Applying Theory to Developing Design Research Methods

As part of my thesis, I have been exploring public, civic space, specifically that of the public library, one of the most successful and enduring public places. As I was looking for existing theories, frameworks, and heuristics related to public space and successful places, one that I kept coming back to was The Place Diagram from the Project for Public Spaces.

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From the Project for Public Spaces: https://www.pps.org/reference/grplacefeat/

In describing the development of this diagram, they say:

In evaluating thousands of public spaces around the world, PPS has found that to be successful, they generally share the following four qualities: they are accessible; people are engaged in activities there; the space is comfortable and has a good image; and finally, it is a sociable place: one where people meet each other and take people when they come to visit. …


Thesis Proposal, 2017–18 Academic Year

Note: This is a working document and a best-guess at how I might spend the next two semesters. Much of it is subject to change or be modified as the following months unfold. The timeline, especially, will be altered and this document may never perfectly accurately reflect the work I do.

Introduction

The Internet and social media have birthed a global society that has the greatest access to information as well as to each other than any time before now. We are able to verify the accuracy of the media we consume with the tap of a few keys and update our friends and family on what we’ve been doing with the click of a button. But how connected and informed are we really? …


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Remote digital collaging

One of the things that has been really important to me throughout this project has been connecting the threads of our research throughout phases: pulling identified opportunities from exploratory research into generative, bringing design implications into the evaluative phase, etc.

After conducting a workshop with older adults at Vintage, we thought the collaging (and thinking about the future, really) might work out better with Boomers, but since we were running out of time, I translated our existing collaging materials into something digital and attempted to frame it in a way that might work well for that format. …


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WeCoupling Workshop at TEI

As a part of my attendance at TEI in Yokohama, Japan, I participated in a workshop called WeCoupling. The people who ran the workshop defined WeCoupling as “an umbrella term for bringing together a diversity of experimentation concerned with shared first person experiences, whether transferring/controlling sensations and/or actions between two or more people.” I chose this workshop because I believed it would prove inspiring to the topic of our studio project, and it definitely was.

We think a lot about mixed reality as being a way to transport people across space and through time, but what about transporting people into the body and the perspective of another person? What if you could fully immerse yourself in that other person’s perspective? Not just visually but through all of the senses? …


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Ezio Manzini giving a lecture at CMU

This week, Ezio Manzini came to speak at CMU on… well, on what is seen in the slide in the picture above. In this lecture, Manzini described democracy as a horizon. It’s something always just out of reach, something we can always get closer to and perfect. But where does design fit into all of that?

After this fall’s election, I had a lot rolling around in my mind, especially about my thesis project. Should I rethink what I want to do for thesis? Is there something urgent I need to be addressing? For myself and for my community? This lecture was a great catalyst for that, to better position myself… how design fits into this political space. …


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This workshop was the culmination of a lot of efforts over this semester. We had narrowed on our Recall and Relate parallel and chose to take people through their memories related to places they know well. We had eleven participants, six of whom we didn’t know or have connections to prior to the workshop. Since there were more participants than we expected we were a little more spread out than we thought we’d be which was a challenge. …


Our team speed-dated sixteen different concepts. These concepts were devised to explore and evaluate multiple frames for dealing with cognitive decline (everything from compensating for it to preventing it to preserving sense of self as it happens and more). We had initially developed these concepts by individually working on a few ideas through quick sketches based on a single frame for cognitive decline and then passing these ideas around the table and each spending time refining each other’s initial concepts.

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A Proposal Submitted to Bloomberg Philanthropies

By the Inkwell Team: Hope Dohner, David Ott, Julia Petrich, Rebecca Radparvar, Aishwarya Shivkumar & Hemalathaa Poovayarkarasi Subramanian

This project is Group 4’s final report for Modern Prototyping Techniques, S17.

I. Purpose

Our team has developed this report and its supporting assets and appendices for Bloomberg Philanthropies. This proposal outlines our product details and the potential impact our product will have on education — both for teachers and students — in order to provide Bloomberg Philanthropies with the necessary details to make an informed decision as you review our application for funding and support.

Our product, Inkwell, aims to provide low-bandwidth educational content to educators in rural areas in the United States who do not have access to high-bandwidth internet and related content, while also providing incentive for teachers with all levels of internet access to participate. Inkwell is a web-based platform integrated with a Github-based content management system which enables educators to create, modify ,and share lesson plans and other educational materials. Inkwell aims to decrease the digital divide and democratize internet access for educators and students, especially in rural areas of the U.S. We hope that these teachers and students who benefit from the platform can, in turn, bring greater digital literacy and demand for the Internet to their local and extended communities. …


Group 4: Hope Dohner, Aishwarya Shivkumar, Julia Petrich, Rebecca Radparvar, Hemalathaa Poovayarkarasi Subramanian, David Ott

Prototyping and Design of Experiments

Personas

Before designing our prototypes, our team developed personas that reflected the characteristics of educators from different backgrounds. These personas were a synthesis of learnings from interviews with educators, administrators, and technical staff members in conjunction with survey responses. Firsthand interviews provided our team with an understanding of the primary user of our design (educators in rural areas with low-bandwidth internet), and a number of further assumptions were validated through learnings from survey responses. Our survey responses were also used to create personas for secondary users — educators with medium to high bandwidth internet.

Our team used these personas to better understand our users, their needs, and the value they might derive from our solution. These personas acted as a guiding light through our design and decision-making process. …


Group 4: Hope Dohner, Aishwarya Shivkumar, Julia Petrich, Rebecca Radparvar, Hemalathaa Poovayarkarasi Subramanian, David Ott

Introduction

Even in the United States, there is a staggering lack of high speed connectivity in rural parts of the country. It is expensive for internet providers to establish the infrastructure for high speed bandwidth in remote areas and individuals in those areas have low demand because of low digital literacy and because they aren’t convinced of the value the Internet could bring to their lives. Increasing the digital literacy of students aims at bringing the knowledge and demand into rural and low income households. …

About

Julia N. Petrich

Writer. Reader. Designer. Sly portraitist. Wise fairy. Believer in kairos. People over pixels.

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