Archive for the ‘Discovery’ Category

Turning Research Into Concepts

November 16th, 2011 by projectinteraction | No Comments | Filed in Discovery, Teaching

From our third teacher, Abby Covert:

In our third class, we started by discussing what makes up a website: Content and Structure. As a group we discovered we needed to decide the content (at least broadly) in order to get to the structure, and I introduced the tools of sitemaps and wireframes to the girls.

For our first exercise, the girls – armed with their research – started by brainstorming the types of content and features they could see on the website. We took turns sharing our ideas and each girl would cluster her ideas near those similar that had been already shared.

We started to see big buckets emerging quickly around:

  • A section to introduce the program
  • Staff bios and pictures
  • Class schedule and Descriptions, photos, videos
  • Contact Us page
  • A logged in area for students, teachers and maybe parents
  • An area to talk to potential donors

Most surprising was how well the girls knew the language of the web already, having deep but quick conversations about specifics like including a “privacy policy” and perhaps having an “intro animation.” And of course “Forgot Password.”

Creating Form from Structure

After a quick tutorial on sketching interfaces for websites each student chose 3 ideas to draw out and share back to the group. Anxious to get markers in their hands to see what came out, I was excited to see that their ideas were well formed, detailed and thoughtful.

Next we all drew what we thought a home page might look like. They talked about what ideas they liked and didn’t like from each representation. Then someone asked:

“How do we decide what the top sections are, cause ours are all different.”

I knew they were ready to make a sitemap. Armed with all our pictures and post-its filled with content and feature ideas we started to sort them into buckets and fill out our first draft of a sitemap.

When we finished assembling our map, one girl asked:

“What about colors and the logo – we all came up with those too so why isn’t that on the sitemap?”

What a great opportunity to talk about the difference between content and form! They quickly grasped this concept and all agreed the visual design must wait until we are sure of the content.

Our class ended with the girls getting excited for the challenges that lie ahead, but nervous about making everything really happen. Turns out even teens get stressed during discovery. ;)

More to come… one week at a time!

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“I have so many questions!”

November 15th, 2011 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Discovery, Teaching

In our second week of class we asked our students to begin user research for the website we will create. We wanted to teach them the importance of both on-site observation and individual interviews and asked Odette Nemes, Project GROW coordinator, to visit our class as our first interviewee.

The girls prepared a list of questions for Odette, carefully considering how her testimonial might help them in their quest to design the program’s website.

  • What is Project GROW?
  • How did it start?
  • Who are the “users”?
  • What does Ms. Odette do?
  • Who else works here?
  • How do you apply? How do you get picked?
  • Why did you start this?
  • What information does a site need? Is there a site today?

A short clip from our session with Odette:

After our interview, Abby and I broke the girls into two groups to go and observe some of the after school classes in action.

Abby’s group was disappointed to find they weren’t welcome in some of the classes where they tried to observe. It’s a great lesson for a young designer to learn that outside observers are not always welcome, even if they have worthy intentions.

From their interview with Odette, the students realized the vast selection available to them as students in Project GROW. We wanted to get a good sampling of the classes and observed soccer practice, a science lab class, a self esteem course and a dance class. The students were eager to take a lot of photos and video of each class. They were focused observers, with a sense of importance for the duty of observing and capturing each class.

At the end of class we asked each girl to capture their observations with a drawing. They drew a variety of stories and experiences, told from many different perspectives. At the end the girls were quite happy to share what they had learned!




At the end of our session, they all asked that we do more interviews following the observation. “It’s good that we got to watch everyone, but now I want to talk to them! I have so many questions to ask!”

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Explore Interaction Design at the High Line

July 19th, 2011 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Curriculum, Discovery, Teaching

We’re teaching a three-day workshop this week at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. We’re excited to lead 25 NYC high school students on an adventure to discover why and how we share our experiences in a digital world. We’ll be investigating technology from the past and present, and dreaming up new ways to use lo-fi solutions and mobile technology to design experiences for the future.

The Challenge

Your friends are visiting from out of town and they really want to go to the High Line. Too bad you’re stuck at your summer job and can’t go with them. Create an interactive experience that makes them feel like you’re right there with them.

We’re taking a field trip to the High Line tomorrow so the students can better understand the experience of visiting such a place. More to come this week!

For more, check out the Cooper-Hewitt’s write up and our story over at SVA’s Visual Briefs.

