Coffee Project Report S Mo Goltz

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No matter what day of the week, or time of day, there are millions of people patronizing cafés throughout this country. Since the day the first Starbucks opened, Americans have never looked back. The prolifera- tion of cheap and free wi-fi has made these caffeine dispensing establishments even more alluring, and now it seems its impossible to travel even one block without seeing over a dozen cafés. These houses of java have become part of the modern urban and suburban landscape in a uniquely American way. That is to say that although we drink the same espresso as those in countries such as france or Italy, we have not developed cafe culture - at least in the traditional european sense. Cafés serve a different purpose and have a different attitude here then they do in other nations.
The question then becomes: What role do cafés currently play in urban America, and how could these locations be better designed to facilitate and support the needs of the customers in those shops. How can proprietors improve their café spaces, and better differentiate themselves from the competition in a way that Bars currently do. For instance there are many genres of bars that by design, focus on specific kinds of clientele and support activities that are sometimes mutually exclusive. For instance dive bars provide
a very different experience than a sports bar or a blues bar. The evolution of genres and sub-genres of bars allows people to make informed decisions of what kind of place to attend in order to more accurately fulfill their specific needs. The same cannot be said for cafés. Though people relax, socialize, and work in cafés, there doesn’t seem to be places that are focused on any area of activity in particular. It is my goal by the end of this project to discover the ways in which people utilize the spaces within cafés and use this information to develop recommended areas that would provide innovative design opportunities to enhance café environments.

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Coffee Project Report S Mo Goltz

  1. 1. F I E L D R E S E A R C H R E P O R T N O T E B O O K C O F F E E P R O J E C T T H E T H I R D P L A C E Mo Goltz - Observing Users - 2010
  2. 2. Project Definition Cafés Chosen Near North Side No matter what day of the week, or time of day, there are millions of people patronizing cafés throughout this country. Since the day the first Starbucks opened, Americans have never looked back. The prolifera- Starbucks tion of cheap and free wi-fi has made these caffeine dispensing establishments even more alluring, and now it seems its impossible to travel even one block without seeing over a dozen cafés. These houses of 828 North State Street java have become part of the modern urban and suburban landscape in a uniquely American way. That is Chicago IL 60654 to say that although we drink the same espresso as those in countries such as france or Italy, we have not developed cafe culture - at least in the traditional european sense. Cafés serve a different purpose and Argo Tea have a different attitude here then they do in other nations. 819 n. Rush Street The question then becomes: What role do cafés currently play in urban America, and how could these Chicago IL 60611 locations be better designed to facilitate and support the needs of the customers in those shops. How can proprietors improve their café spaces, and better differentiate themselves from the competition in a way Lavazza (Expression) that Bars currently do. For instance there are many genres of bars that by design, focus on specific kinds of clientele and support activities that are sometimes mutually exclusive. For instance dive bars provide 140 E. Walton a very different experience than a sports bar or a blues bar. The evolution of genres and sub-genres of chicago il 60611 bars allows people to make informed decisions of what kind of place to attend in order to more accurately fulfill their specific needs. The same cannot be said for cafés. Though people relax, socialize, and work in cafés, there doesn’t seem to be places that are focused on any area of activity in particular. It is my goal Loop by the end of this project to discover the ways in which people utilize the spaces within cafés and use this information to develop recommended areas that would provide innovative design opportunities to enhance Seattle’s Best Coffee (Borders) café environments. 150 n. state street chicago il 60601 Bronzeville Panera Bread 1101 S. Canal Street Chicago IL 60607
  3. 3. Structured Observation Seattle’s Best at Borders A ACTIVITIES Relaxation work / homework drinking / eating reading napping make-shift office ELECTRICAL OUTLETS Surfing the Net listening to music together, but alone The outlets are placed at the base of structural Computer se talking on the phone quick in+out (coffee only) posts, which are evenly distributed along the talking to others perimeter of the room. There are no plugs in socializing the center of the café however, so laptop users people watching stretching tend to congregate at the smaller tables at the periphery. Those not utilizing technology tend E to congregate in the center. ENVIRONMENTS Hot-Spots (always busy) coffee only local establishments for the business special coffee + sweets commercial chain spot in & out pit-stop hybrids coffee / sweets / savory franchise THE BIG TABLE restaurant + coffee This table does double duty, serving as a vi- café in a bookstore sual barrier between the seating area and the preparation / ordering station is located. The size of this table is great for group work