretty constant routine down.

The two main concerns about getting ready in the morning that came up during the interviews was

  1. The cleanliness of the communal bathroom
  2. The safety of leaving personal belongings just sitting in a shared space

Some people were clearly more conscious of germs floating around than others, some people were more cautious about leaving their personal belongings in shared spaces. Some were both, others were not so much either. But it seemed as though to some degree that everybody took into consciousness these two concerns when getting ready in the morning.

I realized that in general, everybody did two things no matter what their entire morning routine was

  1. Brush their teeth
  2. Get their hands wet (and subsequently, have to dry them somehow)

Everybody had different little quirks with these two things though.

Brushing their teeth

When brushing their teeth, people split into two categories which were people who left their toothbrush in the bathroom and people who left their toothbrush in their room. The thinking behind those who left it in their room was they didn’t want the germs floating around in the bathroom to touch their toothbrush. People sneeze, people cough, when you flush the toilet “there’s a spray that shoots out” and they didn’t want those particles getting near their toothbrush.

Even those who left their toothbrush in the bathroom, most thought about the particles floating around too but weren’t concerned enough to leave their toothbrush in their room. They would leave their toothbrush in a designated area that they perceived to be “protected” from outside particles getting on them (whether that be a specific cubby or a chosen back corner in the cubby).

Also noted was that many people chose to leave their toothbrush in a cup (regardless of whether it was left in their room or in the bathroom). Maybe there’s a more convenient design to a toothbrush holder which will protect it from germs??? Hmmmmmmmm

Drying their wet hands

Another thing that people did was they got their hands wet somehow (washing their hands after using the bathroom, brushing their teeth, doing their makeup, washing their face, etc). And then they would have to dry them!

I should note that our dorms decided to get rid of paper towels in the communal bathrooms this year. We aren’t provided hand dryers or towels either — so what do people choose to do?

What I discovered was that a lot of people would wipe it on their pants/shirt. They reasoned that their clothes were relatively clean and they were too lazy to bring a hand towel to the bathroom. Some people used toilet paper as a substitute for a towel. Because using a hand towel meant having to change it every few days and also wash it later, which was too much extra effort, people chose to not use one.

Some people didn’t like using a hand towel because they worried that other people would use their hand towel if they left it in the communal bathroom (and couldn’t bother to bring it from their room every time).

For those who did use a hand towel, a main problem they faced was the lack of place to hang their towel. Our dorm bathrooms don’t provide racks to hang hand towels so these people end up putting it in their cubbies. The towels are awkwardly stuffed and also can’t dry. 😒

Conclusion

One of my main worries was that there would be no unanimous problem to be solved in getting ready in the morning, but turns out people tend to consider the same issues when getting ready.

It was relatively easy to conduct a casual interview especially because I live with the people I interview and we’re all in the same class year. I would assume that if I did this with people older than me, it would be more difficult to keep the interview casual and have the interviewee feel comfortable blabbering about their personal routine.

I will later discuss with my mentor which “problem” I would like to solve and from there, start designing the solutions! (The fun part ✨)