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Motivation

July 6th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business, Design, Discovery, Research, Videos

Daniel Pink: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

One of my coworkers showed me this quick video from Daniel Pink, author of Drive. We’re working on a research project to discover some of the reasons why our users may or may not be inclined to complete documentation for a finished project. The question of motivation has come up a lot.

Not surprisingly, lack of motivation is ranked at the top of the list of reasons why intelligent people fail.

I’ve been thinking about motivation in regards to our prospective students for Project: Interaction. Many of the educators we’ve spoken with along the way have told us about the concept of intrinsic motivation, or the idea that kids have to want to do something in order to be fully engaged with it. We’re constantly thinking about ways that our curriculum can complement a student’s existing interests, and leverage those natural inclinations for the practice of interaction design.

Have you taught or worked with high schoolers? How does Daniel Pink’s video compare to your experiences?

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The Project: Interaction Experience Cycle

June 8th, 2010 by Carmen Dukes | No Comments | Filed in Business, Curriculum, Design, Discovery, Inspirations, Research

Education is not exempt from experience design

After weeks of research, interviews, and brainstorming, Katie and I have a designed a curriculum that we believe will appeal to both students, school administrators, and faculty. So what’s our next focus? Besides finding a school to partner with,  I am exploring beyond the curriculum, and thinking about the experience.

The Experience Cycle

Source: http://www.dubberly.com/articles/interactions-the-experience-cycle.html

On my blog, I recently wrote about iPhone games and Hugh Dubberly and Shelley Evenson’s Experience Cycle. The Experience Cycle is a continuous relationship and conversation between a consumer and a product or service.  Instead of focusing on single interactions with consumers, the Experience Cycle, is a holistic approach to consumer engagement – from awareness to advocating. Successful companies, like Nintendo and Zappos, provide case studies in this method. Their success can be attributed to creating relationships with their consumers as well as continuous interaction at every possible touch point. I believe the Experience Cycle provides an interesting framework for designing how Project: Interaction will engage with high school students and ultimately provide guidelines for measuring the success of our program.

The Project: Interaction Experience Cycle

Project: Interaction Experience Cycle Sketch

The Experience Cycle has five steps. Below, I outline the Project: Interaction experience at each of these points.

1. Connecting (first impression)

We’re connecting with students at a community level. The attraction to our program will be that students will learn that they can design products and services that impact the community around them, which could be their school and/or neighborhood.

2. Becoming oriented (understanding what’s possible)

Each week of our curriculum explores one area of interaction design and relates that concept to New York City. Students immediately began to think as designers, discovering how design influences the environment around them. Students will begin exploring problems and solutions that can be achieved through design.

3. Interacting with the product (direct experience)

Our program isn’t about lecturing the students each week and having them sit still and take notes. We want them to make things. As we explore environments, mobile technology, and services, students will brainstorm, sketch, and design their own solutions to topics we propose.

4. Extending perception or skill and use (mastery)

The program is cumulative – allowing students to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and themes that we teach while becoming passionate observers of the world. After a seven week primer to interaction design, these designers in training will explore a design solution to a problem that matters to them.

5. Telling others (teaching or spreading activation)

Since Project: Interaction is a new program, our students’ successes (and failures) will determine its success. Their exposure to interaction design should excite them about what’s possible with design and intrigue them to learn more. Ultimately as we recruit future attendees, they’ll help us promote our program among their classmates and peers.

As we talk with students and schools about Project: Interaction, I predict that we will spend more time talking about the experience of the program than the details of our curriculum.  We hope the appeal of both – the tangible and the experiential – will generate interest on both sides and result in a great school partnership.


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Brainstorming for a Name

May 21st, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Discovery, Sketching

After all this brainstorming, we’ve decided to stick with our original name concept: Project:Interaction.

At least with all the back and forth we came up with a great vocabulary with which to talk about our project!
Whiteboard Brainstorming

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Catching Up on Reading

May 17th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Design, Discovery, Research, Resources

Design thinking: Everywhere and Nowhere, Reflections on The Big Re-think
Great article with some good insight about innovation and arguments on Design Thinking

Every Child Should Know About Design
Bill Moggridge’s brief thoughts on K-12 design education

Reading into Creativity Education
Tino Chow is working on design education, too. We agree; creativity is a mindset.

Design Thinking Made Visible Project
Nice body of research about design thinking taken from observations in education.

