Observations over the week

As part of the design safari for assignment 3 we visited a number of places where we could quietly observe people going about their everyday business. Here are the places I visited


I arrived at the Drs early so I could observe! On arrival at the surgery you have to sign in with a touch screen computer – its very user friendly (or so I thought) whereby you have to press whether you are male or female, then your date of birth, then your appointment comes up and you press ok.  The screen is in an area which is quite dark and low down, I presume this is for those who are in wheel chairs but am not sure why the area is so dark.

I sat in a corner so I could watch and three elderly people came in one after the other, one went to the screen and had a go – then went to the reception desk as the screen was working!  one got the screen to work and the next went to the screen and then had to go to the receptionist too.  The seating area is very big but most people sit near the door so they can hear the doctor/nurse/physiotherapist/chiropodist come and call their name.  If you sit near the back of the room you can’t hear your name called.  Most people were sat with a seat space between them and kept their heads down reading magazines (one on trains, one on yachts and one looked like maps) probably didn’t want to have to answer the question “how are you” if someone came in and recognised them.  Some one came in and was with a carer, its along way to walk from reception and then back through again to the surgery.

For children, there is a huge play area but the little boy didn’t want to leave the toys when his mum tried to take him through with the nurse.  Three ladies waiting were chatting one kept her handbag on her lap and held on to it quite tightly.  Apart from the child coughing no one looked ill!

Then my doctor called me early so the observing had to end


Out for lunch. The  cafe is very busy and we have to wait to be seated, this is quite normal for this particular place but its worth the wait.  We are shown to our usual table and wait to be served.  There’s a group, possibly a family of Gran and Granddad Mum and Dad and teenage daughter.  The mum is in her 30’s and looks like she’s made an effort for the day, probably over dressed for the cafe we’re in – she is wearing make up her hair is perfectly straightened, her clothing matches, a red and white patterned top, black trousers, black Christian Louboutin style stiletto  shoes with a red sole and heel (which are very worn) and a red handbag with big white flowers.  She smiles a lot and seems really happy to be with all the people, the man presumably her husband is not so smiley but chats away with the group.  Their food arrives and they have a mixture of hot cooked meals and paninis, I can’t see the faces of the others with her.  A couple in their 50’s pass their table and stop to chat, the woman moves away and the man shows the seated lady something on his phone she then laughs and shares a joke with him. He then leaves and the whole table listen to the lady.  After a while the table get up to leave too and the Louboutin lady puts on a bright red coat and she walks confidently away in her very high heels.  I wonder what was on the phone, realistically it was probably a photo of a grandchild but I guess I’ll never know!

Three tables are filled with more mature couples the men are all dressed similarly in creamy brown wool trousers with brogue shoes, checked shirts and classic wool jackets one with large checks and the other two are a plain wool jackets. They all look like former army officers and don’t talk at all to their wives apart from discussing what they will eat. The wives all have very well coiffured hair and have probably just been at the hairdressers that morning.  One lady says she won’t be able to eat everything on her plate.  The staff are very busy and professional although they don’t have time to stop other than to take orders and deliver food.  One of the couples leaves and the husband helps his wife with her chair and coat.  A real gentleman.  Two ladies sit next to us one is probably a carer, I don’t think it was mum and daughter as the younger lady calls the other by her first name Dora.  Dora needed a lot of help to sit and get comfy and she looked like a granny with white curly hair and a lovely face. They talked about people they knew and the younger lady had to keep repeating herself and asking if Dora was alright.

We then had to leave as it was very busy.


The library is somewhere I often go to now to use the computers.  5 pm the day time staff have left and the evening staff take over.   Student comes in and he cant take out the book he wants, it seems he owes a fine of more than £10 but the machine wont take £5.00 notes, he approaches the desk and the gentleman on duty comes over and tries the £5 notes himself.  They don’t work so the librarian gets his wallet out and changes the money for a £10 note!

This particular member of staff is so friendly and helpful and over the last few weeks I’ve witnessed numerous occasions where he changes notes for coins.  Nothing is any trouble for him.

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