Project: UX

Discussion of project development, references, etc.

posted by Tony Brock on October 23, 2006 | comments: 24 | post a comment

i think we had some good brainthunder today, but guys, for serious, we're going to have to step up the discusssion and be more vocal. I'll shut up, or comment less or something if i'm talking too much, we just have to open up the channels.

-i'm stoked on this thing, never been in this kind of water and i feel like it's pushing my understanding of web interaction way farther than i am right now.

-i'm glad we dont haqve to try and build this monster. i think that takes a lot of pressure off and is going to free the groups up to turn out some dynamite failures in the beginning that pay off strong in the end.

Bam. Blog it up.

Posted by Kevin Lee McGee on October 23, 2006 10:48 PM

Great project, looking forward to working in a group for the collaborative effort... :)

Posted by Anthony Tran on October 24, 2006 04:42 PM

I agree that "team green" had a positive brainstorming session in class on Monday. We were divergent, inspected a variety of options, and tried not to kill any ideas too early. We focused on developing software projects that would help peers deal with sources of collective frustration. From streamlining high pedestrian traffic areas, to designing a better hospital bed, to helping groups of people come together to advocate a cause they believe in-everything is on the table. We're meeting again tonight to finish up the brainstorm and to develop a tighter, final concept for tomorrow.

I think we're all excited about the real-world possibilities that this project is exposing us to.

Posted by Emily Millette on October 24, 2006 08:23 PM

So team orange is currently toying with the idea of mentor based relationships, and how they would play out on the interwebnetspaces and UX zones. The goal is to bring in the personal ideas surrounding such a relationship, and use it to open up information channels so that a larger whole can benefit. This is ideal because flow of information is eased on a personal scale as well in a wholistic one. Essentially the whole community can enjoy the personal and the public simultaneously. EXCITING STUFF. Group green what you got? Why is Kevy-poo soooo extremely stoked? PLEASE ADD TO THIS, TEAM ORANGE IF I LEFT SOMETHING OUT (In my infinate, infallible, knowledge as group leader).

Posted by George on October 24, 2006 09:51 PM

"Team Green" had a successful elaboration on our previous brainstorming session tonight. For now our idea is to create a piece of software that enables experts to collaborate to produce a hand-held device that helps people navigate better through airports. The device would aid in way-finding, reporting flight information, providing information about the location of services within the airport, and information about the destination city/airport. We feel that this project would require knowledgable experts in a variety of fields, including: industrial designers, graphic designers, programers, psychologists, government saftey officials, frequent travelers, etc.

George was also present at our meeting and gave us some feedback from his "team orange" perspective. We look forward to hearing from the rest of the class and Chris Paul tomorrow.

Posted by Emily Millette on October 25, 2006 12:01 AM

It would be cool to think about the potential of user created information on an individual level. While in the meeting with rival group "green" I had the idea of creating a iterface that works with you and your computer, and knows what you have done, where you go (within the context of your screen), and through that knowledge extrapolates where you may go. In essence the computer "desktop" (if you want to call it that) can become a dynamic system, which adapts itself to user input. This could also simultaniously work with the other softwares loaded on the computer to create tool bars that are minimized, and rehashed to what the user uses... This of after affects. You dont need to have a free rotation tool that is in the comp window and one that uses coordinates. Both do the same thing, and generally everyone uses one or the other (one if you think mathmatically ie 30 percent rotation, and another if you think visually). This would streamline your computer and tailor it to the individual, and it would change the way software is made. Photoshop could have 10,000 tools and widdle down to under 50 within a week of installing it on your computer. Just throwing it out there. Also dont listen to emily cause I was totally responcible for ALL the breakthroughs they had.

Posted by george on October 25, 2006 09:49 AM

To add on to Emily's post, last night our group started to focus on specific questions such as, the people we would like to target, who would collaborate, the types of communication that would be used, and how our actual idea would function. We all agreed that the idea of having instant information based on where a specific person was would be an interesting topic and interface to consider. We discussed a lot of different ideas from public transportion to creating a specific browser to target a certain age group. We reached our idea that we will present to the class today, which is a hand-held device that helps you navigate through airports, connects you to your other flights, along with many other features, which our group is excited about! This topic has something that everyone in our group brought to the table in some form or fashion, and seems to have many different avenues that we can expand on...