too, I INTERACTIONS “its just coffee” date interview rendezvous just hanging out though often strangers sit at opposite ends, and don’t acknowledge each other. family gathering catching up over a cup 1/2 way point study partners getting out of the house business meeting FAMILY ROOM best friends ever This is literally a home-away-from-home. Complete with a plush carpet, fancy leather O OBJECTS Headphones MP3 player magazine book suitcase couches, and miniature lamps, this part of the café sets a relaxed and casual vibe. The scarf/gloves/hat materials the furniture is made of seem higher Cellphone note pad/sketchbook cup quality too. Laptop pen / pencil plate Kindle The family room is in the back corner of the water bottle silverware space, which is the farthest place away from purse / backpack the noisy food / drink preparation and ordering station. U USERS Student Family Members best friends the regular the purist / café goer the weary traveler the omnipresent the napper Freelancer VARIABLE SEATING writer /artist the voyeur the hipster Though many cafés offer different kinds of businessperson seating, this location was the only one ob- socialite the laptop poser served that had stools. They were constructed in the same style as the chair, but had longer legs. This positioned users above eye level of others and provided a unique sense of separa- tion from the rest of the crowd. The leather couches provided a sense of relax- Photographs were not allowed on ation and luxury, and implicitly invites people to premises at any of the cafés due to make themselves at home and comfortable. privacy policies and official corporate procedures.
  4. 4. THE LONG TABLE This is the largest space here in the café, and it seems to be designed for group work. Often people who arrive alone sit next to strangers simply because there isn’t any other space available. In this situation, multiple individuals give each other their own space, but otherwise act if no one else is there - similar behavior to that in an elevator. Shared space that is forced upon individuals is not taken lightly, and people are careful to work autonomously. SURFING CHITTER-CHATTER Those groups that chose to talk often still had work to do, and often situated themselves in a physical formation that allowed for both types of activity. Here two women sit diagonally from one anther so they can maintain eye contact SITTING IN PARALLEL while talking and using their laptops. As seen (at the left) from a bird’s-eye-view, the orienta- ‘Together, but alone’ is s state common to a majority café goers. tion of their workspace allows these to women Even colleagues and friends create this semi-isolation. Those to look through the space created between pictured to the top and left sit across from one another, but rarely their computers. talk or even make eye contact. Their gaze is fixated upon the work their are doing and these people only communicate during short breaks. They are spending time in the same place, but in- teraction is usually kept at a bear minimum. Productivity appears to take presence over socialization.
  5. 5. TENSE, ARE WE? The body language and facial expressions of the business people and students active in work varied drastically from those socializing or relaxing in the café. Headphones were often used as a tool to sonically and perceptually isolate one’s self from the crowd and ambient noise in the shared public space. INTIMATE MOMENTS Couples often sat directly next to each other in order to facilitate physical contact. When space was at a premium, some couples would even share a plush leather seat, though it was clearly designed to hold only one person at a time. With one exception, this proximity was unique to amorous pairs, and also allowed for shared reading experiences. A tutor and his pupil was the one instance where this type close formation was used platonically, and was used to create a shared perspective from which to utilized a large workspace together. THE WORK CYCLE As people worked more intensely, they often leaned into their work, moving their noses ever forward and toward the surface of the table. With headphones on, casual glances would become stares as those reading focused on the pages of their books or screens of their computers. After a prolonged period of time, the intensity would reach a zenith, and a break or relaxation period would take effect. Some people would take the opportunity to get up and stretch, while others would rest their eyes or take a deep breath.
  6. 6. STORAGE SPACE City dwellers are often urban nomads, and dur- ing the day travel with much of their belongings at hand. When these people arrive at a café, the ritual of setting up their personal space begins. An integral part of this process is the unpacking of the objects that will be used dur- ing the visit to the café. Lacking suitable storage or working space patrons simply surround themselves with piles of their stuff, and tables, chairs, the floor, and ledges become makeshift shelving or cabininetry. Their belongings are stored within reach, and often walls made up other stuff are constructed that double as barriers to create sense of privacy, LEANING AND RECLINING Weary travelers, hard working free lancers, and snoozy seniors, among others often would remain at the café in a drowsy state. Whether they were killing time out of neces- sity, to tired to move to another location I do not know. However, it was obvious that often caffeine alone was not enough to keep people awake and engaged in their activities. Leaning on their arms, arm rests, the table, or the handle of a suitcase was often used as a technique to keep alert and awake.
