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ux research

Carnegie Mellon University | 2021

This project was a 6 week-long project for a UX Research class. A broad topic was given to groups of students which each of us had to narrow down to a focus for our individual research projects.

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areas

methods used

tools

  • UX Research

  • Design Thinking

  • Ethnographic Research

  • Secondary Research

        journals, articles

  • Concept Mapping

  • Affinity Mapping

  • Literature Review

  • Persona Analysis

  • Survey Monkey

  • Figma

  • Miro

topic

My research was focused on exploring tasks people do in the bathroom while grooming and understanding why they do them inside the bathroom.

hypothesis

People multitask in bathrooms to use otherwise ‘wasted’ time but end up spending longer in the bathroom.

research plan

A brief overview of the research I conducted:

  • Observations: Made observations in my own bathroom routine and in public restrooms.Literature Reviews: Secondary research with published journals and articles to help shape focus.

  • Online Survey: Conducted an online survey that proved my hypothesis.

  • Interviews: Interviewed 6 people - 4 females and 2 males. 

  • Diary Study: 4 people participated in a diary study over the span of 3 days to record emotions and activities inside the bathroom

concept map

The bathroom doubling up as a safe and social space intrigued me to dive deeper into it. I created a concept map of things people do while or around their grooming activities. I explored all the activities people do and at the locations in the bathroom they do these activities at. Almost all social and emotional ‘tasks’ are side effects of or go hand in hand with a grooming activity. I also added what social activity it would be considered which in turn segregates them into individual or group activities.

Explored related ideas, words, feelings, and actions.


What are other things people do in the bathroom while performing their grooming activities?
Contemplation, exercise, washing clothes, confessions, hiding, interpersonal conversations, listening to the radio, reading magazines or mail.

Why is the bathroom, whether private or public, considered a “safe space”?
Public bathrooms - stalls are considered a temporary private space as there is a sense of both, physical and normative possession.
Private bathrooms - The bathroom is the place to escape to. “It acts as a haven, a sanctuary for spiritual rejuvenation.” (Source: ProQuest)

domain survey

process

1. online survey

Hypothesis: People multitask in the bathroom to save time but end up spending more time in the bathroom.

Participants: No particular demographic

2. interviews

Focus: Routine, feeling related to bathrooms, User Journey with respect to multitasking, the social aspect of public bathrooms.

Participants: Interviewed 4 females and 2 males to understand differences in bathroom activities.

Findings:

  • 5 out of 6 people said that their bathroom is considered a safe place for them. 2 out of those 5 said that even public bathrooms are considered a safe space.

  •  The most common task that people do in the bathroom is catching up with texts/emails and thinking.

  • Every interviewee uses their phone in the bathroom (even if they do not use it to text/email)

  • A few of them mentioned that they were not happy about it as they consider it unhygienic.

  • Interesting multitasking activities were exercise, studying, washing clothes, and washing the bathroom while taking a shower.

  • Multitasking is a conscious activity for 4 people and unconscious for 2

  • 4 people said they multitask because they are bored. The other 2 do it on purpose.

  • 5 out of 6 interviewees said they take longer in the shower when they multitask.

  • 3 of these people do not consider it a waste of time to multitask, even though it increases the amount of time they spend inside.

  • Every interviewee has something they do to utilize their time while grooming. (Playlist length is 15 minutes to help get out of the shower quicker, doing other household tasks while brushing etc.)

  • 4 people also said they think public bathrooms can be considered a social space.

insights

People don’t feel accountable for the tasks they do or the time they spend inside the bathroom.

  • My hypothesis implied that multitasking resulting in longer durations in the bathroom was countering to the reason for doing the task in the first place anyway. However, this was proved wrong as multiple people said they found multitasking productive. They cherish this time as they do not feel the constraint of a schedule like they do outside the bathroom.

  • Multitasking is often used to create discipline in routines.

This insight is almost a by-product of the above insight. Once people get aware that this is time that isn’t accounted for, they find ways to complete more tangible tasks. Interesting disciplining tasks I got from my interview are washing clothes in the shower, cleaning the bathroom while taking a shower, 50 squats before taking a shower, timed playlists for a timed shower. They have managed to add in chores, exercise and found ways to manage time, thus adding a routined multitasking activity.

  • Women can create quick connections in public bathrooms as bathrooms are already considered an intimate space.

When asked why they go to the bathroom in groups, the female interviewees mentioned that among other things, it can be convenient to ask for sanitary products. Asking for sanitary products can be a personal question and in doing so, a sense of safeness is already created inside the bathroom. This can enable women to have personal conversations with friends or strangers.
 

Hypothesis: People don’t feel accountable for the tasks they do in the bathroom.Conducted study on Google forms, to understand user behavior in the bathroom and feelings around these rituals.

3. diary study