Archive for the ‘Assignment 3’ Category
For this assignment I was also required to observe areas that I regularly visit and conduct more observations. My first secondary site I observed was a bus stop/bus. I get the bus to University and sometimes catch the bus home so I am really familiar with this setting. When at the bus stop, in the city centre, I was the third in the line. I entered the shelter and the two people in front of me where standing side by side staring out of the glass window. Both were men. First in line I think was a student as he wore a hoodie and carried a bag which seemed heavy suggesting there was quite a lot of text books or even a laptop in there. He also wore jeans and trainers. His body language seemed tired as he leaned on the shelter and had a glum look on his face. The next man was a lot more older probably aged between 70-80. He wore a grey coat and a dark grandad hat. He used a walking stick and also seemed rather tired. He carried a couple of Tesco bags so he clearly has been buying groceries and since it was nearly half past four I assumed he was on his way home. Soon a women with a young child joined the shelter and sat on the seat opposite where I was standing keeping the queue still in place. I have noticed that when waiting in line for a bus people like to form a queue. If there was no clear queue people would remember who was waiting first and suddenly the queue would reform. This is not compulsory but its almost like a rule you most follow when at a bus stop or you will get strange looks because you are skipping.
When on the bus I sat in the middle at the window. I noticed most older people sat at the front with the younger/noisier people at the back. I started thinking why this was and I came up with a couple of answers. The further to the back of the bus you get there are steps so perhaps the elderly people struggle to step over them. Another answer would be that because the bus moves while you are walking to a seat, elderly people may lose balance so they sit on the closest seat possible. Perhaps if the bus waited till the older person can find a seat they may venture further up the bus. Another thing I noticed that when the bus was full and an elderly person came on and there was no seat at the front but a younger person sitting in one of the seats at the front got up and gave her the seat and he moved to the back. This is also like an unwritten rule while on the bus. People on the bus wore casual clothes nothing too fancy. There was nobody wearing suits or anything as near as formal as that. Some people carried shopping bags and a couple of people read a newspaper. It was quite noisy as it was busy but it got more noisier the further up the back of the bus because there were school students laughing and chatting quite loudly.
My second secondary site was a shopping centre in Dundee, The Overgate. I regularly visit here not just for shopping but for short cuts to other parts of the town. I noticed that the people here wore all types of clothing formal, casual and unusual were all present. I recognized some subcultures here that were present in the lecture at Uni. There was not a stand out one but most people had elements of many subcultures like hippy and punk. There was no dominant age or gender here it was all mixed with different types of people. However there was a separation in the types of people here. People shopping and people cutting through the centre. Shoppers looked generally happy, chatting away with friends and enjoying themselves.
Here is an image of people shopping in Sports Direct inside the Overgate:
People at coffee shops sat close together conversing quietly just so there table could hear and smiling. Here is an image of that:
This was contrasted by the people not using the services of the centre but just using it as a short cut to another destination. These people walked quickly, usually on their own with earphones in their ears, which suggested to me they where not in the mood for interaction. They had a certain seriousness in their body language and facial expressions. Perhaps they wanted to stay and treat themselves to some food or clothing. Here is an image of someone cutting through H&M inside the Overgate:
Overall, I found this assignment enlightening as it showed me how things worked. For example when Pierre Bourdieu said people don’t like being in alien environments, that is extremely true. I found that out first hand when I went to the football match. I felt uncomfortable, nervous and I did not know how to react in situations like when someone you don’t know starts hugging you when the team score. However when time progressed it got better and better because I got more used to the environment. Observing people really helps designing for others to create a better solution. Like when I saw the man not understanding the label, I now know I would add some measurements to it to make it more understandable. Another example is the bus, I know if I were designing a bus I would not include steps as elderly people don’t like to step over them when the bus is moving.
