What did you learn?
This was the only project in this mini that I worked in a team with, and I loved it. For a while, I’d been confused as to why not all the projects were team-based; an environment usually never holds just a single person, and a single person could never think of all the nuances an environment might provide. Because we made a real prototype for IDA, I learned a lot of technical skills, such as the laser cutter and bandsaw. I also played a lot with making the live comments system work, so I looked into ways of doing that through Python, Flask, and Google APIs (I didn’t end up using these things). This was also the only project where we did significant user research, so it was interesting to learn how to ask questions and build a system for other people.
Our team wanted to go super outside the box with this project. We wanted to build something that was imaginative but also solved the problem.
Initially, we were thinking just within the scope of the studio — how could improve the physical space? However, as our group brainstormed this idea, we felt too constrained, and questions came up as to why we weren’t just solving an interior design problem.
After talking to the professors, we were able to scope our project out more, and we decided on something that could bridge students both inside and outside of IDeATe. We looked into artists who had used projections, and decided on a dynamic cross-campus system that would not only raise awareness of the IDeATe program, but also provide a unified image — IDA.
Overall, we had so much fun with this project. Building IDA was a huge learning experience, as we had to laser cut wood but also use the bandsaw when we realized that we had forgot to cut out some of the pieces. We wanted her design to represent the “maker” image of IDeATe students, but still be very approachable and human, which is why we gave her legs.
It was gratifying to be able to make something physical, and not just a digitally based platform. By using existing technology, such as Web Pipe and Facebook Live, we were even able to provide a live demo, something that I had not really been able to do before this project, which also felt really great.
What were you challenged by?
Something that I’ve been thinking a lot about this semester is what Environments really is. Sometimes, it feels like its interaction design, sometimes it feels like interior design, or even product design, but we are consistently told that the track is none of these things. I tried to not focus on definitions during the project as much, but one of the things I’ve realized that an environment is all of these things. I had the most fun with this project because I genuinely just tried to have fun and let loose, and I think it’s my best project out of the three in the mini.
What did you do well?
Working in a group is great because I got to have two other minds and two extra perspectives. Although we had different ideas initially, we worked well together and came up with a good idea that we all saw through from start to finish.
What would you do differently?
In the end, I think we would have wanted to make IDA more colorful. That was one of the things we had planned on doing, but didn’t have time. In addition, we would have also wanted to get the live projections actually working, as well as the live comments system up, so that they could have been tested by other people.