Environment & Learning

April 20th, 2010 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Discovery, Inspirations, Research

A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.”

In this New York Times post, it is revealed that having more books (and other valuable resources, perhaps?) in the home increases a child’s chances of academic success.

In our thinking about design education we’ve been very focused on how to promote creative thinking in the classroom and at the school environment. Of course this is where we have the greatest amount of access to the way students learn, but it makes me wonder if there are solutions we can consider that affect the ways in which children are learning in their home environment, outside of the classroom and their peers. Without access to design classes at a K-12 level, this is the space where designers learn how to think. Many young designers are self-propelled, seeking out the necessary resources to learn about design without guidance or formal academic support until the undergraduate level.

The NYT article reminded me of the Creative Mornings talk with Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy. He began his career as an interior designer and transitioned into elementary education. He spoke about his unique position at a small school where he was able to visit his students’ homes once a year. His discovery was similar: the students whose homes were organized and clean performed better at school.

How does environment shape a child’s capacity to learn? How does it impact his willingness to think about new ideas and possibilities rather than simply following a prescribed educational track?

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How did you first discover design?

April 14th, 2010 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Discovery, Inspirations, Interviews, Research

Unless they grew up with a parent or relative who was a designer, most kids don’t know what the term “design” means. Every designer comes to a moment in his or her life where he realizes there’s a name for the all the things he’s interested in: design.

We offered the question, “How did you first discover design?” in an online survey to anyone who would answer. Here are some of the responses we received:

Through advertising. Where I went to school, no one ever exposed me to the idea of design as something you could do for a living. It was my understanding that the people who created the visual pieces that communicate to people were in advertising. Silly as it sounds, it wasn’t until the design community came to the internet that I discovered that graphic design was, in and of itself, as thing. From there, I came to realize the existence of a wide range of design disciplines, and finally to one that brought my various interests together.

I thought it was just designing logos and t-shirts in high school. I made a website senior year of college and I realized design could be all sorts of other things.

I studied fine arts in high school and college, and was regularly taught by my art teachers that fine arts was some kind of a higher calling than the more professional/vocational art disciplines: illustration, graphic design, industrial design, etc. I wanted to be a fine artist, showing my work in galleries. It wasn’t until a good ten years after graduation from college and working professionally as a game designer and interaction designer did I realize that I was, in fact, a designer.

On-the-job training, through trial and error. I never really received any formal design education, but I’ve had the good fortune to work with a few extremely talented designers over the years.

by playing LEGO

I dont really remember how i discovered design…i just like to draw. That got me into art classes, then it just spawned into type, and creating things, and then before i knew it i was already in.

I’m a writer first. Worked on a ‘zine with a friend of mine. A compilation of writing that we’d wanted to just put out there and give to our friends. 2nd issue of the zine, we’d wanted to make it look better by choosing fonts and drawing cartoons. It was then that I fell in love with what I didn’t know yet was typography. I didn’t know that graphic design was even a discipline and I could study something like typography, which was the gateway to graphic design.

It was early early on, I’m sure when my mother had us make our own crayons in order to draw. But I don’t remember being able to “call” it design until college when I was introduced to it formally.

I first discovered GOOD design as a freshman in college trying to impress my art student friends at Columbus College of Art and Design and Rhode Island Institute of Art that a small liberal arts college student could produce similar compositions. In the short term, I was largely mistaken by my capabilities. Granted, a lot of art students don’t know good design if it hit them repeatedly over the forehead, but the criticism and unwarranted snobbery pushed me into developing a more refined interest in design. I had known all the rules of composition, which had been in grained in my creative process, since my childhood art classes. However, suburban Cleveland is not a conducive environment for the creative type and a lot of exposure to design was from concert posters, which are riddled with inspiring illustrations but really poor typography. The truth is, I am embarrassed that I did not discover real design until I was 20 years old in my first typography course. I not only found good design, but fixable mount adhesive, or rubber cement, should not be left in the presence of the lead videographer at a small university because it is highly flammable and was used to set fire to my office floor. A fire extinguisher was used to put out the flames.

What about you? How did you first discover what “design” means?


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Kids as Entrepreneurs

April 12th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business, Discovery, Inspirations

Check out this talk from Cameron Herold at TEDxEdmonton! So much of what he’s talking about can be applied to the way we think about teaching kids to be designers and creative thinkers. Definitely worth a watch.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCar_sFfEf4]

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