Posted by Kalesia Kuenzel on October 25, 2006 12:05 PM

These scenarios are helpful, and Iím glad I can now see their importance. I didnít get as much out of them in imaging, mainly because I didnít know what purpose they served. I like the idea of going from specific to broad. Designing for the masses as represented through a few key personas.

As far as our group goes, we are playing a lot with the ideas of hierarchy, and flexability. Making the system flexable, in the sense that the design can be applied to many different forms of information, and comunication, while still maintaining its clarity, and ease of axcess. Hierarchy is another important aspect for us because it deals with wayfinding, usability, and overall axcess. In short, we are trying to distill the site-thing down tinto a system that enables clear, meaningful , and productive communication between people.

Posted by george on October 31, 2006 01:39 PM

The UX project experience for me thus far has been good and but at the same time somewhat frustrating. It is pretty much the first group project that I have had in the design school in a long time. Being within a group really shows the importance of inter-dependant thinking and collaboration. Where one's weaknesses are irrelevant based on other group members strengths. At times it gets frustrating that sometime ideas aren't clearly expressed when everyone bounces around with off topic subjects. But in the most part, I think the group comes through and synergy takes place.

Living off campus is another obstacle that gets in the way. With the demands of other obligations, its sometimes hard to meet and catch up with the project. Missing meets and not having current notes, its great to have the team that shares collectively...

There are many things that I have never considered before in these types of projects that makes it a great learning experience. Working with a group defiantly has its strong points. It would take much more time working individually on such tasks that require lots of brainstorming and creative effort. All in all, this isn't my favorite project, but I am grateful to have this be a part of my studio experience.

Thanks to Tony + Chris :)


Posted by Anthony on November 1, 2006 06:25 PM

I am finding the group work experience really beneficial because you get to "test out" your ideas and get feedback from people immediately. One thing that's making working in a group a productive experience is that we can just throw ideas around and that initiates group discussions, which then can prompt more ideas. I think it's a more realistic approach to the way design projects are handled in the "real world." I also feel like this project has an appropriate pace and feels more manageable in a sense; part of that is because the goals and expectations for the project were made clear from the beginning so we were able to stay motivated and on track. It's also been interesting to see how our idea has evolved into a complex system that is slowly becoming less vague and abstract and more of a real product.

Posted by Ioana balasa on November 1, 2006 07:19 PM

I personally have really begun to connect with this project (and I feel like our team has too). I've been a little anxious about areas of design that have a more "technical" element since our web unit with Jaime; this project has given me new confidence. There are so many different facets to consider when doing UX design, and it really shows the importance of understanding systems and your audience. I second Ioana that working in the group collaborative environment has been very beneficial. We have all contributed valuable ideas, and elaborated on each other's concepts. My experience with project four has also been impacted by my position as "team leader." I feel an extra sense of responsibility to facilitate our group discussions, arrange group meetings, and stay organized. My role has also given me some good experience with presenting the group's work...having some public speaking confidence (and competence) is important to me. On the whole it has all been a healthy departure from everything we've done up to this point in school. I hope I can show the project's importance through my print piece.

Posted by Emily Millette on November 1, 2006 10:09 PM

This isn't meant to be redundant, but I think we are all discovering the power of a team effort that can work together with the same goals in mind. Group experiences haven't always been positive for me, but in this case I am discovering that when everyone is interested and wants this beast to function, we do a good job of moving forward quickly. Having Jason, Jason, and Patrick come in on Wednesday was a great chance to learn how they get themselves out of corners quickly (which we had managed to do...). Knowledge from the experts. I enjoy the complexity of our task and really having to think about and consider the details. UX is a realm I've never really considered, I'm glad we got introduced to it.

Posted by chrissie cobble on November 2, 2006 11:08 PM

My experience with UX design is becoming very valuable to understand what is it to be a designer. After working few weeks with Chris and other students in my team, I realized that many of my work was lacking in the design thinking/thought process. At the first day of this project, and when the team decided the topic for our project, I was already visualizing what kind of "cool stuff" we can put to make the program look nice. But then, after few group meetings and discussions, I realized that everybody had their own ideas about this project and noticed that visuals that I made in my head was interrupting me from understanding what others were saying. And it was amazing how things can develop faster when you become zero and stand at the same start point with your team mates.
Also, the exercise that our team did last Wednesday (suggested by the designers in the IBM) reminded me of the first exercise we did in the Project Two, where you put time limit on yourself and see how divergent you can be. One thing that impressed me most durring this excercise was how ideas came out four times faster from the IBM people compare to our team. This really showed me how using your knowledge becomes more important than using your hands in the real world.
... and that might be the key to become a good designer.

