Project #3: Research Results

Project 3 – Research Analysis

Liz Diestler, Jack Tang, Rhys Saraceni

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Our research began with some simple observations around populated spots on campus.  We observed the stop at Ferst Dr. and Atlantic Dr., the bus stop in front of the Student Center, and the trolley stop in front of Moe’s in Technology Square.  We documented our observations and it helped support out hypothesis for how people interact at bus stops… or the lack thereof.  In our observation, it was apparent that people waiting for the bus did not feel comfortable starting up conversations with strangers and a majority of them were using a handheld electronic device.  Here is the first documented observation.

Observation #1: Location: bus stop at Ferst Dr and Atlantic Dr

Start time: 3:35pm
3:37pm: One guy stands at the front right corner of the stop, pulls out his phone and looks at it for approximately 2 min. He then puts the phone away, crosses his arms, and faces away from the stop.
3:38pm: Another guy arrives, stands in the back left corner of the stop, looks down, and does not acknowledge the first guy.
3:40pm: Both board a Stinger Red Route
3:42pm: A girl arrives at the stop, but boards a Stinger almost immediately after arriving
3:45pm: A guy in a polo shirt arrives, looks at his phone for 30sec, makes a call, and begins walking in circles.
3:46pm: A couple arrives at the stop, stand very close to each other in the back left corner, and kiss a bit. The guy in the polo shirt moves away from them.
3:48pm: A girl on a phone walks up to the stop and stands away from everybody else.
3:49pm: Another girl with a phone walks up and stands on the opposite side as the other girl on a phone.
3:50pm: Stinger arrives and everybody except the guy in a polo shirt boards it.
3:51pm: A Trolley arrives, and nobody boards it.
3:52pm: Another guy arrives at the stop and avoids the guy in a polo shirt.
3:53pm: Another Stinger arrives. The second guy boards it, but the guy in a polo shirt does not. After the bus leaves he looks around anxiously then walks across the street.
3:54pm: A guy in a white shirt (wsg) stands near the corner of the stop, listens to music, and continuously stares at his iPod.
3:55pm: A Trolley arrives; another guy runs to the bus stop from the direction of Howey, and then boards the trolley. Wsg also boards the trolley.
3:57pm: A guy in a blue hoodie arrives, stands at the side of the stop, listens to music, and faces away from the road. 3 girls arrive independently and stand equidistant from each other without interacting.
3:58pm: 3 more people arrive and sit at the right side of the stop. Two of them converse.
3:59pm: A large group of people arrive at the bus stop (grand total 23). Only people that arrived together interact, and interaction is almost exclusively in pairs. Any individuals and small groups attempt to spread out from one another. 4 people are listening to music, one is reading a book, and 6 are on their phones.
4:04pm: A Trolley arrives; several people board it.
4:06pm: A Stinger arrives; the remaining people board it.

Observation #2: Student Center

Jack Tang observed the blue and the red bus stop by the student center. They are both outside of the student on the opposite side of the road.

The red bus stop on the left and the blue bus stop on the right

People’s Behaviors – People tends to position themselves along the sitting arrangement of each bus stop. Most of people stood by themselves with a good amount of space between each other. There were no social interactions unless people came to the bus stop with another person they already knew, or if they are passing by and saw someone they knew. More than half of the people waiting at the bus stop were occupied by some sort of electronic devices such as MP3 player, cellphone, or laptop. These devices were used to kill time or communicate with other people that are not at the bus stop.

Aside from people waiting for the bus, there was a constant flow of people walking pass the bus stops. Many of them had their headphones on. There was one exceptional social interaction between two people. They met each other at the bus stop and talked for awhile standing up. Then they sat down and talked some more until 3 more buses have passed by. Basing on the way they interacted with each other, they are probably really good friends who haven’t seen each other for awhile.

Conclusion – The space of  the bus stop is important to the interaction of the people. The observation shows that the space of the bus stop can affect the overall arrangement of people at a bus stop. In this case, both bus stops are boxed in by a certain shape with seating space along their boundaries. As a result, most people are attracted to sit along the edge of the bus stop leaving the middle space completely empty. In order to stimulate more social interactions, the space of the bus stop should be rearranged to resemble a social setting such as a outdoor bar or coffee shop to bring people together.

Examples:

Unlike the space conventional bus stops, the space of these bus stops stimulate movement by forcing people to walk through them to find seats. They also have a less traditional look which improves the overall atmosphere of the social setting.

Research Analysis: Questionnaire

We distributed a questionnaire that asked the following:
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1. How often do you use bus stops?
Daily
Several times a week
Once a week
Less often than once a week
Never

2. How do you generally feel when at a bus stop?
Calm
Stressed
Anxious
Happy
Tired
Other

3. Do you think that bus stops foster social interaction?
Yes
No

4. If  “No” to 3, if bus stops fostered social interaction, would you choose to take part in it?
Yes
No

5. If “Yes” to 3, do you take part in social interactions at bus stops?
Yes
No

6. Do you think that encouraging more social interaction at bus stops would make using them a more pleasant experience?
1. Yes
2. No

7. What kind of portable electronic devices do you use while at bus stops?
iPod/iPhone
other mp3 player
cell phone
eReader
handheld gaming device
laptop computer

Assume that a display was placed upon the floor of the bus stop that could communicate with your electronic devices and display their contents in around your feet. You would be asked permission before the display communicated with the devices.

8. Do you think that sharing the contents of your digital devices would result in more positive interactions between you and other people who are waiting at the bus stop?
Yes
No

9. In order to potentially foster social interaction, would you be willing to share the music that you were listening to with other people at the bus stop, either visually or aurally?
Yes to either
Yes to visually
Yes to aurally
No to both
No to visually
No to aurally

10. In order to foster social interaction, would you be willing to share the contents of websites that you are viewing with other people at the bus stop?
Yes
No

11.  In order to foster social interaction, would you be willing to share the game that you are playing with other people at the bus stop?
Yes
No

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We were able to obtain some valuable analysis using this Questionnaire to support our design and hypothesis.  Our sample group is 12 for the time being. This first pie chart helped us to understand how frequently people used the bus stop, and whether to treat this as an everyday activity.

This next chart was extremely supportive of our original assumption and design base that the Bus Stop is not a social environment.

A whopping 11 people out of 12 agreed that it is not a social environment.  We then asked them what sort of electronic devices they used at a bus stop and the results were fairly predictable with the exception that no one seemed to use an eReader.

We then asked them that if they were using an audio device such as an iPod or mp3 player, whether they’d be willing to share the content visually or aurally.

Not only did most people answer positively to sharing their content, but they also largely agreed that sharing digital content would foster positive social interaction:

Summary and Conclusion

The data that we gathered certainly helped support our original hypotheses.  With the questionnaire results combined with the observations at multiple bus stops, we are able to say confidently that the bus stop is an isolated place that could be made more fun using our electronic devices.  That said, there are several things we would have done differently with the research had we been allotted more time.  It would have been nice to possibly gather data from people nationally or even internationally, but that would have grossly changed the demographic and context of the product.

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