Design phase where I’m getting an empathic understanding of the problem.
Empathic research marks the beginning of the new project. My goal is to find out more about the problem (or and opportunity) by observing and engaging with people to understand their experiences and motivations.
I set aside my own assumptions about the world and try to gain insight into people’s mindset, lifestyle and needs.
My big dream for years was to take a paragliding course in New Zealand. It was a life-changing experience and also opened my eyes to design. I noticed the many flaws of the gear and though of possible improvements between the flight.
I carry this mindset into projects that involve gaining emphatic understanding of other people’s problems.
Asking “How might we…” questions to refine the problem statement.
I analyze my observations and synthesize them to get to the core of the problem. It means refining a question that I’ll me answering with my project until it will become crystal clear what is the real issue I’m trying to solve and what the future state is like, how will it work, look and feel.
Brainstorming in small groups works best for me. I love hearing ideas from non-designers, being that and engineer or an end user.
Design phase where I diverge and generate as many ideas as possible.
It’s all about searching for alternative ways of viewing the problem, asking questions, and sketching…very roughly. I always make sure not to scrape what might seem like The Worst Idea in the World and use it to expand the problem space.
Ideation for me means pulling all sorts of skills from my toolbox and trying out everything from mind maps, sketching, quick and dirty mockups to brainstorming in a group, taking a research trip.
The stage where I diverge and build as many ideas as possible.
I love making. Paper, foam, plastic, Lego (why not?), wood, clay, anything goes. I start with inexpensive, scaled down versions of the product or its’ features to get a better understanding of its inherent constraints.
Whenever I’m stuck on a build I try to experiment with an unexpected material.
Introducing potential users to the project and getting feedback.
Results generated during testing help me to better define the problem and understand the user. I love observing people interacting with my designs and discover the details that only become apparent in the real life use.
I got a chance to test the the rough prototypes during my internship at Starbucks. I got a more clear view on how real users would behave, think, and feel when interacting with the product.