Making our idea a reality- Prototype

Screenshot 2017-12-12 12.57.24The next step in the design thinking method is to create a prototype.  When originally thinking of ideas, Taylor and I began creating solutions that would aid cell phone user to be able to walk and text. However, we realized that we actually wanted to eliminate phone use and walking entirely rather than help continue the distraction.  So rather than create an app that would allow a person so see ahead of themselves while walking, we created an app to gamify the walking process. In our prototype we created to figures from pipe cleaners. One was holding his phone while walking, and the other walking “wisely” (without his phone).  We demonstrated in the physical prototype that cell phone usage while walking leads to distraction as the person with their phone is about to walk into a tree. However, the person not using their phone using our walk wisely app, is fully aware of his surroundings and is happy doing so knowing that he is gaining points to earn gifts card. Overall, I believe our prototype will be able to help decrease the number of accidents with cell phone use and walking. From our previous research it is clear that there is a need to help to stop this distraction. I believe this app idea will be incredibly effective because it will motivate people through prizes to stop being distracted on their phone and be present while walking. Clearly, the prototype phase helped Taylor and I understand how the power of distraction from cell phones and how to encourage people to stop.

Walk Wisely

WW – Walk Wisely Presentation PDF

The final step after designing a product to hopefully decrease the number of accidents with cell phone use and walking was to present our idea to the class. Taylor and I decided that our best option to lessen the amount of accidents was to gamify the walking process. Rather than create ways for people to continue to use their phones and walk we wanted to eliminate phone usage while walking. Taylor and I came up with an app called, Walk Wisely. The idea behind the app is when people walk without using their phone, points build up. A certain number of points allows people to then buy gift cards or donate the money to a specific charity. We believe that this is an effective way to get people back into present life with motivation for the self or for the better of others.   Overall, the design thinking process helped us reach this final prototype. We started off on a large and broad scale of safety, then neared it down on a local level.  We hope that this will make a difference on campus and in the world. This might just be the first step in creating a stronger and more aware presences in people.



Time Boxing Ideas

IMG_3613After defining our problem, “How might reduce the number of accidents with cell phone usage and walking” and conducting research the next step was to ideate. In class on Tuesday, November 15 , we entered the problem solving space. We used the time boxing method to reach an intense quantity of solutions both relevant and impossible. In the beginning of thinking of solutions, I found that most of them were relevant and could possibly help decrease accidents of walking and cell phone use.  For example, my first idea was to create an app that allowed a person to look down at their phone while walking and if the application had sensed a close object or person close by the phone would announce to “step up” or “move to the right” therefore, one could continue to use their phone without running in to anything. Another idea I had was to have spilt screens between a camera screen and then the desired screen.  Therefore, you are able to see what is ahead of you. However, as the time continues the ideas I had started to go from relevant and realistic and impossible and idealistic.  For example, my craziest idea was to create a new form of transportation instead of walking, flying.  Creating a device for flying would completely eliminate walking accidents as well as driving accidents because there would be less traffic in air.  However, what I was able to take from this crazy idea is the overall point that decreasing traffic on sidewalks and maybe create a separate walk way for before on their phones.  Overall, I believe the time boxing exercise was incredibly helpful and fun to discover ideas both realistic and unrealistic to put them together to create even further solutions.

Digging Deeper

IMG_3513.JPGIn the past week, Taylor and I have conducted additional research about accidents with walking and cell phone usage.  To start off, we made some phone calls.  Taylor called the Emergency room at Yale and interviewed a staff remember at the hospital.  The hospital listed some incidents that have recently occurred and then discovered that 10% of Emergency Room visit are cell phone related.  This number enforced that cell phones are a huge form of distraction and if we can decrease accidents within one area hopefully it will make a positive difference.  My next task was call the Apple Store to discover how many phones had been damaged, broken or cracked because of distracted walking incidents. However, Apple unfortunately was unable to give me an answer.  The final person we reached out to was Janet Valeski, a librarian at the Arnold Bernard Library on the Mount Carmel Campus. Taylor met with her on Friday to discuss additional research. Taylor exclaimed that she was incredibly helpful finding further information about pedestrian injuries with facts and studies. As well as people’s ability to multitask, in studies, statistics and the Chewbacaa Experiment.  The final piece of information Valeski was able to offer was clear examples in the National Safety Council, the app ,Pokemon Go and Nasar.  The final step we took was to send out a survey monkey to friends about cell phone usage to truly understand how cell phone distracts the general population.  Overall, this week allowed us to dig deeper into research with interviews, information and surveys.