  7. 7. Panera Bread Company ENTER / EXIT TRANSITION This door opens directly outside and is only used in warm weather. It is separated from the rest of the interior by a demarcation on the floor. The only location where tile flooring can be found is here, as the rest of the restaurant - café hybrid is carpeted. RESTAURANT ONLY ZONE Traditional restaurant booth seating is lo- cated in the center and heart of Panera. The benches and long tables are sheltered by high barriers that denote the boundaries of the booths. These barriers shield the patrons from loud ambient noise and create a sense of calm, semi-isolation, and promote intimacy. HYBRID MULTIPURPOSE ZONE A mix of small, medium, and large tables accommodate eating, drinking, studying and working. There is one long table perfect for group work or meetings too. The largest area of Panera is a dynamic space that is versatile enough to accommodate a heterogeneous mix of patrons. CAFÉ ONLY ZONE Comfy and cozy areas are perfectly suited to accommodate patrons expectations and needs that want a café experience. Here space is more open, framed artwork lines the walls, and electrical outlets are more prevalent.
  8. 8. SOUND PROOF Barriers are strategically placed at small intervals at the outer boundaries of the spacial ‘zones’ within the space. That way the loud restaurant zone activities won’t spill over and disturb those working in the café zone. Here a child is squealing, and although still slightly audible, a man is still able to make a business call. HYBRID MOMENTS In the hybrid zones of Panera its common to see individuals start with a meal and transition into work, as well as see study groups col- laborating on a midterm project sitting next to an awkward yet flirty couple on a date. People are able to concentrate on their own activities in spite of being surrounded by people who are often at a very different energy level or even a louder volume. Cafés and restaurant coffee shop hybrids are among the few types of loca- tions that can and do accommodate such a diverse range of activities.
  9. 9. Survey Results 1 Survey Results 2 (both groups) Edit form - [ Café Survey ] - Google Docs 2/15/10 12:58 PM 70 Both Groups 48 responses 65 60 Coffee Drinkers Summary See complete responses Non 55 CoffeeDrinkers Are you a regular coffee drinker? 50 Yes 26 54% 45 No 22 46% 40 35 30 25 20 5 5 4½ 4 4 4 4 3½ 15 e i y vel ere s om y 10 i-F let ffe erg ne Le Th Ro W ut Co Mo En lO ise ee of ple of or 5 e& Fr No ca ut What is your opinion about coffee? ef eo ste tri yo to nc fP lu Ta I like the taste 12 25% ec La bia ss Va so 0 El ce Am nd Ac I like the caffeine 3 6% of Ki ty ili i like the taste and the boost of energy 20 42% ab ail I dislike the taste 5 10% Av I don't like how caffeine makes me feel 5 10% Taste and caffeine are both negatives for me 3 6% SURVEY RESULTS The large gray numbers at the bottom of the X-axis indicate (on a scale of 1-5) how important users felt that different aspects of the café experience was to them. This score was awarded to the largest group in the survey pool who agreed on a rating. Thus the majority consensus is the score represented here. The height of the dots on this chart indicate the percentage of the participants that formed that majority. Areas of large differences between coffee drinkers and non- coffee drinkers are marked in purple. It would seem that coffee drinkers value the taste of coffee, noise, and layout of the room more, and access to wi-fi less, than non-coffee drinkers. Though the sample size of my survey was only 48 people, some conclusions can be drawn Is there shop you usually go to? Whats the name of it? Any place will do 15 33% from this. Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee and has been shown to increase blood flow in areas of the brain that control attention and focus. It is possible that I do frequent a particular cafe (type the name in the "other" box) 18 40% those who are caffinated are more aware of and sensitive to their surroundings Other 21 47% than those who are not stimulated. This is an educated hypothesis at this point and warrants further investigation. People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
