Assignment 2–Brian Huang

I did my observations before SOC 204 lecture (TTh10:00am) in Frist, ANT 303 seminar (TTh1:30pm) at Bobst Hall, and in Frist at 11am on Tuesday (the former two were done last Thursday).


  • Subject 1 (student)
    • Student is early to lecture
    • Sitting in back of lecture hall checking facebook
      • There are other students here, but no interaction; they are all on phone or computer, decidedly ignoring each other
    • Steps out to go to bathroom
      • Leaves laptop in seat (is this safe?)
        • Says that Princeton students are pretty trustworthy (honor code)
    • When returns, someone has taken the seat next to him
      • Takes backpack (was on other side) and switches seats with it (now sitting in aisle seat)
        • Classroom is pretty full, but students seem to not want to sit right next to each other
        • Possible space concerns when taking notes/working on laptop
    • Eats a granola bar
      • Skipped breakfast because he woke up at 9:30 and didn’t have time to stop by dining hall for a proper meal.
  • Subject 2 (professor)
    • Passes by early students
      • No interaction; only enters a couple minutes early and busies himself getting ready for class
    • Actually, he had some trouble finding parking out here
      • Prospect ave. has many cars parked along.  Finding closest parking spaces often requires doubling back
        • In intervening time, spot might get taken?
      • Equad parking is too far away to be worth the walk
    • Throws away coffee (it has grown cold and it’s mostly gone anyway)
      • Always gets coffee before coming to class; sometimes finishes it, sometimes doesn’t, but it gets him going
      • Coffee may drip through trash lining, but nowhere to pour coffee out
        • Bathroom? Maybe too far to be worth it. Where is the closest one?
  • Subject 3 (late student)
    • Rushed through Frist; no one is in the way—pretty much everyone else needs to be somewhere at this point anyway
      • Is the student taking the most efficient route up?
    • Takes stairs two at a time while rummaging around in his backpack
      • Not much we can do to improve stairs, but can we organize backpack better?
        • What is in backpack that he needs? < homework due
      • Need a way to keep paper unwrinkled but easily accessible
    • Quietly slipped into class; found a seat in the back
      • Doors still make noise, and people still turn
      • Floor is creaky, announcing every moment student is not seated
      • Back-of-the-room seats build up, forcing later students to move up


  1. Mobile/online print release to allow people to print and pick up papers right before class
  2. Anonymous student/professor forum for interaction before/after class
  3. Classroom interest-related livewire for giving professor real-time student feedback on class (intended to spark conversation between class and de-stigmatize speaking w/ profs)
  4. Restroom occupancy checker to check for nearest restroom with vacancy to expedite before class restroom runs
  5. Redesign desks to have desks in front, rather than by arm (off center workspace is a problem for laptops)
  6. Mounted display and keyboard (in front of seats in lecture, but low enough not to obstruct view) for students to jack laptops into to avoid awkward laptop positioning
  7. Parking locator for professors who drive to efficiently find parking spaces
  8. Carpooling system for professors and driving students to reduce parking load.
  9. Mobile phone system for ordering “to-go” breakfast or lunch to allow students to eat and still make it to class in time.
  10. Student/professor check-in/introduction interface for de-stigmatizing student/professor relationships (could generate conversation starters based on interests of present people).
  11. Mobile app for reserving seats in lecture halls
  12. Lecture seating organizer that allows students to state preferred seating locations, but also ensures that students sit forward, leaving rear seats open for latecomers
  13. Mobile Princeton campus map app with efficient route locator
  14. Mobile game that allows students to gain points for discovering bits of trivia about professors (to encourage professors and students to get to know each other)
  15. Mobile Princeton facial recognition scanner (for professors and students who forget other professors/students’ names).
  16. Mobile app to allow students to check in and find friends in large lectures (for acquaintance-level friendships)


  1. (Mobile print release): students often need to print things out right before class, but waste time waiting for things to print at release clusters.
  2. (Mobile app for ordering “to-go” meals to allow students to grab food before class and still make it to class in time): students often skip meals before classes, but this could be avoided with to-go meals being more easily obtained (current interface is a form filled out a meal before)

Paper Prototypes:

Mobile “to-go” meals:

IMG_0114IMG_0112 IMG_0113

Mobile Print Release:

IMG_0115 IMG_0117IMG_0116


User 1 (Ben Arar)


  • Liked the idea
  • Need more food options (pickings are somewhat slim
    • May need options to change quantity/size of meal

User 2 (Elizabeth Liu)


  • Would like to use this now
  • Want ability to switch out items (if someone doesn’t like orange juice, for example, need ability to change to, say, apple juice)

User 3 (Amma Awusu-Akyaw)


  • Need additional special concerns (not just eating restrictions, someone might really like bacon, for example, or want a hot breakfast–user really wants to see bacon)
    • Rephrase “special concerns” to something more general like, “specifications”
    • Perhaps also include a text box for any other things that we may not think of
  • User also seemed to think that certain combinations of items were just not good (orange juice and soy milk, for example, “just don’t go together”)
    • Perhaps allow for feedback on experience

Major Insights:

  • Users want a great deal more customization of meals (the main draw of a dining hall, I suppose)
  • Users need to be able to communicate with meal makers, and not just with our restrictive interface.  We can’t anticipate all needs.
  • Feedback on meal combinations is advisable, especially if food may be wasted.  Users may also want specific things (like bacon) and want to be able to recommend that cooks make these more often, or dislike certain things (orange juice + soy milk) and want to advise cooks against these.
  • GUI buttons need to be more carefully named.  “Order” was misleading, and people were surprised to see a “confirm” page after