When designers look to create something innovative or to add a new feature to a product etc. it is crucial for them to observe peoples behaviour around that object. Sometimes designers focus all their attention on the design of object but it is necessary not to neglect the affect they have on people and how they are used. This is where Design Ethnography comes in. You need to understand what is actually done and not what people tell you. For example if you asked someone, “how much did you pay for that shirt?” Then they answered “£65 its a designer label”. However if you observed this you would get the honest answer, it is a designer label but the shirt was on sale for £25. The person neglected to tell you this, why? Is it because they wanted to show how much money they have to spend on shirts, or how fashionable they are or just to simply show off. However if we observed this we get a different picture. Would this person ever buy this shirt if it was not on sale, shows that they are money conscious or simply they can not afford to buy the latest releases so buy last year’s trends. People filter their actions when asked questions, like this person did tell the truth to an extent but let the sale topic not come into the conversation. Therefore to get the truth about something you are designing, you need to know how it would fit in and work for people in real life situations.
Using this technique of observing, I was asked for this assignment to go to a place I have never been before. This was supposed to make you feel uncomfortable and be like a fish out of the water. This was to get us thinking about questions on why people do certain things and the “rules” of these places. I observed three places a football match (primary site), bus stop/bus and a shopping centre (secondary sites). In this blog entry I will discuss the primary site and move on to the secondary ones in my next entry.
I traveled to Glasgow for the football match between Celtic vs Motherwell. I took with me my sketchbook for some life drawing and note taking. I entered the stadium which was buzzing full of people shouting and singing, majority of men making the most noise. This made me feel rather uncomfortable as I am a quiet person so 60,000 people screaming in a packed stadium was going to cause some fear. I soon got settled but I noticed that when amongst the crowd of strangers they did not act like strangers. People who they have never met before had discussions throughout the game and even embraced in arm over shoulders or even hugged each other. This seemed strange to me because you would never show that affection to someone you just met in another environment. It was like if you are a fan of the same team you already had this strong bond like friendship and treated each other with warmth just on this one common trait. I found that quite astounding. I also noticed that most people were wearing green and white hoops because that is the colours of Celtic and it is there stadium so they had the majority of the fans there. Most people sported the same top with matching scarves and so it was very similar tastes everybody had. I felt like an outcast as I was very quiet compared to the noisy crowd.
Just before half time supporters of both teams started going away, some heading for the toilets others heading for snacks. It all seemed very routinized, they all clearly knowing where everything was like they have done this lots of times. It was odd seeing people leave their seats before the game stopped but I figured they have done this many times as they probably have all suffered waiting in long queues and missing the start of the 2nd half. When a goal was scored the crowd went insane, all cheering and acting like a huge family with even more embraces. It seemed compulsory to celebrate with everyone beside you. Opposition fans started fleeing the grounds when there was about 5 minutes left as they had giving up hope of a comeback to go catch an early, less busy, train home whereas the home fans stayed till the end basking in there glory.
I went to the megastore after the game and I noticed someone like me, a newbie to this crazy atmosphere. I could spot straight away he was out of his comfort zone as he looked nervous and studied everything intently. One other thing that gave him away was that he was not wearing anything green! He was checking out some T Shirts and he was looking at the price tag for a while. I tried not to seem like I was staring so I was just pretending to look at something close by. Then I heard one of his friends say something to him in another language. Then it clicked, he was staring at the price tag for a while because he could not understand what it was communicating. After they both talked for a few seconds the man picked up the T Shirt and took out his wallet and went to the checkout. I guessed the label was badly designed and did not include a Euro price on it or he just simply did not know English very well. I went over to that section of T Shirts and observed the labels, I noticed a problem straight away. It only said “Extra Lge” for sizing and did not include in measurements or European measurements. This is badly designed as not everyone will know what extra large measurements are as different clothing lines have different sizes. Roland Barthes the writer of The Rhetoric of the Image talks about polysemy, meaning images have more than one meaning. This was similar to this situation as I had many opinions on why this person was staring at the label.
Visiting Celtic Park was an experience and I may not have been too keen to begin with but I got more engrossed by it when each minute went on. It was exciting especially to see so many reactions and emotions the stadium had filled inside of it for the 90 minutes the game lasted.
On Thursday I went on a trip to the zoo. Like I said in my previous blogs we weren’t there to look at the animals, well maybe a little, but to observe the people there. I had a few questions in my head while watching people such as:
- What were people doing?
- What were they wearing?
- What were there reactions?
- How did they observe the animals?
- How did all this make me feel?
Here is just a few questions that got me thinking about this task of people watching.