  10. 10. Edit form - [ Café Survey ] - Google Docs 2/15/10 12:58 PM Edit form - [ Café Survey ] - Google Docs 2/15/10 12:58 PM relaxing (by myself) 4 9% 1 - Don't Care 2 4% socializing / meeting with others 10 22% 2 3 7% work or homework 19 41% 3 - Neutral 5 11% just surfing the net 1 2% 4 12 27% reading 2 4% 5 - Very Important 23 51% Other 10 22% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Value for money 1 - Don't Care 1 2% Why did you originally choose this location? 2 2 5% better prices than other cafes 0 0% 3 - Neutral 16 36% closest cafe near me 15 35% 4 15 34% it’s my favorite cafe 4 9% 5 - Very Important 10 23% needed the free wifi 4 9% just wanted to go out 5 12% was just walking by and stopped in 3 7% Other 12 28% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Ambiance / Atmosphere / Energy 1 - Don't Care 3 7% 2 3 7% 3 - Neutral 8 18% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Interior Decoration / Layout 4 16 36% of Room(s) 5 - Very Important 15 33% 1 - Don't Care 3 7% 2 1 2% 3 - Neutral 10 22% 4 20 44% 5 - Very Important 11 24% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Interior Decoration / Layout of Room(s) Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Taste of Coffee https://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AlS4P_cuEIKDdEtlRDdibXhUU1IzdGlZbDk1RWc1dnc&hl=en&gridId=0#chart Page 2 of 5 https://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AlS4P_cuEIKDdEtlRDdibXhUU1IzdGlZbDk1RWc1dnc&hl=en&gridId=0#chart Page 3 of 5
  11. 11. Edit form - [ Café Survey ] - Google Docs 2/15/10 12:58 PM Edit form - [ Café Survey ] - Google Docs 2/15/10 12:58 PM 1 - Don't Care 4 9% 1 - Don't Care 9 20% 2 1 2% 2 6 13% 3 - Neutral 12 27% 3 - Neutral 5 11% 4 16 36% 4 15 33% 5 - Very Important 11 25% 5 - Very Important 10 22% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Noise Level Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Free Wifi 1 - Don't Care 2 4% 1 - Don't Care 6 14% 2 3 7% 2 2 5% 3 - Neutral 9 20% 3 - Neutral 7 16% 4 22 49% 4 7 16% 5 - Very Important 9 20% 5 - Very Important 22 50% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - the kinds of people that tend Number of daily responses to come here also 1 - Don't Care 6 13% 2 6 13% 3 - Neutral 13 29% 4 15 33% 5 - Very Important 5 11% Please Rate how important each feature of the coffee shop is to you - Availablity / Amount of Electrical Outlets https://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AlS4P_cuEIKDdEtlRDdibXhUU1IzdGlZbDk1RWc1dnc&hl=en&gridId=0#chart Page 4 of 5 https://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AlS4P_cuEIKDdEtlRDdibXhUU1IzdGlZbDk1RWc1dnc&hl=en&gridId=0#chart Page 5 of 5
  12. 12. Intercept Interview Insights Areas of Opportunity Design the interiors of cafés to explicitly facilitate one of the two modes of activities (work or socializing), and / or the three sizes of social groupings (solo, one-on-one, and teams). For instance, what if a café was designed from the ground up to exclusively cater to group work? How would the space differ from traditional cafés to- day? When a person moves to a new city or town, they usually find a café to patronize and revisit on a semi-regular basis. Engaging users as soon as possible and enticing them to visit a specific location would increase the chances of repeat business. Though not as formal as a traditional restaurant, the café lacks a reservation system for table space. Though many would not need this service, there are plenty of occasions, such as a meeting, or date for instance, that people would benefit from a guaranteed spot. It is very common to see people bring bookbags, purses, and even suitcases filled with their personal effects to cafés. They often empty the contents of their bags, and surround themselves with the objects they need to study or work. A shelving and / or locker system would free up space, increase security, and allow people to come and go, using the shop as a hub if they need to. People in a café come for different reasons, and those socializing may be too noisy for those wanting to hunker down and work. Creating semi-secluded or noise insulated sections of the room would help the loud and the quiet co-exist peacefully. Surprisingly, coffee isn’t always a big draw or primary concern for those who frequent cafés. Augmenting the experience with interior design, tools, or service to facilitate the work related tasks and projects that patrons are increasingly engaging in, as the café has become a makeshift office or study for many.
