Posts Tagged ‘observations’

Thesis update….

June 3, 2009

Today i have been battling my way through all my notes and quotes from my research sessions. In the end i carried out 12 interview sessions over the course on 1 week! 9 of these were in person (in Copenhagen) where i used a number of mapping tools and a series of questions, 3 were carried out remotely over skype (to USA and Italy) and one person (in Italy) also kept an in depth written and photograph diary for me for one week. In this she recorded all her routines, habits, frustrations, anxieties and happy moments. This information has proven to provide very rich and interesting material! She did a fantastic job! The people i interviewed were divided into students, couples that work and families, as well as a few extreme users such as people that travel frequently for work reasons and people that have a keen passion in their life (E.g. sport)

Currently i am still going through everything so i can’t say what i am going to take forward. We do have a hand in on Tuesday though, where we have to define what our design challenge is, so by then i will be able to be more specific! At the moment i am creating character boards for all my interview subjects and picking out key quotes and observations for each person. After completing this i will then pull out specific insights that i feel have potential to be developed. I will use these to turn into “how might we statements” and then hopefully frame them into a design challenge. Here are some photographs just now until i have finished going through everything…..

102_0262Interview notes typed up and organised

102_0281An emotional time line map

102_0284“Mapping Priorities” tool

102_0259A diary that one of my research candidates kept

102_0272One of the character boards

The rest can be found here.

Protected: User Research for new Library Service

March 12, 2009

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The library experience

March 8, 2009

For the last week we have been carrying out initial observations and research to gain insight into “what is a library? what role does it play in people’s lives?” After much discussions within the class we categorized all our brainstorming and looked at possible themes to explore further within our individual groups.

s7006304a sea of brainstorming!

On Friday afternoon we gave informal presentations on areas we wanted to investigate with further research and our plan for next week, and this is what we said…..

Community Action

February 17, 2009


Today we had a very busy day visiting train stations, doing observations and talking to lot of people! We came away with some very positive feedback on how the public perseive DSB to be as a service provider.  So our next challenge wasn’t to improve the experience they provide but to find a community that we could target and help them with creating sustainable choice in their lifestyles. After much deliberation, talking, drawing and brainstorming we have decided to focus on families with young children. As a group we feel there is huge potential within this area due to the community that already exists are schools, families and education. First thing tomorrow we will be going to talk to parents a they drop their children of, to try and gain an insight into how we could help them live a more sustainable lives though a participatory service.

Insights from elderly homes….

November 15, 2008

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we visited 2 different elderly homes in Copenhagen to try and gain insight into their daily lives and how it could be improved focusing on the areas of social interaction, physical activity and autonomy. We spent the two days talking to elderly people who suffered from dementia and their carers and doing observations of their daily lives. On this post i am going to write up some of my notes from these two days, that we then went on to analyze. (for privacy reasons i have left out the names of people and the elderly home)


Day 1: Fredriksberg

  • Owned by a Methodist church and funded by the Fredriksberg Kommune
  • The manager has been there 23 years, he runs it with his wife, his son grew up there
  • There are 60 residents, 64 full time staff,each resident has their own carer for more personal tasks like washing and getting dressed. It is essential that there is a strong bond between the carer and resident. The carer will be changed until the resident feels comfortable with them.
  • Most residents have either had a stroke and have dementia.
  • Large focus on the communal areas and social activities
  • 30% of the residents die each year (this is well below average)
  • “our job is to give them their identity back, they need their identity to meet people, otherwise their is no point” (Manager)
  • In the first three or four months the residents decide if the want to live or or give up hope, there for during this time it is the sole objective of the home to make them happy, help them make friends and enjoy there time there.
  • “you can make a cold cup of coffee warm with a hug and a kiss on the cheek” When the residents are sad or frustrated they complain about things that aren’t true, during this time they need kindness ad affection that the staff will give them.
  • They make a huge effort to make sure the residents keep their independence, they have their own apartments that they bring their own furniture to , they take them of trips to parks, forests, other cities, other countries!
  • They staff know all about the residents previous life and experiences they have had, so that when the patients with dementia become frustrated, upset or angry they can calm with familiar and happy stories.
  • They have a special room called the “memory room’ It is filled with old artifacts and memories to help the residents remember old happy memories.


In the memory room

  • There is a physical therapy room which is brilliantly equipped that that the residents enjoy using but the machine are very over complicated and hard for them to design, the interface should be put to better use or encouragement etc.



Working out!

  • The patient don’t choose who they end up living with, so there personalities often clash and find it hard to make close friends
  • They all have different experiences from the outside world-these need to be taken into consideration more
  • The staff keep a diary of the residents to help the family know what they have been doing
  • The residents always need someone around otherwise they feel scared
  • “They give you a lot, its very rewarding, when i see them with a smile of their face i know i have done my job” (dementia specialist)
  • “It doesn’t matter if it’s a new house or an old house it’s the staff, it can be a big room or a small room it’s still the staff” (dementia specialist)
  • There i no strict schedule in the home,the residents can decide what they want to do, you have to judge every situation as it arises “Taking the temperature” (carer)
  • “We don’t notice it’s a nursing home, because we are all all alike, we do things together like a family”(Jospeph, Resident)


At the hairdresser

Day 2: Nørrebro

  • Strong connection to the Salvation Army and is supported by your Kommune
  • residents move in because they need 24hour care
  • you move your own stuff into your apartments, and can decorate it the way you want.
  • There is a big emphasis in the residents personal space, rather than the communal area, there is a very big contrast between them. The communal areas are very institutional.
  • One resident said “this is not a very good hospital, I’ve been here six months and i haven’t seen a doctor!” this shows her association with the home is a hospital.


Communical corridor looking like a hospital


In a personal Apartment

  • There 12 staff working during the day for 43 residents, only 2 at night
  • The staff never give up hope,they try to give the residents their individuality back.
  • They focus on their needs, gain their trust, and make sure they know its their home
  • Everyone’s rooms are very different, it is very important for people with dementia that they recognize it to be their own ‘home’
  • They have an old computer in the home at the moment that a few of the elderly use to play solitaire on it, they like it because it is similar to them but just in a new context. they know what to expect.
  • A lot of the residents have a heard of a computer, but they don’t know what it can do, but they are intrigued.


One of the residents looking at her photo’s on an iphone

  • Some of them are scared of using technology in case they do something wrong or embarrass themselves
  • The word media put a barrier between them, they don’t understand the ‘jargon’
  • The residents communicate with friends and family through the phone but are often limited because they need help from the staff
  • the residents are not all friends but they do take care of each other and know of each others needs, they build up their own social structures
  • When talking about bonds between the staff and residents,and when people die:

“sometime i want to cry, sometimes it’s a relief because i know the pain they have been through”

“some people do get a bigger part of your heart, its supposed to be professional, but you do get attached to people’

“It’s a professional job, they are not your family, but you still want to keep a family vibe”

After completing our insights we went on to analyze them to come up with need statements-see next post.