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As a member of this group’s UX team, I conducted research on UW sustainability and took ownership of the final research report, I ideated on possible designs and interactions, and I presented final designs and prototypes to stakeholders.


Project Description

In a team made up of UW Human Centered Design and Engineering undergraduate students, graduate students, and several faculty members, I participated in the directed research group (DRG), “Designing Interactivity in the Urban Landscape.” This DRG aimed to explore and implement prototype interactions for 12 large, street-facing, high-resolution screens on the new University of Washington West Campus Utility Plant (WCUP). As a team, we investigated possible gestural, sensor-driven interactions and incorporating feeding live data to the responsive displays. The group was broken into two teams – technical and user experience.


Research

During week one, my team and I assessed the site in person and met with one of our stakeholders to get a better understanding of our research focus and goals. This meeting and on-site evaluation left me with a number of challenges to consider.

Initial Challenges

Initial Challenges

Research Report

I took ownership of the final research report in addition to the sustainability analysis report. The research report consisted of a sustainability analysis, stakeholder interviews and supplemental research, on-the-street interviews, a climate action plan survey, and a “fly-on-the-street” field study. The overarching research goal was to define what is meaningful to people passing by and deliberately connect this to the UW Sustainability program, WCUP, and surrounding neighborhood. 

View the final research report.

For the the sustainability analysis report, I conducted a thorough online review of University of Washington sustainability, with the goal of getting a clearer understanding of what the UW does for sustainability. My research question was: What are the University of Washington sustainability targets, goals, policies, projects, awards, and other forms of involvement?

Sustinability Insights


Ideation

Throughout the quarter, I was constantly generating new ideas and concepts for display on the screens. I first designed with no limitations or constraints, to ensure my creativity was not hindered by logistical challenges. Concepts were later on narrowed down as a team, through a series of fast-paced design sprints.

Some of my idea and concept sketches are shown below.

After reviewing all of the team’s sketches, one idea was selected to prototype. The selected concept consisted of a colorful display of pipes that users could interact with by initiating the flow of water. This idea was chosen for it’s simplicity, delight, and connection to building itself.


Takeaways

1) Have a clear goal for meetings. Make sure everyone knows the meeting goals.

2) Do design sprints! One of the few times “quantity over quality” actually works. Coming up with a bunch of designs quickly can force you to come up with a ton of different ideas, rather than get stuck on fleshing out one early on in the process.