THE DIFFICULTIES IN USING TECHNOLOGIES INSTALLED IN BART STATIONS AND ARE MEANT FOR SELF-SERVICE
To build a grounded theory by conducting field work and analyzing the interactions of people with technology at public places.
As part of a class project, I involved myself in field work, ethnography to observe the nature of interactions with technology by BART commuters. With a keen eye to detail, I took rigorous notes of all the observations in my field notes. I also conducted informal interviews of both commuters and the BART officials at multiple BART stations and during the BART commute to understand the pain points and in general experience of their BART journey.
After each day of field work, I carefully analyzed the data I had collected and coded the different emergent topics for further analysis. After involving in field work over several days, I analyzed the data collected and presented a paper detailing the issues that commuters face.
The research gave me great insights about the various issues faced by commuters, official rules and social norms implemented at the BART station. The main categories of issues were:
- Usability Issues
- Ticket dispensing machine readability for senior citizens.
- Ticket dispensing machine instructions unclear.
- The machine does not dispense change over a certain amount.
- Design inconsistencies in the machines creating confusion.
- Turnstiles are designed inconsistently.
- The transit information posted is unclear and does not give the details of the BART.
- Elevators for disabled people are not efficient.
- Social Issues
- Illegal sale of BART tickets by unauthorized folks to commuters who are in a hurry or unfamiliar with BART.
- Inefficient elevators leading to bikers taking escalators even though it is restricted.
My thesis included a detailed note of various issues faced by commuters. I plan to further continue my research to be able to present these details to the authorized officials.