I was wondering if you could help me conduct a proper needfinding observation. Mostly, do you see any methodological errors in my observation plan or survey questions? Does my plan maximize the ability to discover user breakpoints?
Here is my plan:
My observations center on the design brief for "Time". I spend much of my time working on various tasks at a local coffee shop and notice that the baristas have to complete many different tasks under a strict time constraint. My goal is to observe the many different tasks baristas have to complete and their current methods of managing these tasks. I will ask the staff of their planned tasks before the observation period begins and then ask them a set of questions via email afterwards (the survey questions are listed below). I will ask the baristas to give a thumbs up if they feel they are running behind on a task--this would be an indication of a user breakpoint. I will observe one barista at a time. My ultimate goal will be to design an software application that would help them manage these tasks more efficiently using the timeboxing principle of time-management—which focuses on distributing and allocating specific time-intervals for prioritized tasks.
Online Survey Questions (all with text field response boxes except when choices are indicated in the question):
What is the value of time-management in your daily life? (Highly important, Moderately important, minimally important)
How skilled do you feel you are as a time manager?
What tools do you currently use for managing your time?
What is the fastest task you typically perform on daily basis?
What is the slowest task you typically perform on daily basis?
What daily tasks do you feel you have trouble completing in the time you feel you should?
a. Why do you feel you do not complete these tasks on time?
- How many unplanned tasks do you typically perform on a daily basis?
a. Do you tend to complete these tasks in the time you intend?
b. Are there any unplanned tasks you have trouble completing on time?
How would you characterize the amount tasks you perform every day? (Many tasks, Average amount of tasks, not many tasks?)
How often do you complete the tasks you set out to do in the time you intended to complete them?
How often on a daily basis do you alternate between feeling busy and feeling collected (more than 20 times a day, more than 10 times a day, more than 5 times a day, more than 3 times a day, less than 3 times a day)
Is there a time of day where you feel busier than other times? If so, when?
How often do you delegate tasks to another person on a daily basis? (very often, often, not very often)
What tasks do you feel are unreliable to complete in a timely manner and why?
How do other people’s expectations regarding time influence your prioritization of tasks?
I guess Question 7a. is a binary question but it is also a follow-up to a previous question. Does its role as a follow-up make it methodologically sound?
Also, I was thinking of using 15 minutes as the length of the observational period. Should I control for "busy-ness"? For example, should I ask the baristas, before the observation period, when the busier parts of day tend to be and choose only those moments to observe their activity? Should I observe at different times of day (busy and non-busy)?