Week 4: People-Watching

Week four found us people watching in Trabant Coffee & Chai in the University District.

We started out watching one thing: what do people do when they enter the cafe? We focused on if they knew where the counter was, if they knew what they wanted to order, and how they interacted while waiting for their drink.

New Customers

  • Confused
  • Have to ask questions about the sizes
  • Don’t talk to the baristas other than about order logistics
  • May look at the furnishings and things for sale in the store while waiting


  • Know what they want, are efficient in ordering
  • Ask baristas questions about their lives
  • Tip

We noticed that there are differences between regulars and new customers. Also, since we were in a balcony it became obvious they didn't look up.

We also realized that individuals who were regular coffee drinkers were better at seeming nonchalant, if not friendly. For instance, we had a hard time discerning if quick orders of “12 oz nonfat latte” were regulars, or just knew how to unambiguously order coffee.

Moving on from people watching we also learned it was good design inspiration for further conversations. For instance, we practiced drawing people (Nikki knows how, and tried to teach me). ¬†Additionally, we started talking about the color of the coffee cups in the shop, and realized it was the same shade of blue that we used for GateHopper, and that it was really similar to the blue used for Twitter, Foursquare, and other startups. This inspired us to make “Startup Colored pencils” as shown in the next entry.

We practiced drawing people, and made a list of start up companies and their associated colors.

People watching is good design inspiration.

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One Response to Week 4: People-Watching

  1. Liz says:

    This is similar to one of the exercises I sometimes have my Organizational Research class complete. They unobtrusively observe people in an environment and make a report. I’ve received projects on helping behavior, ordering behavior, cart return behavior and so forth. (Although this term we are analyzing photos of a workplace taken by a different student).

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