User Experience Research Case Study
Phase 1 -Overview of the project:
As UX researchers we are continually looking for a contextual understanding of user behaviours and needs to define UX feature requirements better.
A diary study is a research method to collect qualitative data with a minimal intrusion getting insights into participant’s environments over an extended period.
An organization creating educational media for children have recently decided to expand their user base by creating short educational media for adults. The findings from this research will help them identify ways to improve people’s wait experiences and will help inform both the type of media they create as well as how it’s consumed (e.g., interactive, games, video, articles, etc.)
From analyzing the scenario, we came up with some possible themes:
The context of waiting experience
Factors of decision making
Perception of wait times (psychological processes)
After we were able to synthesize our research question:
How do various waiting experiences shape people’s behaviours and emotions?
“It can be difficult in interviews to get a sense of behaviour over time because you have to rely on the participant’s memory of past activities or circumstances, and artifacts can only do so much to prompt that. One way to widen your view of someone’s activities without shadowing them 24/7 is to ask them to keep a diary.”
— Kim Goodwin, Designing for the Digital Age
Each team member was responsible for one participant, for a total of 7 participants. Participants needed to have access to a device with an internet connection, as they were asked to fill out 3–5 diary entries per day, over the span of 4 days, using a Google Forms questionnaire. Each participant was given a codename (i.e. A001, A002, etc.), to ensure the confidentiality of the answers.
Our group of UX researchers brainstormed possibles themes and questions based on our research question to gather different key points and achieve our objective with the study. After we refine the questions and these were the questions that we used in our diary study prompt:
What were you waiting for?
How long did you wait for?
What device(s) did you have access to while you were waiting? Please select all that apply.
What were you doing while waiting? Please select all that apply.
Why were you doing the above activity?
What were your feelings with this overall waiting experience? Please select all that apply.
What were you thinking throughout the waiting experience?
Diary study prompt:
Please submit an entry every time after you’ve had an experience waiting for something during your day. We are looking for at least 3–5 submissions per day. If you want, you may also include an optional photo of your surroundings with your response.
Instructions for Participants:
Participants received an introductory email and daily reminder(s) regarding filling out the Google Form questionnaire. We used a plugin called boomerang to send these emails every day during the four days of study at the same time in the morning which was practical to be focused just on the data that each designer was responsible for.
Phase 2 — Running the Study
Our prompt consist of 5 multiple choices and two open-ended questions. We also let available the option to upload a photo if they want to. We also send them an email with instructions of how to use google form.
The study happened for four days, and we got a total of 83 submissions regarding the waiting experience.
(PHOTO of SUBMISSIONS AND QUOTES)
Phase 3 — Analysis
We collected all the responses into an excel spreadsheet. We analyze each response separately and making use of stick notes we started to write why they were waiting for, their thoughts/ feelings during this moment and also any relevant information about it. We also wrote on it their code number to easily find later if necessary.
After, we created an affinity diagram. First, we grouped the notes that were familiar into themes based on what they were waiting for. ( transport, food, people, work/school, other.) Later we combined work/school & other into just a “waiting for something to happen/events” section and within in category, we split it off into positive, neutral or negative emotions.
Then we analyze the trends and patterns of people while waiting.
Something to happen/events
“How do various waiting experiences shape people’s behaviours and emotions?”
People mostly wait for food, people, or transportation.
Unknown perceived wait times led to negative emotions in participants.
In situations where they had to wait for other people, participants mostly had neutral or negative emotions.
Doing enjoyable activities while waiting resulted in positive emotions in participants.
Participants’ emotions were affected by their physical surroundings.
Anticipating positive events resulted in positive emotions.
Waiting is an inevitable part of life. In recent years, due to technological advancements, people have become more accustomed to instant gratification. People get the things they want when they want them. Despite modern conveniences easing most aspects of life from eating to transportation, people are used to getting what they want in a quicker, near instantaneous amount of time.
There are main two themes at work here: waiting with expectation and waiting without knowing. People can deal with waiting much better if they know exactly how long they will wait. They can also plan ahead and have distractions ready to cope with waiting. The other waiting experience is unintended waiting where people find themselves unexpectedly waiting longer due to extenuating circumstances such as a sudden car accident that slows down the flow of traffic to a crawl, or an unexpected technological mishap that disrupts the natural flow of things like unfortunate electrical blackouts or temporary problems with internet connectivity.
Waiting exists because we, as people, all run on different time cycles in respect to everyone else as well as world infrastructure like banks, shopping malls, churches and more. There are more than 7 billion people, each with their own unique time priorities and schedules. Waiting is the necessary process leads to the syncing all of our appointments, our social engagements, our needs and more. This is why mobile devices are so crucial and popular right now. Mobile devices offer everyone some form of relief and distraction from the waiting experience. During the course of this experiment, we learned that people were much happier waiting if they had some device with them.
In retrospect, we would have extended the study further by an additional day and added more free form response fields for participants to further explain themselves. The goal would have been to gain a deeper understanding of their emotional and psychological states while waiting.