And so it begins… the first project of Master of Design, well… the set up for the first project. After a talk in the morning from Design Ethnography’s Cat Macauley, introducing how to research and gather data, we were let loose into the world to scavenge for information.
Firstly going back to the talk, to loosen the class up a bit we were introduced to the PING PONG CHALLENGE. This was a way to waken ourselves up and get tour body and minds ready for a frantic day of researching. However it was also a lesson in how to act as part of a team. You need to communicate, take charge and most importantly think fast. These are some of the key attributes we as a class will have to develop over this year to become good designers and a researchers.
Now to the task at hand. To start with we were split up into teams to integrate the designer and ethnographers, time to introduce our team:
Katharina – Design Ethnographer from Germany
Junying – Design Ethnographer from China
Claire – Designer from China
Me – Designer from Scotland
Assignment 1: to go and observe a transitional space (Tower Building) for 30mins.
To start the task we decided to look at the space and divide everyone up so that we covered the whole area. (I have to admit my brain did want to pretend we were secret agents on a mission, but we were all out of radios, ear pieces and guns). Katharina cover the front entrance from the outside so we could get a different perspective. Junying took the back exit, while Claire and I settled into the lobby area.
The task went well and to me seemed to fly by. I managed to get a lot of information and because I used my laptop to take my notes it just appeared like I was working rather than observing, resulting in no awkward/suspicious looks from the public. The rest of the group also got a lot of information (mapped out in the diagram below) and seemed to have little trouble from the task, except for Junying who had to change her position due to the fact she was getting awkward looks for hanging around a busy exit but going nowhere. With one task completed, it was onto the next stage.
Assignment 2: create an interview protocol and interview your team members.
This task was harder for me, coming up with an interview protocol which wasn’t suggestive or limited to Yes/No answers was rather difficult and it was our groups first real challenge to the language barrier. However after thinking for some time, Claire and I managed to come up with a protocol to ask Katharina and Junying. Asking questions which asked the interviewees to describe the place, people and interactions allowed the group to see the observations from each other’s perspective.
At the end of a very hectic and busy day, our group had gathered a lot of information, learnt a lot about each other and got our first real taste of researching. Overall it was a very productive day but it doesn’t end there. The next stage making sense of it all, but that can wait till tomorrow.