IDP 116 Prototyping Portfolio Monica, Tsewang, and Phoebe

In IDP 116, Image, Learning Design.Design Learning, Portfolio - IDP 116-16, Uncategorized by Phoebe Little

by Monica Muñoz, Tsewang Chuskit, and Phoebe Little

Prototype Portfolio

The Prompt:

Our prompt for our prototype project

Our prompt to find a user was to design something for someone who has an “unconventional path.”

User + Interview:

Our user, Katherine

Katherine, our user, is an engineering student at Smith with a diverse set of interests.

Katherine loves to travel

Katherine acting in a play

Katherine at The 2017 March for Science

Through our initial interview with her, we learned that she is a lover of theater (especially musicals), grew up on a farm, and cares deeply about the environment. One of her many unconventional paths is that this summer she is going to Belize to complete research on coral reefs and teach to the local youth. Given her wide arrange of activities, we asked what she likes to do for fun or to destress and discovered she enjoys completing puzzles and Paint by Stickers. Katherine explained to us that she loves doing it as a way to feel creative, calm, and complete a task in a set amount of time.

Our interview with Katherine

Technological Review:

The Paint by Stickers book

We made some acute observations upon examining the Paint-By-Stickers book that Katherine uses. Firstly, it’s quite large in size and is heavy to carry. Also, the sticker areas take up only a part of the whole paper (leaving a lot of dead space). Furthermore, the stickers recreated a version of the original picture in a pixelated way, since the stickers weren’t realistic to the painting but blobs of solid color. While Katherine showed us how she uses it, it became clear she enjoyed using it as a way to feel creative yet organized since the process is very streamlined and systematic. When asked to tell us what she thought could be improved about the product, she mentioned that the stickers are sometimes too small to place with accuracy, and can take up to an hour to complete which felt too long. When Katherine is finished with a page, she sometimes puts them up on her wall as decoration or simply keeps them in a pile.

Emphasize:

After the interview, we started the ‘emphasize’ process and developed a POV.

 

 

 

USER: Katherine is an engineering student and at the same time she is artistic and loves theatre.

NEED: She needs a portable, waterproof and durable de-stressing tool inspired by paint by stickers.

INSIGHT: She needs to de-stress in a new specific environment (Belize) in an artistic, yet organized way.

POV: A creative engineering student who needs an all-weather de-stressing tool to destress in a new environment in an artistic and organized manner.  

Define:

As a group, we decided that Katherine needed a way to continue her favorite de-stressing activity while in Belize in an unfamiliar environment. From the technology review, we realized that the Paint by Stickers book she uses would not be ideal to travel with or use on a tropical island. We, therefore, concluded our product for Katherine would have two goals:

1) improve upon the Paint-By-Stickers product and

2) make it applicable and usable for Katherine to use in Belize this summer.  

Ideate / Brainstorming:

Once we defined our product we moved into the ideate phase of the process. This first round of brainstorming occurred with our user directly after our interview. We identified needs in her life and discussed ways in which we could fill those needs. We came up with three ideas and made the decision to focus on building a travel relaxation tool because since that was the idea Katherine was most excited about.

The next day we fleshed out our relaxation tool idea by brainstorming using Post-Its what features our prototype would include. We went over ideas we had previously discussed such as using larger stickers and making the book more travel size. Through this process, other ideas emerged as well such as the decision to create multiple booklets (one for stickers and one for templates), and also decided on a waterproof case that the booklets would be stored in.

Eventually, after the initial brainstorm and subsequent organization of the sticky notes, we were able to create a list of criteria for our prototype. After a group discussion about how exactly to achieve those goals, we jumped into prototyping.

Brainstorming session yielded many ideas that were further divided into what we loved (as dictated by the heart), what we weren’t sure about (question mark), and what would be a stretch to create.

