Weave Weekly Report
Week 41 | 9 Oct — 13 Oct
As we wrapped up our second sprint of the semester, we reflected on the success of this past campaign and identified lessons learned, following the process outlined here. We then embarked with renewed inspiration on our next mission: Refining the hypotheses we wished to test, consolidating our storyboards into prototypes, and preparing to conduct our first round of testing over the weekend. We examined the output of last week’s ideation session and strategized to pursue two design directions in succession with a series of iterative prototypes: one guest-facing and one staff-facing. This week, we are exploring a concept that supports serving travelers with experiences that 1) they can trust as authentically local and 2) are suited to their context and interests.
The team had just returned from a long weekend, some of which was spent traveling ourselves, so we took a moment to gather our thoughts and touch base with each other. We discussed how we’ve been thinking a lot about how to facilitate connection, but perhaps have neglected to explore the flip side: Using the hotel as a point of refuge from interaction. Is the ideal hotel experience something that offers isolated ease without reaching out? In our research, we found that travelers would fondly mention their solitary experiences, like soaking in bathtubs and taking in views. Our impulse was that crafting these moments relies largely on structural/architectural factors, and is therefore outside our scope for this project — but perhaps we need to revisit this. One of our teammates shared an anecdote: She wanted to have coffee before breakfast hours, but found she disrupted the staff’s system by making this request. What followed was lots of interaction, but “not in a good way.” As we design for guests, we also want to look out for how we might enhance these quieter, even introspective moments.
After our discussion, we approached generating a prototype with the following strategy:
- Identify what kinds of questions we might want a recommendation prototype to answer
- Go through and list the unique strengths each storyboard brings; call out important differences
- Look over these unique strengths. For each one decide: Is this important to pursue in a prototype? Will it advance us towards answers to our questions?
- For each prototype candidate, aggregate the unique strengths that made the cut into a consolidated “Frankenstein’s monster”
- Do these monsters each make sense holistically? If not, interrogate what is incongruent with the flow. What questions can be answered in later prototypes instead? What features conflict with each other? Will these monsters address the questions we want them to answer?
- Once we have an idea of what the experience will be like, discuss build. What do we need? How much will it cost? How long do we allocate for construction? What arrangements/permissions need to be granted in the hotel? Who will be the users?
After mocking up a rough idea of our prototype experience, we came up with a research protocol. For this round of rapid testing, considering our time constraints, we determined to recruit a sample of convenience from our extended networks: Subjects who are traveling or travel frequently. We designed a test that falls somewhere between a thinkaloud and an interview: First we will present a scenario, introduce the prototype, ask the research subject to guide us through his or her use of the prototype, and finally follow up with probing questions for qualitative responses.
Upon review of our rough paper prototype, we revised and wireframed it in Figma. The artifact remains very lo-fi and captures the character of a paper prototype, but we wanted it to be digitized so we could conduct remote interviews.
In parallel to our work on this first round of prototyping, we also began putting into motion the steps needed to support next week’s prototype testing. We anticipate this concept will bring with it more overhead coordinating with staff and integrating into their existing operations structure, so we have made arrangements to stay at the hotel to facilitate access to employees.
Upon completion of this first round of prototype testing, we will share our findings and take part in a lightning round affinity diagramming session. We will then review our insights and assess our concept, determining whether we want to pursue iteration on this concept and how we may refine it. We will also begin a second round of rapid prototype generation for a design to support hotel staff, and will begin processing the logistical requests needed to deploy our second test.