Cell Phone Usage and Walking

IMG_3512To start off, Taylor and I really wanted to focus on people living a safer life.  We wanted to come up with a solution to something that would protect people from accidents that could be threatening.  Our first thought was to redesign airport security in a way that allows people to get through airports faster and more effectively while still keep people safe.  However, when we thought about it again we understood how large and broad of a topic it was.  So next on the same topic of safety, we thought about cell phone usage while driving.  Once again a topic that has been thought about and tested a lot recently.  We wanted to narrow it down even further.  We finally came to conclusion of finding a solution to decrease the amount of accidents with people walking and using their phone.  We have heard many stories about people walking into things, getting hurt, etc. from being on their phone while walking.  Once we defined our problem the next step is research.  We hope to look up cases where accidents have occurred, what happened, where, why, etc.  In addition, we also hope to interview people on the quad, preferably on their phone, if they have had any past accidents while using their phone and walking.  We are also curious to discover what apps people are using when they are most distracted, texting, Instagram games? Overall, I believe our research will allow us to truly understand what about our phones distracts us and then how to prevent this distraction from interfering with our everyday lives.

Reaching Perfection through Testing

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 10.54.16 AMThe final step in the design thinking method is “test”.  Test is the final step in which one is able to actually see if and how their product fits into the real world. If a product works, then discover what improvements can be made to create the absolute best version of a product. In “Stage 5 in the Design Thinking Process: Test”, by Rikke Dam and Teo Siang, the two describe how one of main focuses and outcomes of testing is user feedback. Feedback is incredibly helpful because the user, him/herself can allow the designer to understand what works ad what does not. Likewise, the testing process also allows for designers to empathize with their customers to see what fits their specific target audience best. Testing also reinforces that the design thinking process is not linear.  After testing a product and understanding its faults one might have to go back to ideate step to generate more ideas or the prototype stage to create a stronger model. It is clear the test stage of the designing thinking process is effective is reaching a stronger product.


For example, after creating and designing our wacky apps they were put to the test and the app was experienced by members of the class.  This final process of user testing was ultimately the key ingredient to have my product reach its fullest potential.  During the first round of testing I actually found that the navigation of my product did not work.  I had to go back and properly set up each screen to link to each other.  Another problem I faced was that the links between the screens needed to make sense to the customer.  To demonstrate, one of the first few screens had displayed to create a profile, however, I need to make a page for existing customers.  Another suggestion that was given to me was to create a back button. Therefore, users could easily make their way around the app.  The final piece I needed to create was more pages,  where customers could find their best match in doggie dating.  For example, I originally created a quiz, however their needed to be a page that showed an end result from taking the quiz.  Overall, the exercise of testing had been incredibly helpful because it reminded me to emphasize with my users. In addition, because I had been working on the app myself, I forgot to understand that not all of my knowledge about the app is known to an outside user and that everything I create must be human- centered. All creations are for the best possible experience for a human, the easier, the more effective.  The final thing I learned from testing a product is that testing actually sparks new ideas.  If a user said they did not understand something , it allowed me to go back and create new ideas that are clearer and user friendly.  Clearly, testing step in the design thinking process is incredibly helping in leading designers to create their best product.

Taking a Product into Reality: Prototyping



Prototype is the next step in the design thinking process. Prototyping can be incredibly interesting and excited because now one’s ideas are on their first step to reality. This step is all about creating small and quick models to test the value and effectiveness of a product.  One of the key lessons to learn about prototyping is to not much too much time and money into each of the models. In an article written by Rikke Dam and Teo Siang in the Interaction Design Foundation called Stage 4 in the Design Thinking Process: Prototype the authors demonstrate the value that comes from prototyping. In addition, small models are created that will allow a person to understand what works and what does not.  Therefore, if a product does not it is easy to fail quickly and with little money spent so that one can move on to discover another solution. In another article called, “Design Thinking: Get Started with Prototyping the article discusses how the biggest flaw a group can make is spending too much time on idea that has as not be tested with a user or in reality.  Often small details are missed and therefore, the product is not able to be successful.  However, prototyping allows small cheap versions of the product to be created then tested. The power in this that these small products can be tested and one is able to discover how to improve or what is necessary to change.

