Team Design Journal: TEST

This week we completed the first phase of our testing process. We presented lo-fidelity prototypes of four different pieces to be included in the Design Journal: a project snapshot, an interview with community partner, an interview with a studio lead, and an interview with a team lead. This week we only tested content. To accomplish this, we printed out text without any fancy layout, just to see if people were able to digest the text.

In general, there were some common observations across all pieces. Readers often commented that they were unfamiliar with some information crucial to understanding the design process (eg. being unfamiliar with what a “studio” is, much less a studio lead).


There were also some specific insights which will instruct our medium-fidelity prototype and phase two of the testing process:


  1. There was some disagreement regarding the extent to which our pieces deepened a reader’s understanding of Design for America and the design process:

  1. Our pieces were relatively accessible:

  1. With some exceptions, the length of our pieces were appropriate:

  1. People were confused/intimidated by/unfamiliar with some commonly (and rarely) used words in DFA:
    • reframe stage
    • problem space
    • structuralist
    • studio lead
    • team lead


We split up our testing into high familiarity and low familiarity users. Because we want our journal to be accessible to those unfamiliar with the design process, but also appealing to seasoned DFA members, testing on both of these groups produced enormously helpful insights. We tested high familiarity members by providing all members present at Rice DFA’s 3/31 Open Studio a copy of a lo-fidelity testing piece and directing them to this survey. We then went to Rice Coffeehouse and provided students with the same content and asked them to fill out the same survey. Importantly, we found that respondents at Coffeehouse offered very different feedback than DFA members. Notably, 100% of those who responded to the question “(If unfamiliar with DFA) After reading the piece, were you introduced to Design for America/the design process?” in the low familiarity group answered the question “yes.”

Moving forward, we plan to use these insights to instruct our medium-fidelity (me-fi?) prototype, which will have refined content but also more attention to aesthetics. Our pieces will be individually edited to ensure clarity, and we will likely construct a glossary of some sort which can be used as a reference for any reader. We will present these me-fi prototypes at an undergraduate publication showcase on Thursday, April 12th. Presenting our proofs will provide valuable feedback and serve as another important step in the testing process.

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