Research Synthesis Design Solution



02 Brick And Mortar Observation

We conducted a Brick and Mortar observation with two participants where we observed them while they cooked in the kitchen. This process helped us understand some of the more practical needs and requirements that were not so apparent through our directed storytelling process. We were able to observe how people actually interacted with technology and the breakdowns they faced during the process. This knowledge led us to consider various interaction techniques that would be feasible in the kitchen setting.


The user was trying to find out how to assemble an ice cream cake. She already had recipes for the cake itself saved in Delicious, so she didn't search for a specific recipe. Instead she googled "how to make an ice cream cake", and saw that one of the results was obviously a video. She clicked on this, but it did not load. Then, she went back to the list of search results, and found text instructions from WikiHow. After reading it, she said that she felt that the instructions made sense so she did not need to look further for more instruction. In fact, this recipe had more detail than she needed, since it also included serving instructions.

What we learned from this Brick and Mortar analysis was that technique and tips were most important to this user. She did not really need a recipe in the strict sense of the word. Instead she needed to understand how to do a specific task.

Anna Ostberg. Adi Veerubhotla. Aditya Sharma. Mike Sparandara. Nick Leonard
BID 2010 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University