Tara Bingham: Creatively combined ethnographic and design methods to gain insights into the user experience of wayfinding in a complex architectural space. Ms. Bingham shared her capstone project at the 2019 Idaho Conference for Undergraduate Research (ICUR) at Boise State Unversity. View her poster at this link. Mentored by Angela Ramer, Design Anthropologist at HKS Architecture.
Catherine Brichoux-Jones: Explored ways to improve member participation at local gatherings using social media tools. Observed meetings, conducted interviews, and a survey. Identified what members hope to get from meetings.\
Brian Browning For my capstone I developed an ethnographic perspective on sustainable packaging. My first field visits taught me that I needed to change my focus from packaging to how consumers think about sustainability. I pursued that question in Boise and Houston. In engineering students learn problem and solution analysis but not to understand their users. This certificate program offers this amazing tool for engineers.
Jon Carvajal My project sought to inform the design of an app to assist whitewater kayakers with tracking river flows tied to a date/time stamp. This could improve their experience and ability to time their entry. Research was completed at the Boise Whitewater Park. I learned most kayakers were interested in this app and currently have no effective system for tracking their experiences
Clesi Crochet: I conducted in-depth interviews to gain insights into how students select their major fields of study, and how much they think about the relevance of their majors to their post-graduation plans. To my surprise, I learned that most students were not concerned about the workplace relevance of their studies, and chose their fields based on their interests.
Kira Emery: My capstone research project involved evaluating communication methods and technology use at a local retirement community. I began by conducting semi-structured interviews and observations investigating the internal communication between the staff and the residents. I proposed two solutions to the community involving incorporation of focused technology classes and expanding the “technology hour” by increasing the number of people available to help, potentially through recruiting volunteers.
Creedence Johnston:I focused on barista training for a coffee company. My goal was to gain insights to improve the training process. I sought to identify what was working well, as well as pain points to remove. I studied three levels: new baristas, experienced baristas, and the trainers, emphasizing direct observations and contextual interviews. My stakeholder endorsed my work as “awesome.”
Megan Le Hall : I pursued my interest in gaming, and focused on the new eSports program at Boise State University. I became particularly interested in audience engagement, and how to develop measures for engagement for both on-line and live event fans. Using remote observations and interviews to develop empathy maps, I gained insight into how little most new fans know when they attend, and that live event fans feel less connected to the events.
Katherine Lockyer: My capstone project was to study the use of the collaboration space in the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State University. I was able to identify three areas of study: what the space is currently used for and why, what are the barriers to people using the space and what would people like the space to look like in the future. I found there is a need to have an area that can be re-purposed according to user needs for projects they are working on.
Rebecca Ma: I studied taxi drivers in Boise and gained insights into how much ridesharing apps have changed the taxi climate in Boise and impacted drivers and companies. I used a combination of ethnographic techniques but relied on unstructured interviews. I developed empathy for the highly personal impact of these new apps on individual drivers.
Tony Medrano: combined interactive participation, structured and unstructured interviews, incognito observations, usability studies, and design visualizations to gain insight into low customer retention at an art cafe. Work resulted in multiple concrete changes to business practices, including service flow, alignment of purpose and practices, and integrating rewards and outreach programs.
Roy Olvera: I helped a major technology company develop better practices for testing their ROAM printer on university campuses. I utilized direct observations, interviews, and user maps to gain insights into the best locations to conduct ROAM printer tests. Michael Bennion of Hewlett-Packard mentored my project.
Donera Owen: I helped a Christian church improve their practices for successfully inviting guests to their events using a mix of methods including semi-structured interviews, direct observations, a suggestion box, a self-reporting survey, and analyzing attendance records. I developed concrete improvements including offering regular and frequent activities for nonmembers, increasing in volunteer work and social gatherings, and distributing magazines and invitations in small groups to youth.
Donovan Roth : A rapidly growing start-up sponsored my capstone. I evaluated process flow in the workspace, using a combination of ethnographic methods, gathering rich, detailed data. I constructed a customer journey map to gain insights to improve production and employee satisfaction and inform strategies to increase competitiveness.
Kathleen Simko: I participated in a funded applied ethnographic project conducted by Boise State faculty. The project sought insights into the behavioral health needs of unique communities in rural southwestern Idaho. My specialty on this project was identifying, recruiting, and retaining hard-to-reach participants on a very fast moving project. I also conducted semi-structured interviews in the field. The project produced insights into community level variations in behavioral health delivery systems.
Maddie Squires: The purpose of my research was to determine what could be done on behalf of a university to assist students of the “middle ground” while they simultaneously work, commute and attend school. I felt that institutions of higher education offer a strong support system for students of extreme socioeconomic vulnerability as well as traditional students, but students of the working-class, commuter students, and those who otherwise feel that college “is not for them” receive minimal support. Through a series of interviews and participation in a conference aimed at finding solutions for first-year commuters, I blueprinted a potential course for middle-ground students that would teach them to integrate the skills they already possess through their work and outside life in an academic setting.