I have compiled a list of initial micro events from around my house. I plan to now take these to other houses and study the differences with the use of participant observer studies, visual sociology studies, task analysis, time and motion studies and with the use of Therbligs.
1. Rinsing objects in a colander – can also include rinsing in a sieve/strainer
2. Quick Hand rinsing/cleaning – Cleaning an item under a running tap. – A quick wash to avoid having to make a pile of washing to do later – Usually done with hands only- sometimes with a dish cloth – Commonly washed items: coffee cups, drinking glass, small plate, knife
3. Washing dishes – Hand washing – Dish washer washing- pre rinse?
4. Feeling the water when waiting for hot water to arrive – Holding a finger under the running water
5. Brushing teeth – Water to initially wet brush? – Rinse brush
6. Washing hands
7. Boiling water/steaming (cooking) in a pot – water into pot – water used for boiling
8. Washing face in basin – with a face washer
9. Washing pet
10. Having a quick drink of water – in glass… usually discard some – From tap? – Bedside glass of water.
I began to conduct research at home as a way of testing my methods. Turn out that my methods needed tweaking to get the best results. I am studying micro events. The key word being ‘events’. Define event: ‘something that happens at a given place and time’ (http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=event). The events that I am looking at occur at specific times. With my current method this would see me living within peoples houses for days, weeks even, to capture what I am after. I know what evens I am wanting to study- there are only so many that can occur in a house. On top of my Visual Sociology, I am planning to define a number of events and conduct Task Analysis with the use of Time and Motion studies. Task Analysis is an analysis of how a task is completed. I will define a task- say washing the dishes, and then go to my subjects and get them to complete the task. Time and Motion studies involve studying every action a person takes to complete a task. The goal of time and motion studies, as defined by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, is to reduce the number of motions it takes to complete a task- make the action of doing more efficient. ‘Therbligs’ or ‘Gilbreth’ spelt backwards, is a word to describe the fundamental motions of a task. Like Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, I plan to describe the fundamental motions of each task and use them when analysing my defined micro events. The use of Therbligs, could help me to discover way in which to use water more efficiently and uncover some design opportunities to concentrate on.
And another good point from Soumitri; I am studying the face to face users of water- it may be time to also study the producers. Who supplies water? Who sells water related products?