Reading Ahead: Fieldwork highlights – Chris

Reading ahead logo with space above

During the fieldwork cycle, we write quick summaries of each interview session and send these immediately to our clients so they can start to circulate stories. At this point in the process we strive to stay descriptive; our goal is just to get stories about the people we’re meeting out to the extended team (us, our direct clients, and their stakeholders).

Chris (not his real name) is a software engineer in his early thirties. He lives in an apartment in Mountain View with his wife and their small dog. They moved here a couple of months ago, after returning from an extended stay in Europe.

When they left the US for Europe, the couple got rid of many of their possessions, including their books. Now that they’ve settled in again, Chris says he’s still trying to keep from accumulating too much stuff, and has been buying fewer books and using the library more.


Chris says he used to focus more than he does now on finishing books as a form of accomplishment. He described how he used to line up the books he had finished in a row, so he could see a physical record of his reading.

Chris reads a lot of technical books. Since he uses many of these as reference materials, often annotating and bookmarking them, he generally finds it useful to own them in print, rather than borrowing them from the library or using PDF versions.

One of Chris’ bookmarked reference books

Chris showed us the various ways he navigates through printed books, including “flipping” and going back and forth between non-sequential pages.

In the following clip, he talks about the flexible navigation afforded by printed books:


About Steve