 

 

 

Top ideas:

The paint by stickers book should be able to tear out the product easily and it can be used for postcards, so, she can send it to her family and friends while she is in Belize. Furthermore, this added another life to the finished page that would keep with Katherine’s sustainable mindset. The images/stickers should be faces and structures that she recognizes and it should relate to her interest –  theatre and engineering. The stickers should be bigger so it will be easier to use. The book can have multiple uses and it may even be able to hold her iPhone to play music. Since she will be in Belize, on the beach teaching children at a camp, the book should be kid/sand proof. She may also be able to pick out her own favorite images for the book. The stickers can be biodegradable and reusable.

Tech/structure:

The book should be waterproof for the beach. It should be portable and light. The book should be smaller than her current paint by stickers book. Katherine also enjoys puzzle so the book can include stickers as puzzle pieces.

Unutilized Ideas:

First, we thought the book should include teaching aids. It should be able to use for her research. The stickers could create a coral diagram for example, so it would be helpful when she teaches kids. But, then we decided to have all this would remind her of her work and wouldn’t be relaxing for her.

We thought of putting a timer so it doesn’t become a timesuck but Katherine later told us that it would be more stressful, and she didn’t want her phone to be able to combine to the book.

Evolution of the Prototype:

1st Prototype:

The first prototype was a low-definition version of the final product. As seen in the images, the pink piece of paper is meant to indicate a waterproof, durable cover to keep the Paint by Stickers dry and easily portable.

For the Paint by Stickers themselves, we decided to create two different types: one that is solved via puzzling (matching the stickers of different shapes to their correct positions) and ones that were traditional stickers matched with numbers to their corresponding place. The finished products can be punched out and used as a postcard from Belize.

For the Paint by Stickers themselves, we decided to create two different types: one that is solved via puzzling (matching the stickers of different shapes to their correct positions) and ones that were traditional stickers matched with numbers to their corresponding place. The finished products can be punched out and used as a postcard from Belize.

 

 

Prototype #1 of the cover

 

 

 

For the Paint by Stickers themselves, we decided to create two different types: one that is solved via puzzling (matching the stickers of different shapes to their correct positions) and ones that were traditional stickers matched with numbers to their corresponding place. The finished products can be punched out and used as a postcard from Belize.

A completed traditional paint by stickers

A ‘puzzle’ version of the paint by stickers (left) and the intended design when completed

Testing:

We showed the first prototype to Katherine and she gave us some valuable feedback:

  • She enjoyed the variety of having two different paint by stickers formats and the postcard duality
  • She did not feel that a timer or iPhone connection to the product was necessary
  • Added that having a hard case/cover could be useful to complete the paint by stickers on

Katherine trying out the 1st prototype

2nd Prototype:

The second prototype consisted of creating a physical case made out of plastic plank through the laser printer. We had to run the laser printer more than five times because we were using a thicker solid material in order to safeguard the book and also be water resistant. We also used magnet velcro for opening the box and elastic as hinges of the box.

The laser cut pieces of our box

The waterproof and portable case for Katherine’s paint by stickers book.

Two booklets were created for the stickers and for the templates (where the stickers would go onto). The laser cutter was used to print out puzzle shaped stickers, that were then colored on, and separated so Katherine could solve them.

 

The completed puzzle paint by stickers

The sticker page and the corresponding template for the traditional paint by stickers

The third paint by stickers was created in the traditional numbering fashion. However, this new design utilized the whole sheet of paper and created a design that Katherine would not recognize until it was fully finished, adding a fun element of surprise (it becomes a tree!)

The sticker page and the corresponding template for the traditional paint by stickers

Reflections:

The design thinking process was highly informative in providing a systematic method to provide a meaningful product to a single person. Each step was driven by Katherine and our knowledge of her. By zeroing in on Katherine’s love of paint by stickers and her traveling to Belize this summer, we were able to come up with an innovative idea of paint by sticker postcards that can have applications in so many other places. In addition, I highly valued the practice of rapid prototyping as a quick and dirty method of thinking through ideas – both the big and small picture, to create a successful design in a relatively short amount of time. Lastly, we worked well together as a team, as we all worked together on most aspects of the project and divided up evenly when need be.

Conclusion:

Overall, the end result is a versatile paint by stickers booklet that improved upon the original design, was tailored to Katherine’s likes and needs, and would hopefully provide some much-needed destressing time in Belize!