Breakdown and Breakthrough

So tonight in capstone class we discussed the content of our sketches. Because my capstone is a research capstone, I based my sketches around my design framework. Essentially, I want to make a snazzy infographic that makes people point at my framework and say, “Yes. Definitely. Yes.”

Before I went to capstone class tonight, my framework for designers who want to create artifacts that empower the user to appropriate was as follows…

  1. The artifact should allow users to capitalize on their existing knowledge
  2. The user should be able to interpret the artifact’s function
  3. The user should be able to alter the artifact’s interaction
  4. The user should be able to adapt the artifact’s aesthetics
  5. The user should be able to explore their creative freedom

My sketches tonight were working around the relationships between points 1-5. For instance, I thought 1 and 5 are the most important, because this is where the user makes the decision to (and how to) appropriate an artifact. After speaking with Jay, Heiko, Joe Y, and Thalith, however, I realized that this entire “framework” is from the end-user’s perspective, rather than for my user, which is a designer who wants to make an artifact that suggests it can be appropriated.

It’s late and I’m very tired from the long day, otherwise I would have uploaded photos of my sketchbook to show you what I mean. Suffice it to say that

  1. Tonight’s design session helped immensely and
  2. I’ll upload the images later and also,
  3. It’s always best to have three items or more in a list because it feels right.

Speaking with these guys showed me a glaring problem with my “framework,” namely, that it might not be a design framework at all. It might be a design model, or a set of design guidelines. I wasn’t keeping my user group in mind, but my user group’s user group. If that makes sense. So with this in mind, I’ve changed my “framework” to the following.*

DESIGNER    -> creates artifact that
 empowers
USER to     -> interpret, alter, adapt artifact

I don’t know if this is a design framework, or a design guideline, or a design model. I do know that I feel like it’s much closer to what I want to say than I have previously, which is good. Tomorrow morning, I have my first user interview, which I’m sure will alter this… thing… again. In the meantime, I’ll keep sketching about the relationship between these verbs until I come up with something I can present.

I like to think this session tonight was my first pilot study on whether this design framework would actually work for designers. I learned that it definitely wouldn’t, because everyone was confused about how the designer was supposed to know how to “capitalize” on the user’s “existing knowledge.” So it’s back to the drawing board for this girl, and boy, is she excited to see what comes out next!

*This really would look better as a sketch, but I’m far too tired, as mentioned above.

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