Posted by MaSaTaNaKa on November 3, 2006 08:22 AM

Thoughts in no particular order:
-I absolutely love this project. This project forces us think on a different level than our normal projects.
-I have never thought about the time and energy that goes into creating an experience on the computer.
-I am coming to believe that the point of a user experience is not letting the computer get in the way of things that we already do everyday except that now we are able to interact with people from all around the world. How cool is that.
-The complexity really boggles my mind, all of the things that users take for granted have to be considered.

Posted by becca on November 3, 2006 09:26 AM

It's strange how much the issues and directions that we face in our process apply to our group process as well. We got stuck moving VERY slowly at the end of class on Wed., so our experts came in and made us do a high-speed brainstorming which got us a lot farther along than our previous methods have. This is the same kind of disregard-the-results behavior I have to CULTIVATE sometimes in order to get any useful ideas out of my own head when I'm working on a project. Prevents me from over-rationalizing too much.

Posted by Adam on November 3, 2006 11:10 AM


Posted by Adam on November 3, 2006 11:16 AM

Last night our group began to design screens and to incorporate elements into those pages. We started drafts for those, which helped us examine previous issues we encountered and also coincide new ideas to our system. We have been working on flushing out our scenarios and giving them each specific goals and tasks in helping us explain our goals for this software. I really am enjoying working with our group, like Ioana mentioned, it's nice to be able to throw out ideas and have an immediate response to them.

Also, the way our group has begun to build off of one another's ideas is really exciting. We have been documenting our work and each other (with our group photo shoots at every meeting), which will help us have a database to pick and choose from when creating our final pieces!

Posted by Kalesia Kuenzel on November 3, 2006 11:39 AM

Blogging is so foreign to me (and to a lot of other people in this studio, I think). I've communicated some things to my group via e-mail because I didn't want to goober up the blog with a lot of detailed team green specific stuff, but everyone might find this interesting:

Subject: Hello team!
From: "Emily Millette"
Date: Wed, October 25, 2006 10:05 pm

Hey guys!

Just a quick reminder that we've decided to meet tomorrow evening around 7:00ish in studio.

Also, my dad is leaving on a trip tomorrow morning, so I went ahead and asked him some fairly informal questions over the phone before he became unavailable for a few days. We can ask him more specific questions as they arise, but I think for now what I got was plenty specific. Here's a brief transcript from my notes:

E: What about airports most frustrates you?

D: Mostly it's just the lack of consideration that people have for their fellow travelers. People that know each other will walk 5 abreast down the concourse without realizing that people really need to get by going in either direction. Also lines to board airplanes, or to get food, will spill all the way across the concourse obstructing traffic.

E: Do you have a favorite airport that functions better than others? What do they do differently from other airports?

D: I think different airports do different things well. Denver has very wide concourses that are difficult to be obstructed. They also have lots of moving sidewalks down the middle of the hallways that divide up the traffic flow. Moving sidewalks produce their own problems of course. Las Vegas has a set up similar to amusement parks to prevent lines from spilling out into the concourse. The Pittsburgh airport has become much
more efficient in recent years as well. I think Charlotte Douglas has nice signage, but people just don't see it, or aren't paying attention to it. If you look at the way signage is set up on highways, you can only see the information when you're traveling in the correct direction. I think if there was some sort of divider down the middle of the concourse, like the benches you see in shopping malls all over the place, and if you could
only see the signage by traveling in one direction, you'd solve a lot of problems. A big yellow stripe down the middle of moving sidewalks might help people remember to stand right and allow people to pass on the left. It seems to be human nature to just walk wherever an opening exists. On streets and highways it's a life and death situation, and people are forced by law to stay on the right side of the road. But if you could find a way to channel pedestrians in a ways where they didn't feel railroaded, it'd really be a vast improvement. I think you have to coax people to do the right thing.

E: Why do you feel this sort of project has significant value?

