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Meaning of Home for Different Generations

Team project | 14 weeks

Ethnographic Research and Analysis

An ethnographic research project about the meaning of home to people who are in different life phases

Project Goal

Reveal and compare the different beliefs, values, and attitudes about home among young generation, middle age, and mature generation. 

Identify, synthesize, and translate findings into insights and opportunities that can lead to possible concepts. 

My Role

Coordinated ethnographic research from planning to practicing activities with team members and qualified participants

Actively participated in team discussions and fulfilled commitments that contribute to the team's overall success

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While home is an important source of life-time influeces, memories, and supports, the generation gap is a problem in most families. Maintaining the communication and the understanding of different perceptions is critical for future home experience design. 

What Does Home Mean to You?

We recognized that the form of a "home" has changed overtimes. Living in a big city like Los Angeles, most people around us left their families for school, work, or hopefully a better life. 

We wondered, "What is considered a home?"

"Why do people in different life phases treat their homes differently?"

Participants

 

Qualitative Understanding of each Generation

P1

 

Young

P2

 

Young + Middle

P4

 

Middle Age

Expert

 

Psychologist

P3

 

Young + Middle

P5

 

Mature 

In order to have an in-depth understanding of each generation, we interviewed five people from different generations. Each interview was approximately an hour long. 

The separation of each generation was based on their life experiences, but not necessarily their age. 

Initiate psychological knowledge for the analysis process came from the expert's interpretation of the participants' behaviors and mental process. 

After learning from the highlights of the information we collected, I was responsible for interviewing and putting together a special list of questions for the expert. 

Primary Research Planning

In order to let our participants open their minds within an hour, we designed the interview and activities ahead of time. 

Setting our knowledge goals was our first step, and then we plugged in the suitable methods. 

Our participants' rights were clarified and protected with consent forms before the interview starts. 

Team:

 

x1 interviewer

x1 note taker

x1 video taker

x1 photographer

(Click here to see the detail of our job distribution and the responsibility of each job)

   Method:

 

   Guided tour and observation

   Consideration:

 

  • A common ice breaker

  • Broad and open-ended

  • Let the participant feel that they are in control while getting comfortable talking to us

  • Slowly narrow down the conversation

  • Understand their activities, feelings, and attachment at home

Knowledge Goals

 

"How the experience of living in the present home affects his/her life?"

   Process:

 

  1. A Understand and observe the environment of our participant's home with their lead

   2. Ask the participants to introduce his/her

       "favorite" and "least favorite" spot at home

"What is the participant's character at home?

   Method:

 

   Dixid card picking

   Consideration:

 

  • Avoid surface-level information while reaching the deeper meaning

  • Maintain a relaxing and fun mood

  • Allowing participants to turn abstract feelings into metaphorical stories ease the communication process

  • Critique themselves in a harmless way

  • A new/ different perspective

   Process:

 

  1. Provide a pile of selected Dixit cards (without houses and furniture) to the participants

   2. Ask the participants to pick two cards

       base on our questions and talk about them

       Q1. "How do you see your home?"

      Q2. "How do you think your home sees you?"

"Which part of their homes does not satisfy them?"

   Method:

 

   Drawing

   Consideration:

 

  • Drop the limitation of participant's confidence and abilities on drawing

  • Keep the research process fun with engaging activities

  • Has no constraints and helps the participant to communicate his/her thoughts

   Process:

 

  1. Provide a sheet of 11x17" paper, colored markers, and stickers

   2. Ask participants to create an image of

       "How his/her ideal home would be?"

   3. Ask the participants to talk about the image

       that he/she created

Analyze and Visualize the Process

 

Explain Abstract Relationships with Diagrams

Laying out the data in different diagrams allows us to focus on one aspect at a time and think deeper. These diagrams help us explain various abstract relationships. This process makes more sense of the information we collected during the ethnographic interviews. 

The diagrams below show the activities, interactions, people, objects, environment, the transformation of messages that are involved at home, and the system that enable the activities.

A&I + POEMS Framework 

(Activity & Interaction) + (People, Object, Environment, Message, Service)

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User Experience Framework 

(Physical, Cognitive, Social, Culture, Emotion)

Physical, cognitive, social, culture, and emotion are five human factors. We captured the human values of our participants with the data we collected and five analytical diagrams. 

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The Ethnographer's Questions 

(Meaning, Pattern, Sense of Order, Roles)

Answering a set of questions per diagram allows us to think and analyze the believes and behaviors of different generations with empathy. 

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Social Order

This diagram allows us to think through the hierarchy among different generations. Who is at the top and who is at the bottom? Who is in? Who is out? How do you know? How do you join the "in" crowd? Is there a rite of passage? Are there barriers to entry? What are they?

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User Experience Journey Map

(Doing, Thinking, Feeling, Context, Devices)

This diagram allows us to think through the hierarchy among different generations. Who is at the top and who is at the bottom? Who is in? Who is out? How do you know? How do you join the "in" crowd? Is there a rite of passage? Are there barriers to entry? What are they?

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Bordieu's Four Forms of Capital

(Economic, social, symbol, cultural)

We examined each type of capital with questions, "How are they presented?" "Who is powerful and who is not? Why?" " Are there different levels in each type? What are they?" "Which types of power are considered legitimate by different generations? 

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Reflection

 

Clarify the Questions in Analyzing Process and Dig Deeper

 

Narrow Down the Topic

I realized that we did not fully answer the questions when we were analyzing the data. If we get them correctly, we can dig deeper and find more interesting insights and opportunities instead of repeating some common findings. 

For example: 

When we answered the Ethnographer's Questions, the question should be "What does the meaning of home mean to different generations," instead of simply "What is the meaning of home for different generations."

As for the question from Ethnographer's Questions, "What are the role of participants and non-participants?" We should not only think about the "role of different generations," but also "How would different treat different generations treat the different people who belong and do not belong to their home."

When we analyze the social order of different generations, we kept thinking about the contribution of each generation to answer the questions: "Who is in? Who is out? How do you know? How do you join the 'in' crowd? Is there a rite of passage?" However, we should also consider "who or what can be part of the home? Is there any barrier to be part of the home?"

Special thanks to: 
Katherine Bennett
India Hillis 
Kesu Wang
HyunJin Kim
YongJoon Jhoo 
Instructor            
TA
Teammates
 
Heather Banis
Daniel Yim
Kristy Lee
Amanda Wong 
Dean Chou
Sunny Chang                          

If we narrow down to a group of people with the same race, income level, or family formation, etc, we might be able to find better insights and opportunities that specifically help this group of people. The content would also be more unique. 

 

Make Sure the Analytical diagrams stay close to our topic and goal

It would be better if we can turn our heads around and write on their relationship with "home" at each touchpoint when we were working on the User Experience Journey Map. Therefore, we can have a better understanding of their journey with "home" instead of only listing their journey over weekdays and weekends. 

Psychologist
Participants