  13. 13. APPENDIX
  14. 14. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- • beverage is 2ndary to the experience INTERCEPT / INTERVIEW LOCATION 1 2/7/10 - 3pm Amanda W. Starbucks • this is my typical location - my school is across the street 828 North State Street • 50/50 social + work Chicago IL 60654 • there are no local coffee shops downtown --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- • but local places are more comfortable, L. St. John ⁃ lower key - laid back • why chose: Closest place ⁃ not uniform; no cookie cutter storefronts • profession: teacher • harder to work @ home because there are other things to do - distractions Dillan C. ⁃ separate work / home physically ⁃ go wherever its convenient - near where you are at the time • local vs corporate: same experience --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nick Lopez INTERCEPT / INTERVIEW LOCATION 2 • boyfriend of L. St. John • Doesnʼt like coffee - goes with girlfriend Argo Tea • also a teacher 819 n. Rush Street • Ambiance Chicago IL 60611 ⁃ quiet ⁃ chill 3:43 pm ⁃ tranquil --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ⁃ everyone on the same page Franscisco Herreara ⁃ place doesnʼt mater, as long as the vibe is the one you want • what do you like about the ambience • similar places to coffee shops ⁃ music ⁃ pennera (with wifi) ⁃ others are polite - like being surrounded by people ⁃ restaraunt + coffee house hybrid • rarely buy things - paying 3 dollars for tea is outrageous ⁃ also Borders - its ok to chill and hang • like to read and write when at coffee shops karen mijam • I seek quality coffee places out • usually go before work ⁃ location not importune to me, will travel for specific ambience • rendezvous with other people when its convenient • starbucks has all the sweetest spots • coffee shops are more casual • chicago isnʼt a town like new york where there are stops every block - there are • go to coffee shops primarily to be social only so many convenient places you can go to on public transit - and starbucks has all those places on lockdown Jan T. • difference between local and corporate • usually get in / go ⁃ local: steady clientele but smaller ⁃ donʼt have time ⁃ know people that work there - develop relationships • donʼt like begin around the poser laptop crowd • places like argo: lots of new faces ⁃ there to be seen • come here to meet students ⁃ pretentious • coffee culture started as an alternative counterculture / alternative spot in the ⁃ just killing time early 90ʼs, around 1992. • read the paper there • chose location based on where I live, and where I am at the time • like to go to local coffee shops, give back to the community Linda M. ⁃ corporate places donʼtʼ give you frequent sipper benefits • Why chose this place: atmosphere
  15. 15. • feels like a neighborhood home ⁃ taste of coffee wonʼt make or break my decision on where to go • frequent internet use ⁃ 20% meet, 80% work • why do you go there: mostly to do my own thing, but also to meet up with others - • hard to think of another place that could fulfill the needs of doing work away from office and home, AND be social….. ⁃ i also like lounging around a t boarders -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- • most coffee places sell coffee at roughly the same prices, and I donʼt notice INTERCEPT / INTERVIEW LOCATION 3 a differences in the taste of coffee from different locations…. Espression by Lavazza | Anista S. / Natalia B. 140 e. walton • go to catch up with others, though study productivity goes down chicago il 60611 ⁃ i need quiet to study -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ⁃ distracted with movement and music Cuiril L. • need a neutral location to study • Iʼm a regular here • alternative place to study: Library • live a block away • quality coffee Lavazza • free wifi here - donʼt have to pay like at those other places • starbcucks coffee is bad • # of people here is low • atmosphere matters - ⁃ people donʼt stay her long, usually • Location: within easy walking distance ⁃ donʼt have to fight for space ⁃ when familiarity is high, happiness is high • iʼm not a cofee drinker • alt location: millennium park - place to sit. • come here on weekends, usually to socialize • 20 study / 80 work • starbucks tastes bad • wish there were more proper food here David M. • go all over for coffee, but argo is my favorite - like tea better! Geno. t. • grate atmosphere • location: Proximity is important ⁃ comfortable space • I can access the doors quickly for a smoke every now and then ⁃ amount of people • why not stay at apartment: no disctactions, no porn, no naps • location: near change - • energy level is higher at coffee shops • main activity: reading / laptop ⁃ I feel like i get more done, though iʼm probably not as productive as • 50/50 work and social when I work at other places • starbucks tast not good….. • local places ⁃ but when attached to a bookstore you have a captive audience ⁃ cozy, not pozi, (just there to be seen) • donʼt go to local coffee shops very often -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SITE VISIT - DRAWING + OBSERVATIONS Nathanial Daramal • canʼt work at home, too many distracts Seattles best • a coffee shops give you food, drinks, a place to work 150 n. state street • gets me out of the house chicago il 60601 • when others are studying around you, it is motivating me to keep working • Why here: Panera Bread ⁃ starbucks i always full 1101 S. Canal Street • taste effects choice: low Chicago IL 60607 ⁃ intelligence has better coffee than starbucks, though -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ⁃ atmosphere and the space is most imprint ⁃ space: openness, better feel
  16. 16. FIN

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