• How do you design while keeping your users in mind?
  • How can you determine what your users want?


Two personas based off of users of CVS self checkouts, created through the use of field observations and interviews.


The interface I have chosen to observe is the self checkout lane at CVS Health. It consists of many parts that all work in tandem to make sure the customer pays for every part of their purchase, and then makes sure they leave none of it behind after they pay. That means it has to take care of the following things: Observations
Asking people to recall their experiences often leads to biased or overly specific answers, versus the broader overview you can get if you simply observe their actions. This can lead to insights that might be missed simply by interviewing participants. For this project, my observations were covert—I observed without getting involved with the participant or their surroundings. I did not try to influence their actions or let them know they were being observed.
One important thing to do with observations is to keep them as objective as possible—I tried not to make assumptions, and simply reported what I saw.

Interviews allow you to break past that surface of pure observation and really understand why users do certain things. The most insights are found by asking open ended questions that talk about motivations surrounding their actions and thoughts about the interface.

Personas are based off of multiple observations and interviews. They are not meant to be a conclusive summary of everything observed and everyone interviewed, but are just built out of the most common traits, behaviors, and thoughts coming from the research.


Observed Users:


The following questions were asked: User 1 User 2

Mental Model

The user thinks of it as a much quicker alternative to the cashier–they expect it to be quick and efficient. It is supposed to do everything needed to check them out, but it can often fail.


Busy Beth is your typical working single mom–a busy schedule means that she’s often tired and just wants to pick up some quick things before she takes the bus back home. She’s often in a hurry because she has to keep to the bus schedule, and can rush to finish checking out, skipping a lot of instructions. She’s distracted by both the future–what’s waiting at home–and the past–how tired work has made her.
Practical Peter is a college student and he shops at CVS because it’s conveniently located near his school. He’s often in a hurry so he can get back to working his school work, but can be persuaded to spend more time in the store as long as it’s for a good reason. He needs lengthier instructions so he can make sure he’s going through the process right and he tries to make sure everything in his power to make it go right the first time around.