User Research

What Did I do?

Since I believe that people will have more interaction with the place or people while taking a bus comparing to walking in which people will probably just listening to music with their phones or chatting with each other, I chose to observe practices while taking a bus from the west campus to downtown in two different time-period. While taking the bus for 20 minutes each, I observed that the most common activity people would do while taking the bus is using their phones, whether listening to music or watching videos. However, there were many other interesting activities people do on the bus that desire a further observation in the future.

When there were few people on the bus, I observed that most of them just used their phones as a tool to spend their time such as the boy in the photo I took.

However, since the bus went pass through more stops, more people got on the bus and I observed many other practices other than using their phones. Here are some of my observation notes that record people’s different behaviors.

I also sketched a little bit on each practice because I believe that can help me recall the particular practice I observed later better, and it was also a way to spend my time until I observed the next practice.

Difficulties I encoutered and Reflections

During the process of observation, I found that it’s very difficult to observe many different and interesting practices in an inappropriate time-period such as the first time I took the bus because there were not so many people on the bus. Also, when there were too many people on the bus like the second time I took the bus, it was very difficult to write notes while standing, therefore I had to rearrange my notes later when I had a seat. Although it was a hard time for a observer, however, I did observe many different practices that people did while taking a bus. Therefore, for the observation next time, I will seriously consider the time to observe more carefully to save more time on the process.

The most interesting practice, design challenge and future research direction

Among all the practices I observed and recorded, I found that looking for seats when too many people are standing is the most interesting one that desires further observation and research in the future. When I took the bus in a relatively busy time-period, I found that although there was a seat, people standing would potentially ignore it, causing a lack of space for the passengers who came later. As a result, I think a more organized seating design will be helpful targeting to this difficulty.

Apply technique in the future, Projects that lend themselves to this approach and inappropriateness

With a better design seating areas, people will be able to find a seat more easily. This can save people’s time on looking for seating, and also give more space for other people who need to stand on the transportation. This technique can definitely be applied to all types of transportation such as link and subway. At the same time, other projects such as public seating area design can also lend themselves to this approach, giving a better chance for people to find a seat and make the seating area more organized and clear. Nevertheless, since this technique requires a lot of research including people’s focusing area and their level of patients, and it can be costly to apply this technique in every seating area, researchers really need to consider the opportunity cost of actually using this technique in the future.

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