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Visual diary #5 | Questionnaire

After the initial set of user interviews, I created a simple Google Forms questionnaire to send out. The questionnaire had 10 questions that had been improved and tweaked throughout the in-person interviews.

After sending this questionnaire out to family, friends, and coworkers, I set out to conduct in-person research at supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops, and the gym.

By this time, I had made a small but significant tweak to the initial problem statement. It changed from “How can technology help consumers waste less time?” to “How can technology help us spend less time in lines?” The two big changes were dropping consumers in favor of ‘us’ and focusing on spending time in 'lines’ instead of 'wasted time.’ I realized everyone sees their time differently and I would need to establish control that everyone could quickly understand when answering questions.


Restaurants

I live in Austin, TX. It’s a big foodie city and there are a huge amount of incredible restaurants, many of which are in food trucks. Once I began this project, I tried to pay more attention to others outside my party when we ate out. I quickly noticed people didn’t seem to mind waiting in line if they were with friends and family. Some restaurants had long wait lines but many people didn’t seem to care because they were waiting in line for great food. While waiting in line at a small pop-up taco shop, I did not see the same reaction. People here were largely alone, likely taking their lunch break. Here, everyone was on their phones looking for a distraction. While visiting popular restaurants, many people seem to understand and accept the fact they will be waiting in line. They seemed to roll that into the entire experience. At other smaller restaurants, customers treated the experience as more transactional. Picking up their food and leaving as quickly as possible.


Supermarket

While waiting in line at the supermarket, many people seemed to be scanning for more efficient checkout lanes. A surprising number never took their eyes of the lines before them, seemingly ready to switch at any point they thought they could check out faster. They didn’t seem bothered, happy, or sad. They seemed motivated. 

The questionnaire I shared via email included a few questions that sought to define user pain points while waiting in line. I asked about which lines were the most bothersome, what an 'acceptable’ amount of time to wait before getting seated at a restaurant, and others. After sending the questionnaire out, several of my coworkers and friends emailed or texted offering suggestions or input that I hadn’t accounted for in the study. Going forward, I will be adding more questions to get a better sense of how people see their time waiting in lines.





After studying Dr. James Spradley’s nine dimensions of ethnography, I came to the realization that people saw their time in lines differently, based on how they prioritized what they were waiting in line for. If they were waiting for dinner at a popular restaurant with friends, they didn’t mind. If they were waiting for a staff member to help with an unexpected task at the gym, they cared a great deal. It all seemed to come down to how important the task was to the user and their perceived time expected to wait in line.



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Bike navigation - Smart object Project working with @yumeng.design by @johnyvinoux
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One of the most important things I’ve learned in attending graduate school in New York City is that I need to be careful to not just design for New York City. And even though this will probably be the city that my service launches in, I need to make sure that its being designed for a variety of users, not just those who live in the 5 Boroughs. So, with that in mind, I’ve been talking to friends in Denver, Fort Collins, San Francisco, and a variety of other cities. Tonight I got to catch up with an old friend, Danielle Shea, and talk a bit about her experience playing co-ed softball. 

Danielle has been on the same team for 4 years, ever since we graduated college and she moved back to SF. The team has been the same group of people for 9 people, started by her older brother and some of his friends, and rarely loses players from year to year. Despite the high cost of entry to the league, she wonders what the money goes to, as the league provides almost nothing outside of a ref and a field to play on. One of my favorite moments came when Danielle and i were discussing her team name and the shirts they had created for the team - she rushed off to her room to find her jersey and showed it to me, complete with a logo and her number and name. Its these real world artifacts that help make people feel a part of a team and I think they’ll play an important part in my thesis moving forward.

vimeo

Another great interview today, this time with Will S. from Denver. Will plays a variety of intramural sports throughout the year, from casual softball in the summer with friends to ultra-competitive basketball year round, and some soccer and bocce in the middle to round it out. Will uses a variety of ad-hoc communication methods, such as GroupMe, group texts, and emails to talk to his teams both about sports, and social life outside of the teams. Will is incredibly frustrated with how poorly the leagues are organized and how little information they provide outside of the scheduling and field reservation. 

Perhaps the most interesting thing Will said was the notion of the “franchise” team that they have that carries over from league to league, regardless of sport. Since college, they’ve had a team called The Jello Hammers that play in a variety of leagues. If enough guys from the core group are on it, then that team can use the name. In this way, not only do the individuals jump sports, but so too does the team. It reminds me a lot of the Barcelona teams, which are all under the same umbrella for basketball, soccer, etc.

This video portion is a discussion we got into towards the end around the need for individuals to create games as well. To be honest, I’ve found this a little a bit up until now, but it seems as though it could be an important portion to consider.