To study and improve a user's experience in a local Pittsburgh Laundromat.
CMU | 49-712, User Research Methods
Time | 6 weeks
Coming from a place where laundromats aren't common, I started with a site visit to understand how the laundry system works. Initial observation gave insights into what users do while their clothes are being washed. Along with observing the users I studied the Laundromat floor plan.
INTERVIEWS | OBSERVATION | QUESTIONNAIRE
Since my study was on laundromat users, I went on site to conduct my research every time. Hence, the participants were people waiting for their clothes to be washed and dried , and they were not hesitant in being a part of the research as they were at their leisure and not busy in any other activity. Though few participants were not very keen on taking their video or photo but agreed on voice recording which also was of great help.
The participants were selected by visiting the Laundromat at different times of the week and at different times of the day. Through this I got to know about the people who visit the Laundromat during weekends and during the week. I conducted interviews with 8 people.
-The freelance workers/people who work from home prefer to use the Laundromat mid-Week (lesser people present)
-Family and working people wash clothes during weekends
-Students wash on weekends too.
Key Insights from On-site observation, Interviews and Questionnaire
1. The service needed clear signage for customers for more efficient use of the laundromat. ( Customers get confused with the floor plan)
2. Most people come here every 2-3 weeks which means larger loads.
3. Customers work on laptops or read while the clothes are washed.
4. The seating is currently near the main doorway and when it is cold, people sit inside on the staircase.
5. Customers have to lift the heavy bags till the car/bus stop.
A literature review was conducted to learn about the success factors of the laundromats around the country. Few of the resources studied are
Key Insights from Literature Review
1. 77% People use laundromats for their large capacity machines
2. 78% Look at quality over distance while choosing a laundromat and don't mind paying more.
3. 80% people spend time inside the laundromat while washing the clothes.
A cultural probe was conducted on users to understand their experience in a laundromat. Users were given a set of photos and tasked with talking about each photo, about how it made them feel. Additionally, they were given blank sheets also, for them draw or write things that would make their time in the laundromat a better experience. A total of 6 people were asked to do the probe.
Key Insights from Cultural Probe
1. Customers would like to have a more comfortable seating area.
2. Customers see laundromat time as relaxation time.
The co-design asked the participants to
1. Answer questions about themselves and their laundry habits.
2. Design their current laundromat system on a grid provided for reference.
3. Mark pain points on the plan according to the order of degree using green, yellow and red dots.
4. Draw a plan using pen and sticky notes that correspond their color to the washer, dryer and sink to be constant and the rest they could draw for their version of an ideal laundromat.
Key Findings in Co-Design
- Customers want better quality equipment.
- They want trolley till parking (heavy load)
THE RESEARCH ENDED WITH RECOMMENDATIONS AFTER A THOROUGH STUDY ON THE INSIGHTS AND ALL THE FINDINGS