Problem definition phase
Role: Lead UX designer
The ask: Using speculative or critical design, create a utopia or dystopia society.
The how: The project requirements were to be broken down into 5 phases.
- Brainstorming: Ideation and analysis
- Research: World building
- Research: Concept
- Design and Form: Overall cohesion
The challenge: Create a world and an application that would live within that world. Final deliverables included a presentation, prototype, timeline and video.
Duration: 2 months
Platform/device: iPad, mobile devices and mobile web (responsive)
Roles and responsibilities
My role: UX designer team lead, creative
My team: Consisted of three other students in my graduate program and myself
I was responsible for:
- Lead UX design activities and research
- Concept creation and execution
- UX design
- Wireframing, prototype creation
Software used in this project: Adobe XD, Powtoon, Mural, Adobe Illustrator
We began the project with an initial brainstorming session to determine if we'd like to build a utopia or dystopia. Our problem identification phase included utopian and dystopian suggestions and ideas. Once enough ideas were generated, a utopic society began to emerge from our problem definition.
To dig deeper, we asked ourselves the five whys to determine if we were on the right path.
The five whys
Our group dove deeper into our problem identification phase to determine if we had something substantial by asking ourselves the five whys. We worked through each question, digging deeper and deeper until we were able to answer each why with a well thought out question. Once we determined we were headed n the right direction, we started world building.
Our world building session determined four world rules in which our utopian application would live in. From here, we were able to begin brainstorming our applications features and uses.
As a group, we utilized an asynchronous method to brainstorm our ideas through an online whiteboard. Each team member, on their own time, added suggestions until our board was overflowing with ideas. Once we'd flushed out all the relevant features, we voted anonymously to not bias anyone's selections.
To assist in determining the look and feel of our application, I created a mood board for our newly created utopian society to assist in the colour selection and feel of the application.
Thematically, organic and earthy tones were used.
I usually start the design process with low fidelity wireframes. Quick and dirty is the name of the game at this phase and I prefer to ideate on my tablet or with pencil and paper.
At this phase, the layout and functionality of the application was really starting to take shape.
routd (pronounced routed) is an application that is designed to have two-way communication with the user and their household plants. Rather than only having the user take care of the plants, the plants can also check in on the user. The application is accompanied by a device that is placed in the plant. This device measures the plants health through monitoring sunlight, water levels, and PH balances. Multiple devices can be used to track all of the users household plants.
The routed application is broken down into two interfaces, one for the plant and the second for the user. The applications plant interface, utilizing information provided by the device placed in the plant, provides an overall image of the plants health. This interface tracks the plants water levels, soil quality, PH levels, and light quality. Additional information about the plant can be linked to an information page. Each plant category provides the user with further detailed information about the plants overall health, providing a more holistic view.
The second interface of the application, the user interface, provides the user with detailed information about their overall health. This interface provides the user with outdoor activity tracking, indoor air quality, and a unique AI powered chat feature. The chat feature allows the user to communicate with the plant, and the plant to communicate back with the user. Because the plant is also tracking the status of its overall health and the quality of its indoor environment, the application was designed to check in on the mental health of its user. Should the user forget to water the planet, or if the plant notices a decline in indoor air quality of sunlight, it would send a friendly chat message to the user checking in on them.
Because I spent so much time working on lo-if sketches, I felt I was ready to dive into the hi-if mockups without having the need to create lo-if wireframes. Once the initial application layout was conceived in sketches, it was time to begin hi-fi wireframes.
Have a look around routd and give the demo a try.