Montrose Grace Place: Test

This week our team visited Montrose Grace Place, a drop-in center in Houston we are partnering with, to get feedback from individuals currently/previously experiencing homeless in Houston on our help card. At this stage, we included a short description of services, as well as bus routes to the location. The insights that drove these additions were that when interviewing youth, they often felt uncomfortable trying out going to a new resource because they were unaware what a resource had to offer them, and most all of the youth reported that their main mode of transportation was the bus. Considering these … Continue reading Montrose Grace Place: Test

Arms Wide: Build/Test

This past week we flushed out and revised our three emails given last week’s feedback and tested them with Maheen. We made sure to balance anecdotes and conveying the ethos of Arms Wide. We also made sure to be purposeful with the language. For example, we used “we” instead of “Arms Wide” in the second and third emails to make the email feel more personal. Overall, we are confident in moving forward with our email content.   We have received eight survey responses that Arms Wide had previously sent to parents who have completed the majority of the adoption process. … Continue reading Arms Wide: Build/Test

Montrose Grace Place: Ideate

This week we identified what information we wanted to include in our help card. For the bulk of our weekly meeting, we brainstormed how we can best organize information on the help card. We wanted to build on the previous help card, but this time including a description of each resource’s services so that users can choose which resource they want to go to based on their needs at the time, while also adding Metro routes to each of the locations to help better navigate. Previous help cards made navigation difficult because many housing insecure youth do not have cell … Continue reading Montrose Grace Place: Ideate

Montrose Grace Place: Build

The week of Build, our group met twice. After having compiled many of the resources we want to consider including in the helpcard, each team member was assigned several shelters to do research on according to the following criteria: Basic info (address, phone number) What the resource provides Requirements (age, gender, etc.) Transportation information (bus/metro routes) We then moved into prototyping how we would present the information we collected clearly and concisely, taking up the least possible space on a helpcard that must include many resources. Everyone created a low-fidelity prototype, moving from paper to prototypes in Google Docs, and … Continue reading Montrose Grace Place: Build

Thread Together: Build/Test + Implement

This week team Thread Together started to create a medium fidelity prototype of our bookmark in Adobe Illustrator and began to speak with Kaila at the Community Cloth about what implementation of our design would look like going forward. In order to make the process of creating the bookmarks for artisans as new interviews are done as easy as possible, team Thread Together will hand over a template in Adobe Illustrator to The Community Cloth. This will allow Kaila to easily switch in and out photos and quotes from a particular artisan on the front of the bookmark while the … Continue reading Thread Together: Build/Test + Implement

BUILD: Open Arch Wayfinding

With a successful mid-semester review behind us, we began the second half of the design process this week. Build is an exciting step, as it marks the first point in which we begin to get our hands dirty in materializing the concept we have spent the first few months deliberating over. We decided that our low fidelity prototype would focus on the content, rather than the form, of the wayfinding sign we were designing. We wanted to make sure that what was actually being presented was solid and coherent, before we began diving into the specifics of the medium for … Continue reading BUILD: Open Arch Wayfinding

Montrose Grace Place: Mid-Semester Review

Approaching the mid-semester review, we wanted to give the community a good summary of the problem we are up against, as well as show everyone how we were planning on approaching our solution going forward in the design process. In our presentation, we wanted to clearly communicate the two major problems our card will address: outdated, irrelevant information, and a lack of helpful navigation information. We also wanted to establish measurable goals, like having our users report using the help card more than once. Lastly, we asked the audience if they could help us with our biggest question: how can … Continue reading Montrose Grace Place: Mid-Semester Review

Thread Together: TEST

This week, Team Thread Together introduced our low-fidelity prototype to the public to test consumer responses. We began with our colleagues in Design For America, who already had some knowledge of our project. Their feedback brought our attention to elements of our design that we had overlooked, such as that we never explicitly said that our featured artisan was a refugee! The other students also recommended that we focus more on the community of artisans, incorporate more photos, and better integrate our statistic about refugees in Houston into our overall design. After altering our design based on this feedback, we … Continue reading Thread Together: TEST


Mid-Semester Review was a great time for our team to pause, reflect, and consolidate all the work that has been put into our project. In our presentation, we were focused on conveying the narrative of our project and how we reached this point in our design proposal. Throughout this project, our team faced a lot of ambiguities. Some initial questions we had included who our users were, what our interpretation of wayfinding was, and what our specific role within this larger project would be. After visiting the site, and attending the town hall meeting, we finally gained a better understanding … Continue reading MID-SEMESTER REVIEW: Open Arch

IDEATE: Open Arch

After our visit to the Northside, we had a better understanding of the neighbourhood we were working in, which allowed us to move onto ideate. During this step of the design phase, we began to think about the project in two parts: content and aesthetics. For content, we were particularly interested in the exact information that would appear on the sign. What points of interest are we trying to target? Is the purpose of the sign for going from point A to B directly? Or for wandering and enjoying the area? These were some questions that came to mind when … Continue reading IDEATE: Open Arch

Arms Wide: Test

This week our team tackled Test. We worked on testing and getting feedback on our low fidelity prototype for our users. In building our solution, my team decided to focus on the follow-up aspect of our solution for our tests. We developed different email templates that could potentially be sent out to parents at different times. The email templates also had different sets of content and focuses. Some emails focused on supporting the parents via resources while others focused on reminding parents the steps necessary to start the adoption process. We also played around with developing different timelines for the … Continue reading Arms Wide: Test

