Interview Schedule

Target group: Architects

Purpose: Interviews will focus on the current information needs faced by a small group of Seattle architects.

 

Information for the Interviewer

Text to be read out aloud by the interviewer is in normal print.

Instructions for interviewers and prompts are shown in italics and should not be read out as part of the question.

Each interview should be assigned a unique reference number.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Interview

Interview Reference Number: ______________________

 

Introduction

First of all, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to quickly summarize why you are being interviewed. As you know, my team and I are graduate students at the University of Washington. We are conducting a number of interviews with architects as part of our class project. We hope to be able to gain an understanding about how architects typically work, discover the materials and media you work with, and find out more about potential issues and challenges that you may face.

 

Before beginning the questions, I would like to emphasize that your responses will be treated with confidentiality amongst the team for the purpose of the class project and all responses will remain anonymous. There are roughly 40 questions, which on average take approximately 30 - 40 minutes to complete but please answer the questions at a comfortable pace.

 

Please use this pen if you wish to mark the cards that I give you during the interview process.


Questions

A.    Setting the scene

1.      How many years have you been an architect?

4 years_____________________________________________________

 

2.      How long have you been with your present architectural firm?

1 year______________________________________________________

 

3.      What is your current job title in the firm?

Architectural Designer___________________________________

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

4.      Of the following, is your working environment:

    Office-based only

    Mostly office-based, with some field visits

    50:50 mix of office and field visits

    Some office-based, with mostly field visits

    External visits only

    Other - please provide more details:

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

B.     Information media

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

5.      Which, if any, of the following paper materials do you use in a typical working week?

(select all that apply)

    Informal notes

    Letters and general correspondence

    Contracts

    Reference books, journals or papers

    Sketches, designs or maps

    Other - please provide more details:

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

    No paper materials are used

 

5.1.   If you use paper materials, how are they stored?

See 5.2____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

5.2.   If you use paper materials, where are they stored?

In library, in file cabinet at desk, file folders, flat files

____________________________________________________________

 

5.2.1.      Are you able to control who has access to the paper materials that you create?

                            Yes

                            No

                            Sometimes - please clarify:

                        ____________________________________________________________

                        ____________________________________________________________

 

6.      In a typical week, how much of your work involves the use of paper materials?

    None

    Up to 25%

    Up to 50%

    Up to 75%

    Up to 100%

 

6.1.   If paper materials are not used, is this because of:

(select all that apply)

                      Personal preference not to use paper materials

                      Organization preference not to use paper materials

                      Other - please provide more details:

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

7.      Which, if any, of the following electronic devices do you use in a typical working week?

(select all that apply)

    None

    Desktop computer

    Laptop computer

    Cell phone (calls and texts only)

    PDA / smart phone (calls, texts, scheduling, emails, etc.)

    Other - please provide more details:

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

8.      Which, if any, of the following software applications do you use in a typical working week?

 (select all that apply)

          Email

          Office application (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations)

          Computer-aided design software applications

          Data management system (database of firm's records)

          Collaboration software applications (e.g. Share Point)

          Other - please provide more details:

Newforma – used to store emails, share files with clients (has auditing capability to show who has accessed files and at what time)

____________________________________________________________

 

9.      In a typical working week, how much of your work involves the creation or use of electronic files?

    None

    Up to 25%

    Up to 50%

    Up to 75%

    Up to 100%

 

(Possible prompt if interviewee is uncertain: for example, your laptop, main server, data management repository, etc.)

9.1.   If you use electronic files, where do you store them?

stored on company server, divided by project folders; emails are saved using Newforma (integrated into Outlook)

____________________________________________________________

 

9.1.1.      Are you able to control who has access to the electronic files you create?

                            Yes

                                  No

                            Sometimes - please clarify:

                        He can control who has access outside the company, but anybody inside the company can access the files

                        ____________________________________________________________

 

10.  In a typical working week, how much of your work involves the creation or use of physical models for architectural projects?

