New research directions - Partner feedback

I paired up with Debbie to discuss some of my research so far and also what could be possible parallel research directions that could be inspiring as I move further into the process.

Here are some of her suggestions:

  • Recycling - What has worked, what hasn’t and where it is now? For example: Recycling plastic, people generate a lot of it and throw a lot of it. It’s a struggle for people to recycle. It’s been hard for people to recycle, especially when it was a new behavior and people do it more now. 
  • Cleanliness Campaign - How did anti-littering campaign and cleanliness movement in the 1970’s change the people’s perception about cleanliness in public spaces. 
    • Previously, in my research I came this article which highlights the key milestones of “Keep America Beautiful” a group that was formed in 1953 with a goal to to develop and promote a national cleanliness ethic.
  • Minimalist Lifestyle - How do they handle food? Is there anything that could be mainstreamed?
  • What is it about Asian culture that tends to reduce wastage?
  • Is there a co-relation between waste and cooking skill level?

My take-away from the conversation: Look at examples that have led people to change/ evolve their behavior in day-to-day activities for a larger community goal? What ways have proved effective to intervene in peoples’ habits? 

User Research - Phase #1

Last week, I started with the primary research phase of the project and interviewed few people about their found consumption habit. This first set of users were my colleagues at the SVA IxD program (first year) who had little or no context about the project as such. During the conversation, I asked them to talk about how they go about the process of planning, purchasing and cooking food and then probed deeper to find out the motivations that influenced their behavior at each stage. Next, I asked them to take a moment and think of the last time they cleaned their fridge at home (or items in their fridge right now) and talk about their motivation of buying those items and if they actually consumed it as they thought they would, what are things they think might be too old to consume, how do they decide what to do with old food items stored in fridge. 

Some of the key things that stood out for all the three participants were:

  • Time is the key factors that influences decisions regarding food (at all stages)
  • Family/ Partners/ Roommates have a strong influence on how people perceive food
  • Individual’s cooking skills and interest are key drivers for peoples’ behavior & choices wrt to food consumption


Here’s a detailed look at my interview notes: 

Participant #1

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Participant #2

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Since, we couldn’t do an ethnographic interview, David sent me a few pictures of his fridge contents to help me better understand the context of our conversation. 

Participant #3

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For kohzy, it was easier to sketch and explain me all the food items he had in the fridge and talk about his purchase, storage, consumption and disposal behavior. Here is a sneak peak of the sketching+interview exercise with Kohzy:

I’m still in the process of continuing my research and gather more insights that can drive my design direction. For the next part of this research, I’m focussing on ethnographic research in people’s homes. If you’re someone who might be interested please leave a note and I’ll get in touch with you. Thank you.