Prototyping Food Find

It’s the first day of Christmas break and I still can’t stop thinking about AC4D :) Last night was our final presentation for our Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving class. See below for a summary and reflection. Enjoy!

Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem solving is basically a fancy way for describing an Introduction to Making. This course provided me with a filter and framework for the entire process of creating something that previously did not exist, which was helpful given my preexisting phobia of making. Below is a quick snapshot of the process with mini-definitions to follow. (Note: if this really excites you, you should google the terms in the diagram as I am simplifying definitions for people like me who are impatient readers :).

Use Cases: A top level view of all goals an artifact will help users accomplish. Note artifact is a fancy word for thing.

Scenarios: Stories of imaginary users and how they will interact with your artifact given specific situations, needs, and desires.

Storyboards: Sketches of the scenarios that visually (and more completely) showcase the essence of an artifact.

Process flows: A focused and oftentimes technical view of the steps that need to happen to make your artifact work.

Wireframes: Visual layout and diagram of the artifact that starts to communicate how the artifact will look and feel visually.

Prototype: A test artifact that has many of the same features as the finished product used for the purposes of communicating an idea and testing how users will interact with an artifact.

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To better learn this process we came up with an idea related to our research, which we would then put through this process. My idea was Food Find, a web application that of functions like a Groupon or a deal of the day…but for FOOD!

Here is a link to an interactive prototype. Note you’ll most likely have to download it, and view using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader X.

AC4D_IDSE201_Lewis_Prototype_FINALForWeb

When reflecting on things that I learned about the process and my idea, Food Find, one of the first things that comes to mind is the importance of rigor. The creative process is oftentimes depicted as a single moment, much like the flip of a switch to turn on the metaphorical light bulb. This is far from reality, or if it is reality it is one small step in the creative/making process. And the subsequent steps (see chart above) can change the initial lightbulb idea completely.

This process also taught me the importance of visualizing ideas both through storyboards, wireframes, and prototypes. Oftentimes, I rely too much on my oratory ability which I think is much stronger than it actually is. But I was blown away with how ideas and concepts surrounding Food Find were much easier to grasp by others when it was visually externalized.

The next time I do this process, I am going to push my self to externalize and visualize even more. I was super impressed by my professors Matt Franks, and Lauren Serota, and some fellow students, Diana Griffin and Cheyenne Weaver’s ability to bring ideas to life through thoughtful and provocative visual design, and I definitely want to grow in that area.

Also next time, I will take more sersiously the beginning stages of the process, (writing stories and basic diagrams), which at the time seemed a little trite. The old adage you have to crawl before you run is definitely true in that one can’t design something big and complex until he or she knows the basic uses for it.

In summary, this was a great class. Many thanks to Matt and Lauren for teaching it, and I’m looking to seeing how what we learned manifests itself in 2K12.

-Jonathan
@jtomylew