First Post, First Steps
Thank you for showing interest in our project! Any questions, comments, concerns, or advice you can give us are always welcome and appreciated. The purpose of this blog is to keep you updated on the progress of our project. Starting from ground zero, you’ll be able to see what kinds of steps we are taking to create a truly impactful product for this wonderful community of families, educators, caregivers, and individuals with developmental disabilities.
As designers, we follow a general framework for creating products and services taught to us in our product design major, known as design thinking.*
Step 1: Determine a user group and conduct extensive interviews with your user of choice. Determine what your user needs, even when he/she may not even know, and learn to empathize with this group. We are encouraged, if possible, to attempt to live the experience of your user and literally put yourself in their shoes to better understand how they function.
Step 2: Explicitly define the need(s) you have identified within this group.
Step 3: Next you embark on the ideation phase, during which you devise various solutions and potential directions for your project. These concepts should develop into tangible ideas that can be tested, which leads us to...
Step 4: Prototype multiple specific solutions you have explored. Building a single prototype at this stage should be as brief and efficient as possible -- you should not spend endless time perfecting a prototype, but instead find cheap and quick ways to effectively play out your idea. If you are happy with the rough prototype, then you may move forward with a more refined version of this particular solution.
Step 5: Last, but certainly not least, you test these products with your user group and get feedback. The feedback you receive will determine how far back in the process you need to return to in order to refine your solution. If your product is completely unhelpful and lacks appeal, you may need to return to the empathy stage. If your product is difficult to use but your user group agrees with the sentiments behind it, you might just want to go re-explore the ideation phase.
Our posts will narrate our design process and the path we have already taken and continue to forge as we determine the design of our final product. We may go through this five step process many times, so be on the lookout for which step we’re on! We might go from testing back to prototyping or somewhere in between. If it appears we’re jumping around, this is just a part of the process.
So let's begin . . .
*Learn more about design thinking here.