Design Tool Follow Up

Finally dedicating a post (a quick one, but one none the less) to the development of the design tool from last semester. When beginning development of the tool, I first considered what a tool could be. After speaking with other designers and continuing my research I determined it should be a physical object. 

Once this was determined, I began to consider the point of interaction. Would it be when a designer is synthesizing? Would it be a means of presenting to clients? Would it be a personal item to support other design activities? For this I turned to my own experiences. Working with a hesitant and inquisitive client at the time, and then learning of a new paper published The Bias Against Creativity I decided to try and address the mis-understandings that often surround what experience, service, interaction and system design have to offer. The moment in time that seemed best suited for addressing these issues would be during the first designer/client meeting. 
Then I became curious about how this could happen? How does one provide clarity about the offering when it is so custom to the situation? After running through various conversation scenarios, I thought, what I applied the design process to the conversation? This design constraint helped me quickly narrow down what the tool should be.

Below I am considering the different conversational scenarios

I then narrowed the conversation to follow the design process

I decided to make a small paper, conceivably a pocket notepad, because you never know who may be interested in one’s services.

It would be a conversation piece guiding the conversation, while simultaneously documenting it and building a take-away for the potential client. It alludes to the bill of sales you might receive at a bike or auto shop, though distinctly design specific. The idea is to engage the client about a real problem they are currently having and quickly develop short scenario, informed by the discussion, about how this could be remedied. This would enable the designer to highlight the value of research, which is something that can often be a hard sell.  It includes the client in the synthesis so that they may get a glimpse of the kind of abductive reasoning that often makes that step so ambiguos. Finally creating a storyboard lets the designer highlight the power of a visual narrative. They are key points that can be hard to explain with words alone. Once the conversation is complete the potential client then has a document, tailored to their personal issues, providing instant value, that they can take home and share, discuss and consider.

The process as I’ve defined it, is research, synthesis, prototype and iterate.

 Within each category are small suggestions to not only seed the designers thought process, but provide a reference for the potential client as the conversational journey begins. On the back of the page there are more in-depth explanations of what the steps would entail if the designer were to be hired on.  

Each step is color coded to be distinct. The prototype step has slight grid markings to provide bounding boxes for the storyboard. The iterate step is not in a box, because it is a different kind of step.

During iteration evaluation of the responses the prototype, in light of previous research occurs to reconsider how the problem could be better addressed. At this point, there is most likely no way to get responses to the short scenario prototype, so it would be pure speculation. However, this provides the designer a good place to bring up the value of rapid prototyping and testing with real users.

The critique I have most often received is that the shape should change, potentially to a small fold out pamphlet or a book. I plan to revisit the form of this and begin testing it this summer sometime. I have also provided hard copies to the Action Mill and will receive feedback in the coming months.