Case Study Design Studio

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“Shout” is a high school design studio that challenges students to use their voice in the creative process and develop projects that make their community better. Currently, “Shout” is organized as a four-day, three-hours-per-day after-school or summer design studio. Each studio concludes with an exhibition, where students invite parents, friends and teachers to see their process work and completed projects. During the studio, students work in teams of four, with one or two professional design mentors per team. The teams are assigned projects that are intended to walk them through the creative process as a problem-solving method, and to help students develop smart communication solutions.

All projects are crafted so that each student may draw on their personal experience and voice to solve a communication problem, which helps demonstrate how design can be used to convey information about personal and social issues relevant to the students themselves. Topics are provided, to establish a framework. Here are details about five different projects that we’ve conducted to date:

Poster: Improve your community
Question: How would you like to improve your community? (e.g., clean up parks, start a community watch, help save school art programs)
Outcome: Each student received 25 posters to hang in their communities.

Kiosk: Favorite places in Detroit
Question: What are the best people, places and things in Detroit? (e.g., favorite movie theater, riverfront parks)
Outcome: Create a one-of-a-kind dimensional public marker for a favorite place in the city.

30-second PSA video
Question: What community issue or topic would you like to challenge an audience to take action on? (e.g., school bullying, safe sex)
Outcome: Working as a team, create a 30-second PSA video

Poster: Adult illiteracy in Detroit
Question: How do you inform adults that it’s never too late to learn to read? (e.g., speak to mothers of young kids—don’t let your children down; speak to high school students—keep them reading)
Outcome: Create a large poster about the topic, to be hung in a library or school.

Illuminated letterforms: “ACTIVATE OPEN SPACES”
Question: What activities could be held in Detroit’s 37 square miles of open land in order to help transform and increase the value of these spaces? (e.g., zip line park, traveling outdoor movie theater)
Outcome: Create an illuminated letter representative of an activity that would bring value to these open spaces. When combined, the students’ letters spell out “ACTIVATE OPEN SPACES.”

Challenges

The team faced three key challenges in executing the project. The first was balancing the length and timing of the program to meet both the students’ and volunteers’ schedules. When “Shout” is implemented as an after-school program, it’s very convenient for students, but it’s difficult for the mentors to get off of work at that time. So far, we have focused on making the program convenient for the students.

The second challenge was giving the project a longer life—one that goes beyond the classroom. We are working on collaborations with other groups so that we can display completed projects throughout the community. For example, adult illiteracy posters have been displayed at the Detroit Public Library, and process work for the open spaces project was on view in the Detroit Works lobby. 

The third key challenge is teaching design in a very limited amount of time. In the space of four days, we do not want technology to get in the way of the creative process, so projects are created using illustration or collage. We show a lot of design samples from both local designers and top designers from around the world, and we discuss how they are successful forms of communication. We also start each day with a discussion about key design terms like hierarchy, foreground, background and read path, providing examples of work that illustrate these terms. Finally, there are many design samples hanging around the studio, and we encourage the instructors to discuss them with the groups or individuals they are mentoring.

Strategy

“Shout” was the first program developed under the Community Impact branch of AIGA Detroit’s board. The goal was to help support Detroit high school art programs by giving students additional opportunities to discover how creativity can be used to communicate, and to help the students develop their art and design skills.

Any Detroit-area high school student who has something to say can participate. As stated in our program description, “If you like drawing, design, art, photography, singing, writing, theater or research, you’re going to enjoy the challenge of working on design studio projects.”

With inspiration and counsel from Vernon Lockhart of Project Osmosis and leaders from local youth art programs, we outlined program goals for fulfilling the Community Impact mission: “to implement tangible examples of how design can be used to positively impact a community through building awareness, calling people to action and service to the community.”

