User Research
Affinitying Brainstorm Ideas
intermediate sketch
Collection of Scenario Storyboards
WaterColor: A Ubicomp Cafe
Role: UX Designer

Skills: Storyboarding, Affinity Diagramming, Video Creation

WaterColor was the product of a team project in Interaction Design Studio where we examined future possibilities in design spaces to create a conceptual video sketch using ubiquitous computing. As this project entailed designing a space that could be implemented in the future, we allowed ourselves to be less constrained by current technology.

We chose to redesign the coffee shop and started out with some initial brainstorming as to the potential direction we wanted to focus on. In discussing various amenities and benefits of coffee shops, we decided we wanted to ideally incorporate, if possible, the concepts of comfortable spaces, immersive experiences, and easy and compelling interactions for the customer.

After our initial brainstorming, we performed user research by going to various coffee shops and interviewing patrons and employees to gain a sense of why they come to coffee shops and what they do there. Since we knew we wanted to focus on something revolving around art, we also interviewed artists and visited a coffee shop that encourages its patrons to hang drawings on the walls. At coffeeshops, people want a relaxing, welcoming environment that is a change of pace and environment from where they usually study, work, or relax. People also like to have others around them, even if they are not carrying on an active conversation with them, just to feel somewhat connected to a community. Visiting Make Your Mark, a coffeeshop which allows patrons to draw with provided paper and colored pencils and hang their completed pieces on the walls, allowed us to see that most drawings were done by kids.

We then brainstormed over 50 ideas, keeping an open mind by trying to answer several questions revolving around potential opportunity spaces. These potential spaces included helping people be creative in public spaces, encouraging quiet and humble creativity in busy social environments, and emphasizing the importance of feedback. After brainstorming all these ideas, we organized them into 14 different categories, and from there we sketched out 10 possible scenarios into storyboards. We then performed “speed dating”, where we showed our potential users the different ideas quickly and got their initial reactions. By just taking initial reactions, we were able to focus on ideas that participants liked and get rid of concepts that people found creepy or unlikely to want to use in a coffeeshop.

intermediate sketch
Scenario Sketch I did

Based on that feedback, we ended up elaborating upon our feedback to arrive at our final idea: a coffee shop that had a “River of Art”, where patrons could sketch on interactive table tops and send drawings “down the stream” (which would flow across tabletops, the floor and the walls), as well as vote on art they liked and modify others’ work to promote further connection between coffee shop individuals. Customers could "pin" drawings to the table with their coffee mugs and use them to access menus for drawing. This concept encouraged fun interactions for the customers, allowed them to create without it being too distracting for others, and created a sense of community with the artwork being contained in the "river". To convey this final concept, we created a video sketch to illustrate our idea effectively, seen above.