While observing I noticed that children loved looking at the animals but they also loved the environment of it all. They were climbing on the trees and pressed on the glass to get as close as possible to the animals. They soaked up the place by frantically tracking down all of the animals and this was backed up by the gazing expressions on there faces. However elderly people were a lot slower as they took there time watching the behaviors of the different animals and took the time to read the information boards. Whereas me and my age group were in between these patterns. For example I took my time looking at each animal but I neglected the information boards. Some times I rushed but it just depends on what animal I was looking at. I noticed that other people in my class did the same as me.
Before going on this trip I read the Ethnography Primer. This mentioned that people say things like they have only had 5 hours sleep but really had 8. People exaggerate things to make them more suitable to the conversation but if you were actually there you would get real results. You can use the real results to create a more useful and accurate design by observing people. The Ethnography Primer really backed up my experiment at the zoo as when the day went on people got a little tired and bored. However when they got on the bus to go home they said they enjoyed themselves but that was not the opinion I got when I saw there faces when they were at the zoo.
Therefore I believe more strongly that observing peoples behaviour is crucial when designing so you can create a more accurate and beneficial design.
The website servicedesigntools.org is a service design website that shows many tools on how to successfully do design research. One tool that I liked was The Trainride. It is a customer journey that shows the user experience by using touchpoints.
The touchpoints of the service interface establish the relation between the user and the organization. The touchpoints can be physical, virtual or human. The user experience is obtained by connecting the different touchpoints in a sequence. This tool is not just relevant to service design as it could have been easily used for my second assignment in the 21st Century Design Module. I would have used this technique to track my experience and knowledge gained through each stage in gathering new stories on my images. It would have been an interesting research tool for this project and seeing it laid out in this way would be different as I have never did this style of design research before.
One design research tool that I have done is the Mind Map. I think everyone in some point has used a mind map to gather solutions for a problem. It consists of an idea/problem in the middle of he page with lines, arrows and drawings etc. to add solutions and expand ideas. It is a really useful tool and I could have easily used this in both of my assignments this year so far. For example I could have laid out all my notes in this way especially for the first assignment where I was examining peoples rooms by having sections describing that person then expanding that into there hobbies and so on. Doing visual tools like mind maps helps my mind remember more about the topic and keeps me more focused on that.
On Thursday this week our class will be taking a trip to Edinburgh Zoo! The important thing we will be doing is observing the people watching the animals (well some times). To get us practicing this we did a little task last week when in groups we had to come up with a new creature. Each of us had to draw a different part of the creature without knowing what the other parts looked like. I drew the swanky shoes.
Now we had this funny looking thing we gave it a personality and background, here are the results:
With this information we then had to consider how would we know all this by just observing him. It was quite interesting and got us all thinking about how we could do this in the field. These questions will help us to gather information:
Why do you want to observe this creature?
Where are you going to observe it?
How are you going to observe?
When are you going to observe?
Who else needs to know?
What needs to be done?
I now feel confident to put these practices to use on Thursday and will post my results soon.
Before Thursday’s class I had read a few pages of Dan Roam’s book Back of the Napkin. It is about Roam showing people we are all visual thinkers and we can use these skills to solve problems and present our ideas in a new insightful way. The pages that I read were interesting and I will be going back to look over it some more.
This book was used in class to get us all to be more aware of showing our work visually. As more and more programs like Photoshop become more popular its important not to forget that using a pencil and paper can be just as effective in presenting our ideas. We were told to participate in an activity from the book to draw on a napkin that shows our thoughts on a fruit of our choice. I thought about a banana and I put down what came to my mind first. This exercise was to get us all familiar with using our drawing skills to help us show our ideas.
We then did other fun activities in groups to show us how useful sketching out our ideas can be and how it can solve problems. I would recommend reading this book if you would like to learn about how to better present your work.
- Assignment 1
- Assignment 2
- Assignment 3
- Assignment 4
- DJ21012 – Screen Based Interactive Media 2 (11/12)
- DJ22006 – The 21st Century Designer (11/12)
- DJ22011 – Interaction Design (media products) (11/12)
- DJ31035 – Interaction Design – Physical Digital Products
- DJ32005 – Design & The Market Part 1 (12/13)
- DJ32013 – Social Mobile Apps (12/13)
- April 2013
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