Dorset Independence Project – Observations and Findings – The importance of analysing the space your presenting in..

So now that we have created our final poster which promotes the independence of Dorset our next task is to present them in a public space and observe how the audience react to them. The method we would use to track our findings for use later when presenting our own interactive projects was people shadowing (not stalking), in short this involved watching people as they made their way through the ground floor foyer of Weymouth House, the Media School at Bournemouth University.

My findings regarding how people travelled through and interacted with the space was that people often rush straight through the foyer, this usually being in a rush to exit the building or to get to a lecture or workshop inside the building. Despite the ground floor being an incredibly busy and in my mind ‘intelligent’ space to put up some sort of campaign it seemed most people walked through the foyer glancing only at one of the many screens positioned around the foyer showing various news channels or ‘Media School news’ updates or alternatively staring at their mobile devices, a rather depressing analogy in my opinion. Other activities which gave us some hope and ideas as to where to place our posters was the seating areas and coffee shop located in the foyer, these were the only spaces students would go to purposefully and sit to either work or socialise. In these areas I did notice students look around regularly for visual stimulation for a break from a screen or during lapses in conversation, this opened up a good opportunity to think about using this space more to advertise our campaign rather than in spaces where people would simply walk straight past them and not notice them, such as in the foyer entrance corridorAs well as this it was clear from the coffee shop queue (which averaged 4 people during our hour spell in the building) that those waiting to order coffee would either look at the shop menu, look at their mobile phone, engage in conversation with others in the queue or look around at the various current installations inside the foyer, therefore on the various walls and pillars near this area it may be a good idea to position posters here to attract the eye of these people.

This an example of somewhere we found not to be a good place to put the poster. This is because people walk through here fast and usually without looking around to notice any decoration.
This an example of somewhere we found not to be a good place to put the poster. This is because people walk through here fast and usually without looking around to notice any decoration.

As depressing as it may be I know that this was very important research into the consumers of our poster campaign, it is important that as designers what we design is actually fit for purpose and can therefore perform as intended rather than clearly not be tailored for the consumer and therefore doomed to fail by a simple lack of research.

To comment on the way we observed the space I would say there is a few possible improvements that could be made to make our observations more accurate, the one being that it would be a good idea to monitor the activity in the building at a number of different times during the day, if not throughout the day. By extending the time we observed how people used the space we would be able to get a better grasp of their activity and leave less of our final outcome to guesswork as during the day not only the number of people but the pace of activity changes, for instance it would be more likely to see students spending more time using seating areas and moving at a slower pace in the evening as lectures often end at 5pm therefore students still in the building would be there under their own accord and therefore not have to be at a place at a certain time, as well as this due to the decreased number of people in the building in an evening it would be easier for a person to see any posters or publicity around the foyer.

Here shown is a panorama of the ground floor of Weymouth house.
Here shown is a panorama of the ground floor of Weymouth house.
FullSizeRender
This is an example of an effective place to place posters, this is because students will have coffee here due to its proximity to the shop (directly behind this area) as well as work and socialise meaning they will take more time to interact with the various visual stimuli around them
Weymouth House sofas
This is another example of a good place to put posters, this is because students sit here to work and socialise and they are here long enough to take more notice of what is around them.
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