Sprint 1 Process Blog

10/09/2015

In the first Sprint, we built upon the concepts we learnt in the prior lecture about interactive design. The lecture introduced me to importance of prototyping an idea interaction design in developing an idea and bringing it to life. We delved deeper into these concepts in the sprint, and brainstormed the various ways ordinary citizens all over the world can contribute to the world of science and research using only their smartphones. As our topic was Noise levels in educational or public environments, the first thought we brainstormed in a group was the various locations where the study of noise levels and noise pollution may be relevant. I chose to make my prototype for the app on the noise levels on stadiums after coming up with a list of various educational and public environments.

Brainstorming the various locations that can be used to study noise levels in the group.

I chose stadiums because I keep hearing how the Seahawks stadium here is one of the loudest in the country, and the data collected there might be valuable to scientists to perform their required research. After this, I planned the features of this app like the data that needs to be collected, geo-tagged photo and additional notes and a quick survey. I had a point system which calculates your personal score after each data uploaded and this check which user has been to the noisiest stadiums.

Me drawing the screens for my prototype after deciding and finalizing on the features.

One additional feature I added in my prototype was the inclusion of the time it takes the user to get out of the premises of the stadium after the match has ended. This gives the overview of the traffic and rush and may help reduce related problems. I recorded the working of the prototype of the app.

I was really excited about this sprint as I am interested in app development and this sprint really taught me a really an important methods and steps that should be taken to make developing an app easier and less stressful as this clears a lot of doubts and lays down a clear plan and objectives that help a lot in the final step of development. I expected this to be easy and not as important as the coding itself, but I realized that this is more important and provides better results. Even though we drew the screens on paper, it took a considerable time to design almost 15 screens with proper means for users to navigate between the functions of the app. Another observation I made was that sharing the plans and drafts with my group and other people helped me get a lot of feedback through which I could improve my final product. One of the major problems I encountered was the use of the POP app. This app had a few bugs and I couldn’t upload my original sketches as it compressed it to the wrong size and wrong direction. I had to draw the sketches again, however, doing this helped me address some of the problems with the original sketches and add a few more important screens. The main question it raised was the importance of this process as it was time consuming, and didn’t directly help in producing the final required application that could be uploaded in the app store. However, I realized that this process actually helps in figuring out and planning out what I really want to do and in the long term may save time and effort.

What I liked about this project was the fact that I learnt to create something that can help out a large number of people helping in research and planning, the results of which may benefit them later. Moreover, this incorporated some general tips about app making such as navigation and info page is essential to each and every app. I liked working in a group because it made a lot of tasks easier, tasks such as brainstorming, designing and shooting the video would be really hard to do alone. One fact I really liked about the project was that the topic was relevant to everyday life because we see a lot of abuse of noise pollution and this makes it easier to plan and make something as it is relatable for the app developer and the users who will provide the necessary data.

The work I did (i.e., interaction design, building prototypes) actually helps in providing a proper framework for further development and provides an important glimpse into what the final application will look like. I feel this is beneficial for all the stakeholders. The developers know how to plan the further steps into making a prototype into reality, and moreover letting the users play around with the prototype helps them understand the product and give valuable feedback as these are going to be the eventual end users. This process can be valuable not only in the digital world, but in various aspects of everyday life and is implemented in various other industries. One such example is the construction of buildings. Architects have plans and minuscule models of the building to show the various people in charge and communicate better. the models and plans are utterly important and save lot of effort as making changes after construction is wasteful. Similarly, good planning and effective models of the final product help in simplifying the task and providing a proper framework for development, reducing the effective changes that need to be later as they might be expensive and wasteful.