Moreover, in the article, the author discuss how prototyping can be at any level. For example, it could be something as simple as sketches or more advanced to be an actual 3D model.   Any type of prototyping can be incredibly helpful in discovering more about a product or how to improve it.

For example, in class we created prototypes for a “wacky app”.  One of the first exercises we did in finding ideas for our prototypes was writing down as many ideas as we could in a specific length of time. The interesting idea behind the exercise was that once the most basic and normal ideas were thought of I had to dig deep down to find ideas that were not as common.  In addition, the ideas that were not actually as common were the ones that were most interesting and different.  Moreover, I was able to come up with the idea of a dating app for dogs as a wacky app. After choosing my strangest idea I then began sketching ideas and notes about how the app would operate. The next step was to quickly begin to prototype.  I began sketching screens for the app and figuring how to fit the pieces together. The final step after creating my prototype was to have my classmates test the product.  This overall demonstrated how powerful prototyping can be.  From my classmates using the product I was easily able observe the flaws with the product and in fact some of the users had suggestions to make the product better. Overall, it is clear that prototyping is very important because it allows a person to discover how effective and useful a product is.

Wacky app:

The Power of Creativity in the Ideate Step


Ideate is the next step in the design thinking process. This step is most successful when thinking creatively.  In a Ted Talk by David Kelley called “How to Build your Creative Confidence”, he demonstrates that most people believe that they are not creative.  From such a young age we feel that if we are not creative that we should just stop. Therefore, in life it is hard to move forward in anything creative because we lack creative confidence.  Kelley explains that creativity is not just a natural born talent but a skill that can develop over time. This process of constant practice can help switch fear of creativity into familiarity

One article by Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman and Michael Ray discusses the uses and power of the “Creative Spirit”.   In addition, using your inner creative spirit allows a person to “go beyond the traditional ways of solving a problem”.  However, similar to the empathy step in design thinking, a solution to a problem is only effective when it responses to human needs.  In the empathy stage it examines how tapping into the emotions of users and customers allows you to understand the problem and to reach the best solution.  Those same human centered needs must be remembered and deeply thought about.  In addition, the Creative Spirit article describes the first step in the Ideate process to “immerse yourself into the problem”.  To always consciously be thinking about the problem and to not set limits to your imagination.  Once various ideas are collected you must digest and truly think about the detail of each individual method.  Likewise, an interesting the authors mentioned  was that day dreaming can actually be incredibly influential in coming to a conclusion.  Growing up I have always been a day dreamer, I always drifted off into a false reality. However, I can understand how this can actually allow for ideas to flow through one’s mind.  On the other hand, the ideate step can also be extremely frustrating for the creator. Sometimes ideas beyond the surface level take time to reach.  Therefore, it can be difficult when ideas do not come as quickly as wanted.  Nevertheless, this is why the next piece in ideate is Illumination.  The illumination period is after all of the time and effort spent thinking a perfect ideas come to mind and you then have the best possible solution.  Finally, once the idea or ideas are narrowed down to the best ones ( while still staying human centered) then it is the time to take the designs and make them into a reality where they can be tested.

In my design and research methods class we had practiced the power of creativity.  For example, using simple and normal desk tools we were asked to create a catapult.  Using popsicle sticks, play doh and a few rubber bands my partner and I created a silly catapult machine that was able to launch a small ball over 12 inches.  This exercise demonstrated how creativity can be just using items unconventionally to create a successful product.  For example, for my catapult I used the container of the play doh for the base.  Overall, this demonstrated how creativity can be used in small ways.

