Project 1: Observing Behavior

January 26

For our first project we choose a situation where ‘design’ seems to be affecting people’s behavior in an environment, either physical, digital, or hybrid. From there, we observe patterns, make notations, sketches, drawings, etc. that explore the findings.

For my first study I observed the University Center “brown chairs” area in the new section of the building.


For my next study I looked at the Coffee Tree Roasters on Walnut Street in Shadyside.

Coffee Tree_1.jpg

I then looked at Dobra Tea on Murray in Squirrel Hill. After visiting, I’m finding it could be interesting to compare the experience of the two, the spatial divisions each has, and how the overall space shapes the behavior of people.


I also took a context video at each location…


January 30

I decided to compile some of this information into several categories:

  1. Comfort
  2. Demographic/Activity
  3. Trust
  4. Employees
  5. Service(s)
  6. Spatial Layout

The information with the square labels indicates a similarity between the two locations.



This then led to a more organized version of finding similarities and differences between the two spaces…


It was really interesting to be able to align some of the behaviors I saw with some of the structural and systemic things put in place at both businesses. For example, I didn’t feel very comfortable ringing a bell to get a server’s attention, yet that was the expectation so when I deviated from this, I surprised the employee by asking him directly if I could order something; I broke the typical pattern and system and experienced a very minor consequence of creating awkward tension.

February 1

To analyze a couple more similarities between the spatial layouts of Dobra and Coffee Tree Roasters I decided to illustrate them in a more simplified manner:


Some similar elements I noticed were:

  • Offer various seating options, some more traditional, others more comfortable
  • Have stairs to indicate a spatial shift from one area to another
  • Use partitions and walls throughout the space
  • Site line barriers existed in both spaces; in Coffee Tree Roasters it didn’t affect people who were focused on their computers or devices, in Dobra Tea, it served as a form of privacy for people to have conversations

February 2

Notes after the critique:

  • Shoot video in landscape
  • Make graphics and images bigger so that work and detail can be seen
  • Think more about whether there could be design changes  made to the space to account for the behaviors and patters of customers/employees
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