    None

    Up to 25%

    Up to 50%

    Up to 75%

    Up to 100%

 

10.1.                    If you use physical models, how are these models stored?

See 10.2____________________________________________________

 ____________________________________________________________

 

10.2.                    If you use physical models, where are these models stored?

Out in the open on tables__________________________________

 ____________________________________________________________

 

10.2.1.  Are you able to control who has access to the physical models you create?

                            Yes

                                  No

                                  Not applicable (no physical models created)

                            Sometimes - please clarify:

                        ____________________________________________________________

                        ____________________________________________________________

 

11.  Which of the following do you most enjoy working with?

          paper materials

          electronic files

          physical models

          no preference

 

11.1.                    Briefly, can you explain why?

He likes working with all of them, and thinks that they are all important tools

____________________________________________________________

 

12.  Which of the following do you most enjoy working with?

          text (documents, forms, etc.)

          drawings (sketches, diagrams, maps, etc.)

          no preference

 

12.1.                    In one or two sentences, can you explain why?

He enjoys drawings because he is a visual person; it is easier to communicate design ideas

____________________________________________________________

 

C.    Organizational Knowledge

13.  Does your firm have its own reference library?

    Yes

    No

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

14.  Does your firm use any of the following items?

(select all that apply)        

    Training courses are offered

    Architectural conferences

    Books or journals are made available to staff

    Team projects encourage exchange of knowledge between architects

    In-house mentoring programs

    Other - please provide more details:

“Lunch and learn” – product representatives come during lunch sessions and show new products and techniques

____________________________________________________________

 

15.  How often do you look up information in the process of you work?

                      Never

                      Up to 25% of the time

                      Up to 50% of the time

                      Up to 75% of the time

                      Up to 100% of the time

 

16.  In one or two sentences, can you describe the kind of information you typically have to look up?

In the beginning phase of project, he is looking for other design ideas, product information.  During the project, he is looking for details of certain areas (e.g. roofs, windows).  He uses Google Earth to find out information such as the width of sidewalk, other details about a particular building.

____________________________________________________________

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card. Let them keep hold of this card while they answer the next set of questions, number 18 – 24.)

17.  When you are trying to find out more information for your work tasks, do you:

(select all that apply)        

          [A] Ask a colleague

          [B] Ask a client

                      [C] Review physical reference materials in the office

                      [D] Review electronic reference materials in the office (e.g. internal database)

                      [E] Review reference materials in a public library

                      [F] Review reference materials online (e.g. web sites)

                      [G] Other - please provide more details:

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

18.  How satisfied are you with these reference sources?

          Never

          Up to 25% of the time

          Up to 50% of the time

          Up to 75% of the time

          Up to 100% of the time

 

(Note: For the next set of questions, make the interviewee aware of the letters in square brackets that appear before each reference source, and indicate that they may respond using these letters rather than having to say the full text each time if that is easier for them.)

19.  Which reference source (if any) do you find the most helpful when completing your work tasks?

[A] Ask a colleague

 

19.1.                    In one or two sentences, can you explain why?

It is the fastest method; you get a direct answer from a person, rather than trying to get it out of a reading.  Information from a person is easier to retain, plus you can expand on the question and get related information.  Also, the person can point you to additional information related to your question.

 

20.  Which reference source (if any) do you find the least helpful when completing your work tasks?

 [C] Review physical reference materials in the office

 

20.1.                    In one or two sentences, can you explain why?

He can find the same material online, typically

 

21.  Which reference source do you think is the most reliable source of information for the work tasks you perform?

[A] Ask a colleague

 

22.  Which of the reference sources that you use is the easiest for you to access during the course of your work?

[F] Review reference materials online (e.g. web sites)

 

 

22.1.                    In one or two sentences, can you explain why?

The internet is always there, whereas a colleague may not be.

 

23.  Which of the reference sources that you use is the most difficult for you to access during the course of your work?

[B] Ask a client

 

23.1.                    In one or two sentences, can you explain why?

Clients have many other things going on; they are not always responsive until it’s too late.

 

24.  In one or two sentences, can you suggest anything you might change with regards to how you look up and find information for your work tasks?

He would like a better electronic resource; the problem is that it requires someone who can gather and enter the information, and then maintain the information.

 

25.  Do you have to use multiple electronic devices to access different reference sources?

                      Yes

                      No

 

25.1.                    Do you need to logon and provide a password for any of the services you use?

                      Yes, all of them

                      Yes, for more than half of them

                      Yes, for less than half of them

                      No, none of them

 

D.    People

26.  Let's say you need to find a contact person for your work but you don't know the identity of that person. How do you find that contact?