Defining Develops Creativity

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The next step in the Design Thinking process is to define. Defining is a key piece to solving a problem because it is all about focusing and reframing the question.  For example, in “How Reframing a Problem Unlocks Innovation” they describe reframing a question as rather than ask the question what is the sum of 5+5, it would be more valuable to ask the question, which two numbers add up to equal 10.  By reframing the question, it allows for an infinite number of solutions rather than just one.  The article also emphasizes that every single problem is this in the sense that it can be looked at from hundreds of different angles.  For example, if you were to apply any situation to real life, the thoughts and emotions would be different for every individual because everyone has experienced differences, because of their age, location, etc. “Each angle provides a different perspective and unleashes new insights and ideas”.  In addition, it is evident that all companies must continuously reframe their problems because technology is always changing as well as the user.   Overall, it can be so powerful to think of problems outside the context.

When researching the define method I noticed that the “how might we…” question was a common theme in the define method.  To start off, it was key that data and research was collected from users, however, according to “What is Problem Framing in Design” stated the next step is to come up with statements for the following: I heard, I felt, I wonder.  After completing research, designers must put themselves into the eyes of the user to answer these questions from there they will be able to discover which are the important problems.  Once the important problems are discovered we must find out which problem will positively effect the customer. The final step is to create “How might we…” statements. These statements are created in order to come to a final conclusion that can overall solve a problem for the users.

In addition, when writing a statement,  an article by Christian Reuter called, “Writing Effective Problem Statements” describes the specific characteristic that each individual statement should have. One of the first includes, that there should be no limitations.  In order to receive the most creative and innovative solution, one should not be limited.  The next is all statements should be actionable.  If action verbs are put into the statement it implies that change will be created for the better.  Additionally, specific statements can also be more helpful because it has a clear messages with hundreds of possibilities.  Finally and most importantly, a statement for a problem should be human- focused.  The end result should be able to positively affect an individual and help solve or fix their original problem.

In conclusion, the define process in the design thinking method is incredibly important part because it allowing for endless creativity then limited it down to the best possible solutions.  A designer must remember the end goal is reframe a problem to create new possibilities that actually make a difference for an individual.



Using Empathy to Solve Problems

IMG_3078One of the main principles in Design Thinking is to empathize. Empathizing is such an important part in designing because it is understanding the emotions of its customer to truly benefit them.  In addition, if one does not take the time to empathize with its customers than the product will not truly fit their specific needs.  In addition, an article called What is Empathy? states, “studies suggest that people can enhance or restrict their natural empathic abilities”.  This can be incredibly powerful as designers because we need to be able to have empathy for other humans to ultimately reach the highest form of empathy called Affective Empathy. Affective Empathy dives deeper than merely understanding how a person feels, but actually allows a person to mirror the feelings and emotions of another.

Moreover, there are six habits of highly empathic people.  To start off, empathic people are always curious about strangers lives.  It is obvious that every individual thinks uniquely and focuses on different values within their life.  An empathic person is interested to understand how another thinks and feels.  The next habit is to discover commonalties between people rather than differences.  For example, does something that affects me as an individual affect them in a similar manner or create a similar emotion?  In addition, empathic people want to try another’s life. Therefore, see life as another, and understand how each person and situation within a person’s life has resulted to why they are who they are.  Listening and opening up is the next part of understand another’s world. Having empathy for another allows you to be in the present and understand the surrounding current world.  One of the most important habits of being an empathic person is to actually create mass action and change.  If one is truly able to understand another, then he/she are able to work towards changing the things that make he/she feel upset, uncomfortable or distressed.  The final habit is to require an ambitious imagination and to empathize with people that do not share commonalties.  Overall, an empathic person has to have an incredibly opening and understanding mindset.

In my Design Research and Methods class we created an empathy map for an individual, Julia, and her thoughts and feelings while using the Quinnipiac Self Service online program to register for classes. Throughout the process I noticed that Julia felt incredibly confused, lost and stressed while using the program which later lead her to being frustrated and upset. However, because I was able to observe and gather her feelings, needs and thoughts I was able to understand the problems she was facing.  The empathy map allowed me to observe Julia’s reactions and emotions through the process and then what problems there are within the software.  For example, when Julia was lost and confused I understood it was because there were so many options when choosing classes. In addition, she also became frustrated with the programing when after clicking a class she was taken back up to the top of the list and needed to repeat the process again.  Likewise, this allowed me to understand the problems then find a solution to them. For example, limit the number of classes available  for Julia to see for only the classes she is able to take or to keep her place in the page while looking at a classes.  Overall, this exercise demonstrated just how valuable empathy is to serving people’s needs.