D:It's my hunch (and I don't have any stats I'm going on here) that air travel will double in the next ten years; and airports, the way they're set up now just won't be able to handle that kind of pedestrian increase. Part of it is the hub system. Lots of flights depart at the same time, and lots of flights arrive at the same time. It's analogous to a heart beat. There will be a flurry of activity at one time, with lots of people passing through the concourse, and then there's a pause where not a lot is going on. So the airport has to deal with sudden onslaughts of people needing to get somewhere all at the same time. Part of the problem could be solved by people building new airports; another portion could be solved by people adding concourses onto existing airports; but the majority of these traffic flow issues could be fixed by improving existing set-ups. I think the idea of the collective working on this project is a good one, because if you took pieces of the best ideas from a variety of people, these issues could get solved. It's also not limited to airports. Public spaces all over the place could do with more considerate and sensitive pedestrians.

I don't know how much help that is to everyone, it'd be more relevant if we were producing the actual product (which I think would be super interesting), but I do think it might help spawn more ideas for our software. Just something to help generate some new material before tomorrow.

See you tomorrow night team green!

Subject: Re: Hello team!
Date: Wed, October 25, 2006 10:56 pm

wow good work emily the insight is definetly intresting and will in the very least provide some insight on the beast we have chosen to tackle... i think it comes down to organizing a group of peole just like cars are organized on highways... we are trying to organize people in an online env't and our hypothetical device organizes peolpe in a physical one... hmm ok just thoughts , see you bright and early....bedtime

Posted by Emily Millette on November 3, 2006 05:48 PM

[orange arrow/div.onmouseover.jpg/frostykeeper]
so. i finally feel like i can say something. i really honestly cannot conjure up anything that has happened prior to today. right now. my brain is i cant think of the word. anyway, today was really clear. i went from laughing my ass off for ten minutes to nodding off every ten seconds to complete clarity. dont know how that happened, but it was good. so, in that period of complete clarity, i put a lot of the stuff my group has discussed into words and phrases that make a lot more sense to me. the stuff made sense before, it just wasnt something upon which i could stay frosty. upon.

our goals:
connect users - thats what they want, and what we want
promote willful teaching and learning - we want people to want to share knowledge, and we want our site to be an educational tool that people actually want to use, we want them to enjoy learning
(okay, so im thinking about information that could be shared through video tutorials and this project seems so useful. think of all the subcultures where there would be at least a few kind people who wanted to share information, we are talking endless possibilities of teaching and learning. forget i said subcultures, how about ideas in general. what are people in this class interested in? if i think of past and present things ive been interested in or wanted to know how to do but had no good visuals to go by... bicycle maintenance, bicycle modification, camera maintenance, camera modification. these things need videos! they are complex, words and still images often do not do the trick. seriously. i need someone showing me this crap in person, preferably, if i cant get that, my next preferred option would be to watch a video that shows me how to do this stuff. this stuff has serious potential. things id like to share with people... the proper way to wash silverware and dishes, the best way to preclean dishes and utensils so theyre easier to clean when you get around to it, the cheapest/greatest way to make a burrito (people could tag their videos with words such as the ones id use, youd click on that category or search for it, they would come up and youd see the ratings people had given all of the "the cheapest/greatest way to make a burrito" and youd be able to narrow down your video watching to the videos that got rated highest--probably the ones that are actually the cheapest and greatest ways to make a burrito, ahhhh so many possibilities [WHOA... go back and correct that double hyphen which wasnt originally there but was put in there to make you have to go back and replace it and other crazy craps with an em dashes and other crazy craps because you dont have anything better to do, you know, like actually getting around to designing anything--think there are--enough ings right--there? got 'eem!]), best way to fold a burrito (folding is not my expertise, it is someone elses i know), introduction to call numbers / best way to shelve books at the library (i could make a video of me doing this [of course i know the best way] and the librarians could tell the newly hired library assistants to just watch the videos a couple times before they actually do it, and then when theyve actually put books on the shelf and run into confusion, they could watch the videos again and understand more of what didnt make sense the first times they watched them). good grief there are so many possibilities. im thinking that some people would be motivated by pet peeves, i think i would, thats what the whole washing dishes, shelving books stuff is about, just to post something up there to make a point moreso than actually expect people to change how they wash dishes or something, people would do that. people would do the bike stuff and the camera stuff, they would want people to know that they know this information. so for bad or silly or good motives, people would be using this site.

