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Rainwater project display
Engineers without borders
what is ewb?
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is an international community program that tackles projects on a local and international scale, and provides ways for people to volunteer their engineering efforts. The University of Washington hosts an Engineers Without Borders club, that has focused its efforts on a local, UW Seattle campus project for the 2019-2020 academic year.
The "Rainwater" project involves designing and programming an interactive display that will be exhibited and used by visitors in the new UW Population Health Building. This building is being constructed using a rainwater collection system that harvests and utilizes a large portion of rainwater as opposed to solely municipal water. The display will show how the rainwater system works, its sustainability benefit statistics, a cost-benefit analysis of using rainwater conservation systems versus using exclusively city-provided water, and include a game about water conservation.
my role & task
I was recruited to act as the Design Lead for this club, focusing on the user experience and interface design of the interactive display (fitted for a flat screen TV) within the Population Health Building. In this position, not only did I contribute to the design of the display, I led a small team of members by hosting weekly meetings.
UX/UI Design Leader
Leading a team to create an interactive Tv display
Hosted weekly meetings that consisted of research, brainstorming, Figma tutorials and exploration sessions, and prototyping.
Because the understanding of a rainwater collection system was completely new to us, there was a tremendous amount of upfront learning that came before our brainstorming sessions. Additionally, designing for a TV that is to be mounted on a wall for passerby to interact with was new territory that required research as well.
rainwater collection system
In order to engagingly and informatively display information about the Population Health Building's rainwater system, we first had to get a better understanding of what it was.
We identified the 4 most important benefits of using these systems, and worked with others to understand the process and individual system parts.
An additional consideration that required research was the interactive touchscreen TV. Because of the unique nature of the platform and environment people would be in when passing or using the screen, we searched for examples. We found examples based on the context of other screens, such as museums, airports, and even restaurants, and then noted elements we could incorporate into our own design.
After conducting our initial research, we began our brainstorming process. This took the form of individual ideation, followed by reconvening as a group to share. Team members were asked to add their individual notes to a whiteboard brainstorming cloud. By doing so, it allowed all ideas to be brought forward without concern of rejection or immediate scrutiny. Members were encouraged to explore any thought, idea, question, or concern.
After this initial brainstorming activity, we evaluated items based on what we felt was most important and feasible as a team. Additionally, we had to consider what was required of us to incorporate based on the club's demands, and the system developer's criteria/provided rainwater diagram.
working with unique requirements
Additional factors that we had to consider during our design process were the requirements of the company who designed the rainwater system, the Engineers Without Borders club, and the display device itself. Each of the aforementioned factors challenged the content and interaction liberties and considerations for the product.
The company that designed the system required specific inclusion of various diagrams, colors, and icons.
The Engineers Without Borders club required specific topics and content to be included.
The display forced an acute level of detail to size, height, and limited levels of user interaction.
prototyping to finalization
An emphasis on iterative prototyping allowed for adaptable changes when emerging requirements and new device insights came to light.
Several options were designed for how one might "explore the rainwater system" and learn more about its individual parts. These were originally designed before new requirements came about to include colored icons.
prototypes: "explore the rainwater system"
Designs could be more easily altered to include the new requirements because of the various prototypes and iterations that had already been done for this page.
One challenge in the design process was allowing student's voices and ideas to be recognized despite their potential inability to physically express them or lack of experience with the tools to do so. Students were encouraged to overlook the polish of their designs, and simply first attempt roughly portray their thoughts.
prototypes: "learn about the benefits"
From there, I had to identify how to properly portray the basis of their ideas, and transform them into a polished product. I created designs that contain similar content and accompanying graphics that the team felt embodied their intentions.
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