The user research for this web-based photo-sharing application for
architects has so far been done in two phases:
- Phase I : A general survey of architectural
practice as far as picture-taking
& organizing is concerned. An email questionnaire was sent out
to about 50 architects here in New York City; 8 of them responded.
The main findings of this questionnaire were:
Phase II: In the second round, I zeroed in on a particular architect
to understand when & how they took pictures, in what contexts,
how they were organized & stored, how & with whom they were
shared, etc. The intent was to see first-hand the needs of the architect
in this space.
- Camera phones are good to capture a fleeting moment, but are
unsatisfactory due to low resolution of pictures, inability of
camera-phones to allow a degree of freedom in composition. Digital
- The cost of transmission of images through the
cell-phone seen as a deterrent by this user group.
- Privacy & control
over who sees the images an important factor. All the users would
like the ability to have their pictures on a central web-server.
- Ability to print pictures very desirable.
Ability to annotate the pictures important.
Check out more details in this ppt file
Findings: Pictures were taken for two purposes:
- One, during various stages
of planning & implementation, for communicating with colleagues & to
archive the state of the project. This category served as a memory
jog to recall details when away from the actual site, & to talk
over with colleagues. That said, this architect's office did
not sit around a set of pictures as the focus of discussion:
the teams were all conversant with the job on hand & knew the
Two, for documentation & Record-keeping, mainly in the
event of disputes. These pictures were generally taken, & simply filed away
in case of need for settling disputes / regulatory purposes.
It was also seen that this office did not use any paper blueprints (
most architects use softwares to generate plans, & use these digital
files for all practical purposes;
Currently no notes were attached to the pictures, but they could be
invaluable down time, as the context for the picture was forgotten.
The pictures were stored on the desktop under various project folders;
in addition to pictures, the project folder consisted of a folder for
plans, another for documents, etc.
No need was perceived by this architect for a discussion functionality
to be woven around a picture.
Privacy was seen as very important.
Go on to User Scenarios
November 17, 2004