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.
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.
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.