Most of my design experience comes from listening to talks or reading books by design pioneers such as David and Tom Kelley, Tim Brown, Bill Burnett, and Dave Evans. And upon implementing their suggested methods in many of my endeavors, I have come to realize my own method of doing things.?Disclaimer: I am still learning and evolving and I am sure there will be changes in the process as I move forward.That being said, this process is not a linear one, one may start at any step, skip any step and repeat numerous steps.
It all depends on the problem at hand. This just a blueprint that can be used as a reference point for any project.RECOGNIZE My approach usually starts with a story that has problems.”Oh Man! Missed out on another event this month!””There is a lot of mismanagement because of the university constitution”?This leads me to asking questions about the problems.”Why are people missing out on college events?””Why isn’t the present constitution working smoothly?” I then proceed to find some initial answers with my team, or own my own if it’s a personal project, which then leads to the initial constraints.These constraints are meant to be bend or even broken.
Usually bending or breaking these constraints will lead us to the final solution or to a new question.”TOO MANY SOURCES OF INFORMATION””Is it really the constitution that is flawed?”RESEARCH Understanding and empathizing with the user/stakeholder requires research and groundwork. But most importantly its about listening. Interacting with people provides the basis for further action, and usually the outliers or the “extremes” give the best insights. ?”Why are people missing out on college events”Mounisha – “To be really honest, I don’t really care about anything except dance events, and those get posted in our dance Facebook group or the 3rd floor notice board, now I’ve never missed an event unless it’s only posted on the 3rd floor notice board, because MAN that’s far and I’m lazy” Manogna -” I’m interested in every event, I mean I will want to know about every event and then choose which one I’d like to attend, but with my luck I get notified about the ones I absolutely am not interested in but miss out on the ones I really want to go to because I’m not part of all the Facebook groups. I used to be, but it got tedious and most people spam a lot.”Yash – ” I’m not on Facebook.””Why isn’t the present constitution working smoothly?”For unearthing this, me and my team conducted several interviews with the Faculty members, the Student Council, the Event Management committee, the Election commission and several students.
We came to realize that it’s not solely the constitution that isn’t working, but the institutions (Student council, Election commission, Event Management committee) associated with it that have a structural deficit because of certain loop holes in the constitution.BRAINSTORMThis is the place to get crazy creative and experimental. Here we figure out the areas that need ‘innovating’, here is where all the questions previously mentioned are answered.?For the constitution we all came up with our versions of a new one, the only rule that we had for ourselves is that nothing is crazy unless the rest of the group says so, even after that one could further argue till proven ABSOLUTELY crazy.
We then worked together to figure out what worked and what didn’t using our testing methods.For my app CampusXP, I would show sketches of my idea to my friends Zaid, Paridhi, Hemant, and Rishika. Zaid would give me feedback on the programming aspect, Paridhi would talk about the aesthetics, Hemant and Rishika would have valuable insights about additional features that could be incorporated.
This is where the crazy ideas take a physical form. Creating prototypes and testing the designed product happens here.?As a novice actor I LOVE using role play to figure out the little kinks in the problem.
For the University constitution, I played the college Director while my team mates took on roles of members from several college committees. We were able to figure out the concerns that a director or a member of the student body might have with the proposed changes. We made a lot of progress while having fun. And by the end of the stipulated time, we had our constitution ready.Apart from role playing, there’s the classic sketch prototype or the physical prototype. Both of which I implemented during my process for CampusXP.
?The user tests determine whether the design works or it needs more work.DRY RUN & TEST I’ve used these steps, or a combination of these on various occasions of my life be it academic, social, or personal. Design has given me a new attitude for achieving the goals that I set for myself, and I hope to achieve so much more with the tools that I have at my disposal.