Experience + Structure
This project asks how designers can help to make sense of a large body of information. Begin with a large dataset – a group of texts, or an image collection, or a mass of quantitiatve data, or a set of artifacts, perhaps – and imagine an interactive experience that presents that material in a usable, emotionally-resonant way. Refine your idea using user-centered design methods, and explain the idea by creating documentation and prototypes. The proposed piece can live in a space, in a user’s hand, or on the screen.
Consider the organization of your design, and how people will navigate your information space. You also have control over time – the order of different events, their duration, and the intervals between them.
You may define audiences and goals yourself. (One simple answer would be to make an educational piece or an exhibit.) As usual, please design for today’s world, with our current mix of users and requirements, and use real-world technology.
User-centered design, interaction design, work with complex content, design for multisensory interfaces, documentation
A package that presents and explains your idea. You will need to include a PDF with documentation that explains your concept, the form that the proposed piece would take, the audiences that you intend to reach, and the ways in which people would interact with the final piece. Documentation may include text, charts, diagrams, 3d sketches, plans, and example screens, as necessary.
You’re looking to explain your ideas For this project, you will create documentation in the form of a proposal, not a finished work. If you’re working on a website, you might want to show screen mockups, site maps, and diagrams describing user flow. If you’re working on something that would take 3D form, you could want to describe the process with flowcharts, storyboards, and sketches of the space.
The methods you use are up to you, though. We’ll talk about how you can best communicate your ideas.
Emphasize clarity and depth over rendering quality and polish. It is probably better to show every step using good hand-drawn sketches than to provide one exquisitely rendered model that doesn’t explain the user’s process. On the other hand, it would be best to avoid turning in sloppy, unlabeled sketches. Documentation needs to communicate.
Making prototypes is an option. Prototypes might take the form of paper screens, rough models, working HTML/CSS screens, functioning scripts, and perhaps even full-scale tests using projectors
- 11 April: settle on an idea
- 18 April: bring in sketches, thinking about concepts
- 25 April:
- 2 May: Semifinal documentation
- 9 May: Final critique!
Any number of data sources can serve well for this project – statistical information, texts, or images. Data should be relatively unpolished, so that you can reorganize the information in a form that best suits your project. Both the data source and approach are subject to instructor approval. Good sources include:
Library of Congress: American Memory (host of many separate collections) http://memory.loc.gov
National Archives: 1940 Census http://1940census.archives.gov
California Coastal Records Project http://www.californiacoastline.org
DC Public Library Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcplcommons
National Weather Service http://weather.gov
American Community Survey (via New York Times) http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer?hp
Northwestern: Transportation Menus Collection http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/transportation-menus