The key educational goals of the project include helping students to:

  • Build an understanding of how the creative process is used as a problem-solving method.
  • Become confident in expressing thoughts and opinions in a smart and thoughtful way.
  • Use graphic design as a creative form of self-expression.
  • Become aware of how design has been used in communities to build awareness and promote issues.
  • Learn to collaborate with each other and work in teams.
  • Learn basic graphic design principles such as type, image, hierarchy and composition, etc.
  • Become more aware of graphic design and its potential as a legitimate career path.

Effectiveness

Feedback gathered via student surveys and parent/teacher input informs us that students are excited about “Shout”—it has become a great extension of their high school art programs. “Shout” is unique because most high school graphic design programs focus more on the formal aspects of the discipline, as well as software and technology, and less on design as a problem-solving method.

The program has a 98 percent retention rate, with numerous repeat students who continue to be challenged by the projects and process.

Pro bono & funding

The program costs have been paid for as part of AIGA Detroit’s annual community impact budget. AIGA Detroit held a pinewood derby fundraiser for “Shout,” and The College for Creative Studies donates classroom space when school is not in session.

Additional information

While planning “Shout,” several of our consultants thought that focusing on the creative process was a good idea, but they also felt that the program should be pitched in a way that would excite high school students. So, while the educational goal was to teach the creative process, the “attract” was to show students how their personal voice could be integral to a message and how design can help amplify their voice.

User Experience Design Case Study: Designing a Chatbot for a Design Studio — Part 1

Quick Summary: The project is a part of the design studio founded by me in February 2017 called Parachute Design Studio. The studio didn’t get much success but, some of the clients we had and who were engaged in conversation with us on the emails. Based on that conversations, we identified some patterns of it and thought of creating a chatbot as a part of UX exercises that can help in solving those problems.

Why a Chatbot?
As we all know, conversational UI has started taking the place of most of the websites for last 2 years. Businesses have started integrating the chatbots into their business accounts as well as some of those have gone forward to integrate them on their websites too.
 Chatbots are one of the most accessible ways to get connected without wasting your time on roaming over the pages of a complicated website. Some of them have even gone more ahead of this traditional thing and have started using bots as their minor level of customer service.

Why this project?
To start my career as a User Experience Practitioner, I thought this would be the best way to get my hands dirty on some of the latest technologies which are already in the market and has enhanced capabilities for future. Also, working on a chatbot would cover some aspects of Branding, Personality Development and definitely the Customer Experience and also, a long-term goal of designing this project is to create an assistant which can help people who are going through depression by talking to them like a human and can help them to get through the phase! Anyway, that is altogether a different story! So, basically to get some deep knowledge about Branding, Story Telling and Customer Experience in Communication, I decided to start with this project and jumped into it.

Project Objective
The aim of this project is to develop a personality of a chatbot which can help the studio to fulfil its business goals by providing them with some byte-size important content without making the users go through the entire website

Tasks:
1. Creating a Brand Identity.
 2. Designing a Personality of the Chatbot which follows the Brand Identity and the Values as well as the Tone of Voice.
 3. Designing the conversations which can possibly happen between the bot and the visitors.
 4. Implementing the bot on Facebook Platform and iterate the conversation dialogues by Testing the conversational UI of the chatbot.

The Start

The Brand Identity
To start with the project, I decided to create a Brand Identity first. My vision of creating the studio was based on three values which are Innovation, Intelligence and Reliability. I wanted to define a brand who creates some innovative and intelligent products and the brand itself should have the ethics on which customers can rely on and can trust on that. 
 So, I started with defining the core values as mentioned above and the motive of this brand! I would define the motivation behind creating this brand in this way:

Crafting a better user experience for technology start-ups and innovative products

Yes, I must admit that the start-ups are our primary audience. We have understood that most of the start-ups are built on some great ideas but, hardly few of them survive. There can be many reasons behind that but, the poor user experience is one of those. And, that is our motive.

The Vocab
We decided few rules to establish a proper conversation with our future clients which are respectful as well as friendly. We also believe that to acquire more clients or to get further assignment from the same client, our communication with them must be friendly by accepting, understanding and appreciating their ideas.Also, it uses some curse word but, not for the potential clients.

