Designing for Usability
I’ve interviewed my classmate about his cultural probe topic or personal issue.
Do you feel busy today?
I feel busy every day and on the weekends. Most of my days are filled with working a full time job. And also, trying to complete a graduate degree which is not fun at the same time and then also, for some reason, still freelancing on the side as well. So even though it kills me every day and all the time, and then a lot of my work, a lot of school and a lot of freelancing will go with me wherever I go. So you know I can’t really enjoy a Saturday. If I know there’s a project or some kind of homework do on that day. So that’s really why I kind of feel like you know there’s always something going on or something happening. And it can really mix with personal and work life, and especially nowadays because you are on a computer, almost all the time.
What did you do today?
Today, Let’s see, I got up, I have to do the morning routine of making sure my dog is fed and walk. I don’t have a choice. And I worked. I worked from usually eight to five or eight four. And I will have some evening classes to take later in the day. So that really means you know around 70% of my day will be around. Meeting school or just being on a computer.
What keeps you busy doing today is mostly school work, family, hobbies,… ?
Probably say around 60% is work. And then around 30% is school. And then what I got 10% and you’re really kinda like doing whatever I want, but doing whatever I want means making sure there’s food cooking, cleaning, doing the dog. There’s no real fun time in general.
So what are the deadlines and activities you need to coordinate during a day or a week?
Usually during the work hours I will have to attend whatever meeting is being placed on my calendar so if someone you know needs me there for an hour, two hours, half an hour. Not too much of a choice. So those are always kind of sporadic and I have to be available from regular work hours.
And then for school. It’s just, you know, whether it’s the evening, or the early morning, there’s always a class and you kind of have to be there in front of the camera. But I think what’s hard to juggle is how much time you spend on work, how much time you spend on school, making sure you get those assignments completed at the same time. Then just personal life as well.
How do you manage multiple deadlines and tasks?
Oh, good question. Right. Right now. I have my apple calendar, doing a lot of the things that I either have do. That’s usually for work in terms of what I have to, kind of, you know, showcase for my job. Separately, I have the my homework and so it’s an app that really helps you kind of like structure of the classes you can put your whole syllabus and it throughout the whole year. But I think the biggest thing with all this stuff is that they’re on multiple different calendars, so I have to look at either different apps or one computer versus another computer versus my phone to kind of figure out what my days include.
Can you guide me through a day where you manage to where you manage all the deadlines successfully?
Sure, let’s say a perfect day would be getting up at like 6am, making sure the dog is on set by seven, seven thirty,, getting to work. Doing all my meetings at once, leaving at 12, going to the gym, until 1 PM, to make sure that I can have some kind of like, you know, health and wellness. Coming back to work around four and finishing all my assignments between there.
And then I think starting to cook food or dinner, whatever it may be around five cleaning the dishes by 6:36, and then hopping on for class at seven.
The class ends at 10 and then doing homework or maybe 11:45. That’s a perfect day of getting everything.
Can you recall a situation where you couldn’t manage all your tasks on time. How was it?
I would say every time it gets to the end of a school semester, but that sounds really crazy because I think you can get overwhelmed with, especially when you don’t have a lot of these things written down, or you like to kind of save things for the end like myself. So what I like to do is I put. If I put something that do a month later, I won’t start it until the week before, sometimes but if I put something that a month later and say that hey, I need to have a deadline next week the following week and the next week as a check in, that helps me realize that I have to work toward something.
Do you feel that life was easier before coconut or now as we’re all working in an online environment?
No, I think it was more crazy because I had to physically get up and move or drive along, but I actually preferred it, because I think now that you’re going to discover the environment and you’re in front of a computer. Those things don’t really change in terms of what is work, what is school, what is home. So I think it’s gotten worse in terms of feeling like you can’t manage time because it all feels the same. How does the juggling problem fit in? For example, emotionally or physically physically I think I’m going to get more and more blind. I already have glasses just because I’m looking at a computer all the time. I don’t get as much sleep in general I think there’s studies that show like hey you know like coming from your computer.
But I think yeah those are the main things I think you start to kind of be on a computer more and more and kind of live your life on a computer more.
Do you like your lifestyle at the moment?
I don’t think anybody does but yeah I know I wouldn’t prefer this as like moving forward but hopefully over changes a lot of things.
What could make your life easier?
Yeah, I think that’s a central one, I think, putting more consistent deadlines, instead of waiting till later deadline, those are really helpful just making sure you have a little small check ins accountability accountability is a big thing for me if no one’s
16:42:36 there to like tell me to point it out or to finish your can do it, then it’s easy to kind of put to the side, and then visibility is like your entire workload of things happening. So, whether it’s assignments or things you have to do. I’m not the calendar can only go so far. So something that’s like tangible or that you can kind of right or look at helps a lot more.
If you had a magic wand, what would you change?
What would I change… I would definitely change what the normal week looks like in terms of like, it’s okay to work, 40 hours a week it’s okay to go to school that many hours a week. I’m not going to change the hours in the day because that’s fine but just, I would change how people think about where you should spend your time.
I have another question that came to my mind when you answered the last one: some countries have different concepts. So, there are countries who would try to implement a four day working week or in France to have only 30 h/ week and it counts as full time. Do you like these concepts, would you like to work in an environment like this?
Yeah, I can go to work well. I think especially here, there’s this, you can do a lot more with your time if you’re more positive about your environment are happier, you can get your work done a lot faster. And I’m sure even now, especially since you’re not somewhere physically and, you know, the lunch hour you may have been given or had, you know, turns your work day and the seven hours but yeah I just think in general if you focus more on people’s well being, they’ll do more work at work.
My classmates’s lifestyle sounds very busy and he seems to be a great multitasker, also thanks to calendar apps. Even if it’s stressful, he likes what he does and has a clear goal in mind for every part of life that keeps him busy. School is one of the pain points, especially at the end of the semester, but that doesn’t impact his motivation in class. Generally, he’s facing issues that are related to either the corona virus, the online-only world or the general hustle during the “rush hour of life.” I feel like this was a very useful interview that helped me to better understand his current situation and also the tasks he needs to complete everyday. This is allows me to think about possible solutions, based on the facts that he shared with me.
Positives: Digital tools help
Negatives: Many tasks to complete during the day, hard to skip one as they are all important (work, school…)
Topics: Multitasking, work-life-balance, time management
Items/Tools: phone, computer, digital collaboration tools
Feelings: enthusiasm, motivation, tiredness (lack of sleep), sometimes overwhelmed