UC San Diego Interaction Design Specialization Capstone | Needfinding |
Donovan Magryta | September 15th 2016
My observations focused mainly on the “Time” design brief, although I additionally swayed
slightly into the “Glance” design brief.
I observed the users in their environments naturally using their scheduling tools. I also asked
them later on to walk me through how they were interacting with their calendar apps/timing
devices and schedule earlier in the day to recapitulate.
My goal was to learn about their interactions with their scheduling tools and how those
interactions effected and related to their behavior.
Breakdowns* occurred with their scheduling tools. They each had to adapt and find
workarounds. I spotted design opportunities throughout the observations and interviewing,
and observed some common behavioral trends.
Jacob is a 15 year old student, and is high functioning on the Autism spectrum. He needs
gentle reminders to keep on task. He is sometimes overwhelmed, in a sensory way when
dealing with too many notifications. He dislikes sudden changes, and thrives in a well organized
schedule. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to have a strict schedule work 100% of the time, unless
it is adaptive when things come up. He relies on his scheduling tools heavily! When he is in the
middle of using a computer deeply, he gets "wired in" or “in the zone”, and has trouble snapping
out of it without a countdown. At the same time, he has the habit of dismissing calendar
notifications while in the middle of something, and then accidently misses the event or the task.
He often loses track of time, and wants to know what he has time to squeeze in to his schedule.
When Jacob spotted an assignment deadline notice on his school’s web portal, he began to add
a reminder to his phone by manually memorizing the date and information, and switching to his
calendar app to type in a reminder. He went back to double check his information, and realized
he had made an error. He then copied and pasted each section of information one at a time
into each cell of the calendar entry, and hit save. He then manually downloaded the files from
the assignment into his cloud file app, renamed them, and then he put them into a folder for that
specific assignment. He then pasted the link to the cloud file folder into that same calendar
reminder entry. He was then supposed to be eating lunch at this time. Distractedly, he grabbed
his thermos of coffee and drank. Jacob sat down to do a coding project just for fun, forgetting to
eat. Later, his reminder notification to work on that assignment beeped loudly. He was in the
middle of deep thinking, solving a coding problem, “wired in to the computer”, seeming to be
hypo focused. He clicked snooze on the notification, delaying the alarm for 10 minutes. When
the notification beeped again, he was still “wired to the computer” or “in the zone”, doing the
coding problem. He looked irritated by the beeping notification, and hit snooze again. He
received a message from a friend, and swiped dismiss. When he swiped dismiss, it accidentally
shut off his calendar reminder. Realizing this and seeming to look distraught by the sudden
change, he had to adapt his schedule rapidly, reactivating and rescheduling the reminder again.
Then he abruptly switched to working on the soon-to-be-due class assignment, forgetting to eat
his now long overdue lunch. The lunch break time window had already passed.
Jill is a 47 year old bank worker. She relies on physical, tangible scheduling and notation tools
such as a paper calendar, sticky notes, print outs, and a telephone voicemail. She has trouble
staying on task, starting task habits, and knowing how to quickly alleviate schedule conflicts.
The employees at her office use a shared computerized calendar. Because she prefers
tangible interfaces and learns best kinesthetically, the electronic calendar interface can cause
scheduling conflicts with her personal scheduling system, which she needs.
Jill received an electronic document which she needed to process later. She printed it out,
copied it onto a piece of sticky note by hand, and set the original printout in a paper folder. She
pinned the sticky note onto her office wall. I was curious why she hadn’t simply printed out two
copies and pinned one onto her wall, instead of copying it by hand onto a sticky note. A
moment later, a coworker higher up told her that she needed to do a task, it wasn’t due until
sometime the next month, and it required homework. I observed her calling someone, she left a
voicemail saying “Ok Me, don’t forget to do (homework task lengthy instructions) before the
deadline on October 5. Her boss later walked up to her and told her to do an assignment right
then, and she replied, “But I’m in the middle right now working on assignment X that you put in
the e-calendar.” He replied, “The e-calendar says you have an open time block right now
though.” She replied, “Sorry, I forgot to mark myself what task I was doing.” The boss replied
back, “You really need to use the e -calendar for everything, and stop using you paper
calendar.” She replied, “Sorry!” and seemed frustrated. She scrambled to adapt her schedule.
She crossed off something on her paper calendar and jotted something down, and edited the e-
calendar on her computer all abruptly, on the fly. She muttered, “I wish I had my secretary
Jill was eager to give feedback without a prompt.
She said, “When I arrive at work in the morning, I’m flying by the seat of my pants, and I forget
to check the e-calendar that we share. I use my paper calendar because it helps me to be able
to glance briefly when I arrive to know my schedule without having to manually check on outlook
e-calendar. It’s hard to make a habit of checking the shared electronic calendar. Because I
don’t use the shared electronic calendar as much as everyone else does, I don’t hit confirm
every time, and this causes it to mark my schedule on there as open. Then my boss gives me
more assignments because he thinks my schedule is open at that time, but I’m actually in the
middle of an assignment at that same time. This makes me feel overwhelmed, which makes it
even more difficulty staying on task. Our computer system is old, and sometimes it fails to
accept input, this causes our e-calendar (which we would normally use to log filings) to stop
counting all that we’ve actually completed. This causes trouble when if we get audited and can’t
show documents to back us up. So that’s my excuse why I tell everyone to print everything off. I
guess my real reason for printing everything off personally is that it doesn’t click in my mind
unless a can write it out. It has to be tangible. I don’t know why, but writing things out help me
to remember them. We are supposed to conserve paper to be going Green, so we get in
trouble for using too much paper.”