Parachute Design Studio may talk to people just the way we are talking to our friends in a polite manner which means there is no making fun of anyone neither disrespecting them.

The Tone of Voice

Parachute Design Studio always uses “We” and “Our” while talking to their potential clients. It uses “You” or “Your” when it is extremely necessary.

So, this was all about defining the goals of the brand and its values as well as how they will behave with their customers. And, then begins the crucial part. Yes, the Chatbot!! It was a pretty difficult task to achieve because we needed to define the personality of the bot which talks in a similar way as the Brand.

The Chatbot
We as a Team, intended to give a personality to our chatbot. We didn’t want to write some random conversations which the users follow. We desired to have our Intelligent Spokes-Person that can guide through each stages of the conversation in a consistent manner.

Personality Analysis
To define the personality, we took the Myres-Briggs Approach which helped us a lot to identify that how a particular personality will react to certain situations as well as what are their strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes etc.

Myres-Briggs approach is based on 5 different personality aspects:
 Mind, Energy, Nature, Tactics and Identity

Each of these has another two sub-traits! Like Mind is represented with either Introvert or Extrovert, Energy is can be either Observant or Intuitive whereas Nature has Thinking or Feeling traits and Tactics have Judging or Prospecting and after all these, Identity can be either Assertive or Turbulent.

We picked up one from each aspect and formed our personality like, The aspect of Mind for our Bot should be Extrovert, Energy should be Intuitive, Nature should be Feeling and Tactics should be Prospecting or Judging and last but not the least, Identity should be Turbulent!

And, these exercise created the possible combinations of the personalities which were ENFP-T and ENFJ-T.

The Roles
As per the Myres-Briggs framework, we identified that personalities who has _NF_-_ structure are known as the diplomats which can be combined with the strategy to identify their characteristics.

Strategies
Furthermore, these personalities use Strategies which defines the preferred ways of doing things and achieving the goals. For the shortlisted personalities here Social Engagement was the best suitable option.

So at the end, we were left with two main personalities which are the Diplomats and uses Social Engagement Strategy. These personalities are widely defined as The Protagonist (ENFJ-T) and The Campaigners (ENFP-T) respectively.

The Personality of our chatbot
After doing all these analysis and finalising the personalities as mentioned above, we looked for their strengths and weaknesses and we decided to go with ENFP-T (The campaigner!) A personality that is an extrovert and intuitive, that has feelings and is prospecting as well as has a turbulent identity that pursues some strengths and weaknesses.

Later, we looked for some of the famous celebrities who have this kind of personality and we found that Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood superstar carries the same personality and later we started identifying what are the qualities such personality pursues. After doing some secondary research, we found out that they are warm, enthusiastic, full of potential and bright, living in the world of possibilities and can be extremely passionate and excited for the things and these were all we wanted to have in our personality.

To prepare a solid personality of our chatbot, we had an online survey where people underwent the Myres-Briggs personality test and identify the type of personalities they belong. From those answers, we started doing our ethnographic research to observe those people especially our colleagues who were not aware of this research. People who were far from us, we created a questionnaire and sent it to them so that, we can have their point of views.

The questions were very open-ended like,
1. How do they define themselves?
2. How does their best friend define them?
3. How much do they love to meet people and how they generally talk to them?
 4. How do they react when someone known or unknown makes fun of them and how do they rate their ability to handle such things on the scale of 1 to 5?
 5. How do they react when someone knew or unknown abuses them and how do they rate their ability to handle such things on the scale of 1 to 5?

This data of the questionnaire as well as ethnographic research helped us a lot to make our chatbot personality stronger and deciding their behaviour that how will they react to any particular situation.

So, this was all about designing the personality of the chatbot! We are currently working on Conversation Writing and dialogues which you will be able to read in the next post! 
And yes, don’t forget to shower your love with the claps! :)

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