Identify: Team OpenArch

This week, we dove headfirst into the first stages of the design process, and began to challenge our assumptions about the problem we are trying to solve. Given that our problem revolves around a specific space in Houston, we began by defining the logistics of the space and doing some basic research about the neighborhoods we were assisting. This research consisted of reading relevant articles, searching census data, and spending time looking at online maps. We discovered that the our target area is incredibly diverse, and rapidly changing. Many new businesses are being developed, dramatically impacting the character and personality … Continue reading Identify: Team OpenArch

Week 6 Reframe: Open Arch

After meeting with our community sponsor and other members of the Northside community at the charette, we decided to shift our focus to having the sign outside of St. Arnold’s.  With this change in setting, we also decided that our user entity could be re-narrowed back to a user persona – a young, caucasian professional. This allows us to safely assume that our users will have access to smartphones and the internet, which heavily influences what content needs to be present in our final design.  Regarding our design, we have decided on three main goals: it must be a clean … Continue reading Week 6 Reframe: Open Arch

Arms Wide: Build

This week the team worked on “build” — essentially building out the prototypes to our solution. Specifically, our team wrote three sample emails for the follow-up scheme we want to create for Arms Wide and potential content and interaction for the Facebook group. DFA emphasizes that the first steps of the build process should focus on concretely defining and creating content and building “lo-fidelity” prototypes. Essentially, lo-fidelity means as simple as possible, so without the frills and flourish of a final product. There are a couple reasons to keep the early prototypes at lo-fidelity. The first is that it becomes … Continue reading Arms Wide: Build

ScootASS: Build/Test

In the past week, we designed a couple very low fidelity prototype and had the chance to test them with some people from the studio. Our HCW statement is ‘How can we empower mobility scooter users in Rice serveries obtain and carry food and drinks independently and efficiently?’ Our prototype ideas are as follows: Prototype 1: 11×18 inch tray with attached arm system clamped on to the scooter Using a screw and clamp system with tray between the screw and clamp to allow rotation of the tray Material – Wood Using donut shape on top of the tray to hold … Continue reading ScootASS: Build/Test

Thread Together: Build

This week, Team Thread Together drew from the insights we had gained during the previous weeks to build lo-fidelity prototypes of our design. One audience comment after our Mid-Semester Review presentation was that consumers would be more likely to hang onto our design if it were multipurpose. In our team meeting, we decided that in addition to prototyping postcard-style designs, we should also prototype bookmarks. We agreed that we personally tend to keep bookmarks that we acquire at various events because they are useful and unobtrusive. We also discussed what content we thought we should include in our design. Our … Continue reading Thread Together: Build

Thread Together: Post MSR

This past Saturday, team Thread Together presented at Mid-Semester Review in front of our studio and community partners. Our presentation covered the work that we had done so far which included our research on Houston’s large refugee population, the work that The Community Cloth is doing, and our insights into the conscious customer with an emphasis on learning what draws them to a particular organization. Eventually, we realized that the best way to increase customer engagement for The Community Cloth would be to create something that brought the organization to the conscious customer instead of waiting for the conscious customer … Continue reading Thread Together: Post MSR

Arms Wide – Mid-Semester Review

This past Saturday, Team Arms Wide Adoption Allies presented in front of our studio, community partner, and friends for Mid-Semester Review. Our presentation covered our work so far, the insights we have made, and our proposal for a solution. Overall, the team did really well and we are very pleased with the positive feedback we have received! The audience received our presentation really well. Our community partner, Melissa, also seemed really pleased with our presentation and solution. The excitement and support we’ve been given by Arms Wide has been great and a huge motivating factor. The solution we offered was … Continue reading Arms Wide – Mid-Semester Review

ScootAASS: Ideate

This week we narrowed down our solution ideas by thinking about what solutions would be feasible to implement in one semester, cost effective, and actually target our problem space. Initially, we focused on both carrying food and potentially reaching food. We decided to go forward with a tray idea that would target the first problem space. The tray would have anti-slip material on it, which would be available at every servery (~2-3 trays per servery). To go into more detail, we wanted to attach the tray to the scooter. This would make it easier to carry more food, and could … Continue reading ScootAASS: Ideate

Thread Together: IDEATE

We are in the next stage of our design process: coming up with ideas to address our project. First, we took a step back and re-evaluated what main points we wanted our final product to have. Through several brainstorming sessions we broke down our question– “How can we help The Community Cloth attract more socially conscious customers by telling the individual stories of artisans at places that these people already frequent?”– into smaller components. We thought about “What about the individual stories do we want to include?” and “What do we want the conscious customer to know?” We all had … Continue reading Thread Together: IDEATE

Montrose Grace Place: Reframe

Going into reframe, we wanted to start to develop our design goals before going into the ideation process. We based our How Can We statements and our measures of success on the material we retrieved from interviewing our users from the Immerse phase, as well as the information from secondary sources and internet research we had done. Ultimately we decided on this HCW statement: How can we compile and present information about the navigation to and use of resources that youth at risk of homelessness would feel comfortable with? This statement encompasses both our concerns with the usability of the … Continue reading Montrose Grace Place: Reframe

Thread Together: Immerse

  How did you immerse yourselves in your respective problem space, what have you accomplished (summarize)? This week we had a phone call meeting with Kaila, our community partner and asked her about what The Community Cloth’s needs and goals are by the term “customer engagement”. This led us down the path of discussing how we want these women to be seen and what would make a good story. During our weekly team meeting we each classified our own expectations for this problem space and discussed how they aligned in terms with our team and the community partner’s vision. We … Continue reading Thread Together: Immerse