For this semester-long design research project, I decided to investigate which mobile devices are preferred by students at SUNY New Paltz and why.
This study included background research, conducting my own passive observations, administering a survey, and creating data visualizations to be displayed in a final 24x36" poster.
The first part of my study was a 12 question survey administered to Graphic Design students at SUNY New Paltz, in order to learn which devices they believed they used most/least often and learn some of the reasons why.
I then took the raw data from each question and created visualizations to convey the information in an eye-catching and easily understandable way.
My second research method was a passive observation to see which devices I actually saw students using to perform their daily tasks/schoolwork.
I performed three observations in different popular locations on campus: in a classroom setting (a Visual Language studio class), in the campus library, and in the atrium of the Student Union building. I tallied up which devices I observed students using, as well as whether they were being actively used (i.e. the student was looking at and working on them) or passively used (i.e. the student had the device sitting out, but were not looking at or using it).
For the first (classroom) observation, I did not measure active/passive use.
The Final Poster
After completing my research and organizing the data into visualizations, I displayed all of my findings on a 24x36" poster.
When beginning this study, I sought to find out which mobile devices students prefer to use in completing usual tasks in their daily lives. The tallies from my observations give a general idea of what mobile devices can be seen in use in everyday campus settings, while the data gathered from my survey gives some insight into people’s preferences (favoring laptops and smartphones, and hardly ever using tablets), and some of the reasons why (convenience, communication and dependency on technology).
Personally, I was surprised to see that notebook and sketchbook use was far higher than I originally expected. I thought that, especially in such a technology-fueled major, more students would have preferred using their electronic devices and forgotten about traditional pen and paper methods entirely. I know that I still prefer to sketch and write out notes by hand, so it is nice to know that I’m in the majority on that sense. I also thought that mobile tablets would be much more popular; since they give the user the option of drawing right onto the screen, I assumed that art students would find that appealing.