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exercise 01: design challenge

Is there a future for the payphone – and what would it be? How can it play a vital role in this in this new networked society, both in urban centers and rural regions?

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exercise 02: ideating

As a group, we decided to take on the extreme user group. the Romantics. We were interested in how the future payphone could fulfill or facilitate the dreams and desires of the Romantics. Using the design provocation cards, we determined the character traits of Romantics. These included the need for connections, personalization and love. Furthermore, we created character profiles that personified these characteristics. My character was Bella.

Using post it notes we generated ideas of what our characters would want from the future payphone. This was a fast and effective way to visualise the user needs. Using this method, we were able to conceptualise the ‘Love Call’. A payphone which was personal, allowed the  user to contact loved ones past, present and future and send them gifts or be present with them.

We then wrote short narratives about how users would interact and come upon the ‘Love Call’. My story was about Kelly and how she uses the payphone to call her friend. We then created storyboards from the narratives. This was a great way to explore how the payphone would be experienced.

r e f l e c t i o n s

1/ How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

By taking the position as a ‘Romantic’ I was able to think about the design brief more broadly. It allowed me to generate user needs and wants that I wouldn’t necessarily think of such as gift giving or magic. It really pushed the ideating for us as a group because it wasn’t about personal needs or desires. Thus, we were able to work more collaboratively and efficiently.

Furthermore, our empathy skills were much more heightened. We had to develop a strong and solid character profile from the very beginning and this really helped with developing the design. Through talking and listening to each other, we were able to identify and rank the key user needs which was incredibly useful when it came to developing the design.

2/ Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

The design provocation cards were great as they really started the ball rolling for us. When we were first presented with the ‘Romantics’, we were hesitant to start identifying the user needs. The cards got us into discussing and identifying the needs. From there we were able to develop a few of our own.

The stories are a great way to communicate the functionality of the ‘Love Call’. Rather than listing the various functions, the stories contextualised the design and help develop the user experience. It was excellent to see how the user may interact or happen upon the payphone.

The storyboard was an exciting way of visually representing the story. It really focused us on the key moments within the narrative. We were able to communicate much more this way and allowed others to also empathise with the characters.

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