Ask someone at the firm; otherwise, search for the company online and then talk to someone in the local office to identify the correct contact.

 

27.  Does your firm maintain a record of employee's skills, interests and knowledgeable topics?

                      Yes

                      No

                      Don't Know

 

28.  How often do you exchange information with your architect colleagues within your firm on your work tasks?

                      0 - 1 times a day

                      2 - 5 times a day

                      6 - 10 times a day

                      More than 10 times a day

 

29.  Have you ever had a problem sharing work-related information with your colleagues?

                      Yes

                      No

 

29.1.                    If Yes, what do you think could have been done differently to improve the situation?

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

29.2.                    If No, what do you think made it go so well?

Colleagues are interested in the topics and willing to share information.

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

30.  Which external group or groups do you exchange information with as part of your everyday work tasks?

(select all that apply)        

    Clients

    Construction contractors

    Consultants

    Public officials

    Other – please provide more details:

Product representatives

    No external contact groups

 

31.  Have you ever had problems exchanging information with an external contact?

                      Yes

                      No

 

31.1.                    If Yes, what do you think could have been done differently to improve the situation?

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

31.2.                    If No, what do you think made it go so well?

Newforma is nice for sharing information with clients.

 

32.  Do you ever collaborate with architects in other firms?

                      Yes

                      No

 

32.1.                    If Yes, how often has this been successful?

                      Never

          Up to 25%

          Up to 50%

          Up to 75%

                      Up to 100%

 

32.2.                    If No, is this something you think would be useful in future?

                      Yes

                      No

                      Don't Know

 

E.     Compliance

33.  As part of your job responsibilities, do you comply with architectural standards?

          Yes

                      No

 

34.  As part of your job responsibilities, do you comply with government legislation?

          Yes

                      No

 

34.1.                    If Yes to either architectural standards or government legislation, please give examples:

Architectural standards: drawing standards for how you communicate details and materials.

Government legislation: building codes, energy codes, American Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

35.  As part of your role, do you ever have to prepare legal forms and documents?

                      Yes

                      No

 

(Note: Give the interviewee a list of options to view for the next question. Read through the options as the interviewee reads their card.)

35.1.                    If Yes, where do you find the necessary documentation that you have to complete?

(select all that apply)  

          No template is used, new materials are drafted separately each time

          The firm makes paper templates available

          The firm makes electronic templates available

          Use templates from unofficial, external online source

          Use templates from official, external online source

          Other - please provide more details:

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

35.1.1.  If templates are used, how often are you confident that the legal templates you use are up to date?

                                  Never

                      Up to 25% of the time

          Up to 50% of the time

          Up to 75% of the time

                                  Up to 100% of the time

 

35.1.1.1.        When you are not confident, can you think of any way this situation might be improved?

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

(If the answer to Question 35 was Yes - i.e. the user prepares legal documents - then ask the following two questions.)

35.2.                    How often are you confident that you know when to submit completed legal documentation?

                                  Never

          Up to 25%

          Up to 50%

          Up to 75%

                                  Up to 100%

 

35.3.                    How often are you confident that you know where to submit completed legal documentation?

                                  Never

          Up to 25%

          Up to 50%

          Up to 75%

                                  Up to 100%

 

35.3.1.  When you are not confident, can you think of any way this situation might be improved?

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

F.     WRAP UP

36.  When a project is complete, how often do you receive feedback on your work?

          Never

          Up to 25% of the time

          Up to 50% of the time

          Up to 75% of the time

                      Up to 100% of the time

 

37.  If you receive feedback, who provides it?

          Upper management within your firm

          Colleagues

          Clients

          Other - please provide more details:

Tenants

 

38.  Does your firm have any standard procedures in place to gather feedback from internal (e.g. colleagues) or external sources (e.g. contractors or clients)?

Procedures exist for:

                      Internal feedback only

                      External feedback only

                      Both internal and external feedback

                      Neither internal nor external feedback

 

39.  Is there any part of your everyday work that you think can particularly benefit from constructive feedback?

Yes, all of it

 

40.  This is the last question of our interview. Briefly, can you describe what your ideal information system looks like?

Have access to, store, and track all digital files and email; able to access links to product information, etc (like a Favorites area); able to store pictures, imagery; give clients, consultants, and colleagues access to information.

 

Close

Thank you once again for taking the time to answer these questions, it’s very much appreciated.