okay. enough of that. something else though. (youre done! ...keep going) gosh i love thinking about how we have these few scenarios (thats how its supposed to be, i know), but how they (music, language, formal class kinda thing) represent like .00001% of the things users could do with this site. the tutorial/instructional/educational/mentorial (oh mentorial) possiblities are endless. its pretty mind blowing.

so basically, were making this website that combines aim, myspace, youtube, wikipedia, and divcon dot everything, including org, bathroom, doorknob, coffee table, jingle bells, and broom, to make something that we hope would be used to educate people in the way we intend.

so, writing about my experience in this project. i feel like im just now starting to realize the power of the site were proposing, understanding it and then putting it into different words so i can think about it without the conventions of other words. "i dont wanna call it a site," well... but different. kinda weird though, i was typical critter coherent before, now they are on a whole new level of coherency, ultra frosty.

also, i just previewed this and i did not mean for the first and last paragraphs to be so alike. i did not look at either one when doing the other. im not gonna lie to you! and dont you just love how four lines after "our goals:" i started a parenthesis and never ended it. thats typography. true fact. thank you.

Posted by critter on November 3, 2006 07:52 PM

critter! i love what you had to say about our "site." since we came up with our idea, i have been thinking about how people will take the structure we propose, and then do things with it that we would have never thought of! yes, it is ultimately a community sharing knowledge, with mentor/one-on-one relationships that incorporates basically any form of media, be it text, forums, live chats, video, etc. BUT-- people are going to use it for their own motivations, and thats where the power of creating something like this becomes truely valuable. we are establishing a means to educate and share. i think that people could use the "site" for just this and it be extremely effective, but it still has the potential for so much more.
(i keep thinking about the soda constructor website/program, and how tony said the guy who made it was amazed at what other people had done with it, enhanced it, and applied it, things he didn't even think were possible.)
i think its going to be important for us to keep the ultimate goal of our site in mind when we begin our next step of designing it. we keep getting caught up in little details and its stealing our time and effort. keeping the goal in mind will be our way of moving forward, as a generator of new ideas, the validation for our decisions, and the basis of our "site" structure.

Posted by selwyn on November 4, 2006 04:40 PM

Team Green

Goal: To create a platform for multidisciplinary collaboration on a stated problem, in this case airport troubles, through an articulation of the design process, development of various spaces deemed public and private and the dynamics between these spaces, and the flow of information between large groups of geographically removed individuals acting in concert.

We want to make it easier for people to talk, no matter where they are, or their demographic, and share experiences. This entire process is about enabling people to exercise their individual internal motivation through our set of tools.

Posted by Kevin Lee McGee on November 8, 2006 09:03 PM

Team Orange
Collaborative Learning System

Current examples of online education programs are inherently problematic in that they limit and restrict content, communication and motivation, three factors essential to the success of any learning experience. We believe in the future of education and communication as an online experience that should provide fluid interactivity and lateral movement across all disciplines. We wish to challenge the specialization of existing sites by offering a universal learning environment that respects a full range of content and provides simultaneous connections among people and subjects. A unique toolset will enable this fluidity of movement and elevate the quality of the userís experience. The roles of the collective and the individual are essential to the future of learning, and creating a system that comprehensively addresses all of these needs will foster an efficient, dynamic and collaborative database of shared and collected knowledge.

Posted by vw on November 9, 2006 04:03 PM

just wanted to say great job to everybody on friday.

Posted by Kevin Lee McGee on November 12, 2006 12:37 PM

My experience overall in the UX project:

This project taught me a ton about process and developing user driven software. The wireframes and scenarios really drove home how critical this pre imagery part is, and golly gosh darnit it makes alot more sense to build this infrastructure before i make the skins.

It was hard for me to work in a group, because i can be impatient and hard to work with, but i was blessed with a group of patient and purposeful people that put up with me overall and i think we made some good work, now we can focus on finishing it up for our portfolios and making a piece, a conversation piece if you will, about the process overall we can talk about with friends and employers.

overall i'm just excited at how productive and meaningful this short short short 3 week process was and how much came out of such an intense seminar.

thanks to both team orange and team green, and of course thanks tony and chris and all the great folks at IBM that helped us out along the way.

Posted by Kevin Lee McGee on November 19, 2006 05:26 PM