Basic information 1
User profile 2-3
Artifact profile 4
Mundane technology 5
Design implication 6
I 543 Interaction Design Method | Mundane Technology | Diary Study | Melissa Tang 1
In this assignment, I’m exploring the space of mundane technologies that have long been appropriated by users
and are thus embedded in our family lives, work environments, as well as communities at large.
To explore the relationships between human behavior and artifacts in all times and places, I conducted a diary
The diary study is conducted with a notebook. I gave it to the subject in Feb. 12, 2014 and got it back in Feb. 16,
2014. During this process, I contacted with her every night to make sure she had no problems about this diary. She
took pictures of the updated diary and sent to me at the end of everyday.
My prior knowledge about people I know a lot will influence my interpretation of what they have to say. So I chose
people I don’t know much before. During this process, we began to know more about each other.
Before I gave her the notebook, I asked her to follow the instructions below:
a. Please log your actions and observations with objects and environments during a period of 3-5 days when you
are at home, in the office, or any local community where you are a member of (e.g., church, health club, musical
group, knitting circle, etc.)
b. Please write down reflections, reactions, and/or anything of interest when interacting with the artifacts in the
c. Please draw pictures and provide captions, as desired or appropriate to help me understand your reflection and
After I got the notebook back, I had an interview with her about every entry she wrote on the notebook.
2I 543 Interaction Design Method | Mundane Technology | Diary Study | Melissa Tang
Subject for this project is a Chinese girl. She just came to America a month ago. She is a student in the School of
Education in Indiana University. She is very interested in Human Computer Interaction and Design program at IU.
If it’s possible, she would like to transfer to this program. Now she is actively involved in many activities in this pro-
From her diary and interview, I inferred that she lives the life like most first year Chinese International student,
busy/efficient, colourful and economical.
In her diary, she mentioned about multitasking. when she was eating, cooking, cleaning, she would watch video
at the same time. From a conversation with her, I knew that for her time is limited, she doesn’t have much time to
have fun. And this is a good way for her to make good use of her time and enjoy herself. She also told me that she
would watch some videos from Lynda.com (a website which provides lots of educational material). Because she
comes from a business background but has passion on design. She has lots of skills to pick up to become a de-
I inferred that she is a girl who enjoy life and love her family and friends. She said she like to record and play
songs with her tablet. Also, in her diary, she mentioned a lot of social network tools. I guess she must spend many
time communicating with her family and friends. Later the interview with her convinced me that she is a girl who
values family and friendship and works really hard.
In her diary, she wrote “I use facebook to see what’s going on with others’ everyday”. She drew a senario that
her friend updated her status in Facebook: “I passed the exam of teaching certificate. --Feeling blessed.“ (See
picture in the next page)
The subject wrote: “I click “like” and “congratulations” on her facebook to show I am proud of her. ”
3I 543 Interaction Design Method | Mundane Technology | Diary Study | Melissa Tang
She seems good at planing things. From an entry in the diary, she recorded her use of Double map APP in iPad. In
the interview, she said usually half hour before she leaves, she would check out the bus location from the real time
map in advance.
She lives an economical life. She mentioned one of the reasons that she use Wechat because it’s free. Then she
can save lot of money from international calls.
From my inference, she want to live a simple, productive and colourful life.
Subject’s drawing of
I 543 Interaction Design Method | Mundane Technology | Diary Study | Melissa Tang 4
In her diary, she mentioned her heavy use of iPad. She recorded video player APP, Wechat (a Instant Message
APP which is popular among Chinese. It has the function to leave voice message), Facebook and Double Map. I
categorized them as:
1. Media and Video APP
Subject wrote in the diary that she would watch video when she is doing cleaning, cooking, etc. This kind of
APPs enrich her life and help her make good use of time.
2. Social Network APP
She use Instant Message APP like Wechat to communicate with her family and friends. With these APPs, she can
receive the newest information from her family and friends. And she can let them know how she is doing.
In addition, she mentioned that in Facebook she can join groups and find people who have same interest with
her. She can know what’s going on in a group. For example, she can know all the activity information in HCID co-
hort from the HCId 2015 Facebook group.
3. Transportation APP
She uses an APP called Double map to get instant information about bus location. Every time before she leave
a place, she would check this APP to make sure she would not spend long time outside in such cold weather to
wait for a bus.
“I will turn on my iPad to some videos (US TV series, news, open courses, TED, etc) while I am cooking, do-
ing some cleaning (washing dishes), brushing my teeth, washing my face, eating, etc.“
I 543 Interaction Design Method | Mundane Technology | Diary Study | Melissa Tang 5
From her diary, I saw she use tablet and website heavily. During interview, she told me that she uses tablet to read
news, see bus schedule, watch videos, look up words in Chinese-English dictionary and contact with her family
When she is at home, she wants to relax. She would play video with her iPad when she is doing other stuff. Every
time when she has time she would check her iPad to see the message from her friends and family. These social
networking APPs serve as medium for her to connect with other people. When class ends, she would stay with
other students. At the same time, they would check the real-time bus location on iPad or phone and tell each oth-
er the situation of the bus.
Sometimes she still can maintain a sense of community even without technology. She want to be involved in our
cohort because she want to be a student in our program. She had one same class as us and approached us. But
she relies a lot on technology to be a part of community. Usually at the beginning she would ask our contact in-
formation and leave us messages. Later when we have time, we would reply her. Also, she requested to join many
HCID Facebook groups to keep in touch with the news in our community.
The subject mentioned that she would watch video in her iPad when she is doing other stuff. So I ask her where
she put her iPad. She has a large washbasin, which has enough space to put an iPad. So she would not be afraid
that she would damp her iPad when she is washing her face. In addition, when she is doing cleaning or cooking,
she would put her iPad in her chair.
I 543 Interaction Design Method | Mundane Technology | Diary Study | Melissa Tang 6
In the subject’s diary, she mentioned a lot about her tablet. As a Chinese International student, from her diary and
interview, combined with my own experience and knowledge, I infer that she wants to live an efficient, econom-
ical and colourful life. She uses one tablet to entertain herself, learn new knowledges, keep in touch with other
people and get information about transportation. I also observed how the subject be involved in a new communi-
ty. She has to approach people face to face to ask their contact information or search online to know new people,
join their online social group to get updated information.
From the aspect that the context of Internet of Things that facilitate social action, I think future technology should
support people’s multitasking. With the pace of life increased, technology should support people to make good
use of fragmentary time. Information would be easy to access to. Just as what subject wrote in her diary, she want
to use the time even when she was doing cleaning, washing face, cooking.
Also, the subject complained about the Double map APP in the interview. She want a feature which can tell her
when to stop because she is not familiar with Bloomington and she always don’t know when to take off. It indi-
cates that more personalized information would be delivered to user to make their life more convenient. Take
subject’s problem as an example, we can use location-based service as a solution. So when she arrived at her des-
tination stop, she would be informed by her phone.