I was really excited for this course because I wanted to make something tangible. I am in an organization on campus called Design for America, so I was familiar with the design process and interested in how we would apply it in class. I ended up learning a lot through this class and I’m thankful for the opportunity to take it.
How do you use what you have to make something better?-Ron
Ron said this above quote when we visited the DRES facility. I really like it because it speaks to the opportunity out there without having to invent something new.
These weeks really served as times where we explored, conducted interviews, talked through different ideas, and spent time learning in the fab lab. Week 3 was when we had the cold day, so we stayed in and video chatted Milestone Labs along with our mentors. We saw an opportunity after speaking to Ryan, who said he wasn’t able to really do video interviews because of the heavy equipment and setting it up. This led to our first how can we statement:
“How can we can improve the ability to multitask for people with limited mobility in their arms or are in wheelchairs. ”
Week 4 is when we established our team name as well as did user interviews. These interviews helped us discover more opportunity areas, including the area of grabbing things.
Week 5 is when we curated a bunch of our ideas and sorted through them. We came up with multiple categories ranging from school/work life to personal life. After discussing our insights with one of my team members Huan, I discovered an area of interest which I was curious to explore more which was independence. We originally were looking to explore multitasking this activity helped me consider the element of just being able to do things by yourself.
Week 6 is when we came up with a few more how might we statements.
How Might We create a way for wheelchair users to see what is behind them?
How might we create a way for wheelchair users to grab heavy or hard to grab items easier and independently?
How Might Design an affordable assistive tool?
This week Mehmet lead us through an exercise where we looked at our How might we statements from the perspectives of different users. This includes designing for an older person versus a child. It was interesting how the user we were designing for inspired us to think more out of the box. This was a great exercise for us because we actually created something and for the first time thought that we were on to something. I think it was important for us to have this discovery because even though this was far from the design we ended up pursuing, it got us excited at the time.
These weeks are when we met with Dr McDonagh as well as story boarded in class. We were still working on the idea of a glove at this point to help with limited mobility. These conversations and ideating helped us visualize more what our potential project could look like. We also video chatted Milestone labs and got some more insight on our project. We were going forward with the glove but there was still a lot of questions on what exactly we would design,
This is when everything changed for my team. We went from several ideas this semester to deciding to dedicate to this weekend to creating a watch strap. This came from meeting John McSween at the meeting before the Make-A-Thon. He can’t wear many watches because of his limited ability to pinch. He also tried using a magnetic strap before, but it came in the way of his wheelchair. We spent the weekend prototyping and working hard to come up with a design for him.
The Make-A-Thon taught me a lot. We had to be patient and stay optimistic even when we weren’t sure if we could make something good. We ended up being one of the winning teams which was incredible. The money we won allowed us to buy a watch for John, and redesign the strap for his watch.
We ordered material, hit the fab lab, and made a usable watch band.
- Human centered design is super challenging but super rewarding. I’m so glad we got to make something that John can actually use and wear.
- IT is important to be understanding when working with others. My team members all had different things going on at different times but we really depended on each other to do what we can when we could.
THANK YOU NOTES
Thank you John for helping us create this! Your feedback and positive attitude during this process really motivated us.
Thank you Huan for your passion. You brought so much interest and curiosity into this project and I’m grateful I got to know you better through the process.
Thank you Eric for your persistence. You thought about using the hook after we told you to think of something other than velcro, and then worked really hard to make the final watch band.
Thank you Charlotte for all your optimism and help in the class. You were such an awesome TA!
Thank you Mehmet for all your guidance and advice. It was great to learn from you and I really appreciate all the time you dedicated to this class.
Thank you Professor Sachdev for creating a course like this that really challenged us to work hard and do good.
Thank you to all my classmates for inspiring me with your designs and making the world a better place 🙂 It has been a great learning experience being surrounded by such talented people.