I started my work on the 3rd assignment by reading through the lecture notes, the ethnography primer and IDEO Bootcamp Bootleg. When reading I was making notes, and writing down the thoughts pertinent to the homework, about how to prepare for and conduct interviews by encouraging stories, as well as gather data for my research: observe success stories, do ethnographic observations, experience what my user experiences, and trying to discover meaning behind all of that.
I wrote down the technique of observation concentrating on what a person is doing, how and made a guess why. I used it later on in my observations at stores that sell holidays decorations, because it is the-sub theme I work on for this homework. I also laid out the names of the stores that I might be interested in visiting and made a tiny mind map to help me sort out my thoughts about the topic. Then I wrote down into the design notebook the questions I might ask different types of users: a shop assistant, professional decorator and amateur decorator, focusing on can you walk me through...?, how do you feel about...? and why? questions.
The first person I interviewed was Carol, a professional decorator for 15 years. She told me in great details how she made decorations for winter wedding, halloween and Christmas using natural and vintage themes. She likes to use organic elements in her designs, because it's unique, you cannot always find it in stores, and there are so many themes out there in nature, it is inexpensive and sustainable. Below are my notes from the interview:
The second person I interviewed was a shop assistant at the Christmas store at downtown Macy's store. It was her first day at the Christmas store and she couldn't tell much about decorations from the prospective of a person working at that store, though she told me an interesting story of her life. She is jewish and her husband was a christian, and the first thing they bought after getting married was a Christmas tree. She always wanted to celebrate Christmas, but they didn't celebrate it in her family. She mentioned that she still keeps several items from her first Christmas tree (which she bought about 40 years ago), and I guess it is something that reminds her of her husband who passed away a year ago. She also mentioned several issues with holiday decorations like fragility, and small size for some of them that you should be aware of if you have little kids.
The third person I interviewed was a shopping assistant from Michaels store. From her I learned that the store gets decorations 6-8 weeks before the holiday, as people always decorate their homes prior holidays and most parties happen happen before holidays. Most of the items they have are pretty much the same as were last years, and each year there is a smaller collection of new items. She told me that she already decorated her apartments, because she will be busy at work at the end of the year. Two of the three people I interviewed mentioned that they don't do a lot of decorations because they live in small apartments. She likes about decorating for Christmas that she uses this time as a getaway from every day routine. I was recording our conversation, so I don't have any notes.
And this are the observations I did of the people shopping for Christmas decorations, paying attention at who is shopping for holidays decorations, how they are doing it, and guessing why they are doing so:
The last part of this assignment was to engage in activities related to holidays decorations. I decided to decorate windows in my apartments with mini-lights, which I personally like and also had at my disposal. It took me some time to attach lights to the walls around windows using tape, but the result turned out very well. The only thing I didn't like is the green cord that goes from the lights to the circuit below the window, and the fact that tomorrow morning I can find all the construction on the floor, because tape is not the most reliable thing to use for this.
I found several opportunities from the interviews, observations of people shopping for holidays decorations and by engaging in decorations myself. Hera are the two opportunities that I like most:
- An old lady needs a way to keep her memories of holidays she spent with her husband, because these are one of the dearest memories of all.
- A lady needs a way to store her holidays decorations, because the holiday decorations take up too much space in her closet.