At the end of the January, some of my classmates and I flew to Toronto to attend the Interaction 13 conference hosted by IxDA. This conference was my introduction to the interaction design community, and I enjoyed my experience. The conference helped to reflect on my point of view in the industry, and also left me with many topics to think about. Amongst many breakout presentation and keynotes, there were few that stuck in my mind and I will share one that especially touched my heart and opened my eyes to my passion.
All three of the student’s projects were inspiring, but most importantly, shared a process that was effective and sincere. There were three steps to their process. Step number one was immersion in the problem. The students observed the location related to the problem they are addressing. They didn’t just observe the people and the environment, but also talked to people. This immersion sometimes led to discovering insights that led to a solution. Step number two was rapid prototyping. In the SVA IxD program, many professors stress the importance of rapid prototyping and testing, and in all the projects the students consistently made quick prototype out of cardboard and other materials and took it out into the problem area and tested with real people. Step number three was using their prototype to get consensus or support. They put out their projects out in the world, so they can get the help they need to fund their projects.
The process of Design for America really inspired me and it was great to see the process I am learning in the SVA IxD program in action. I truly believe that their process is what made their students’ projects successful. The program seemed to embody all of my passions: social good design, education, research, and data visualization. I really want to find a way to get involved and make little changes in the world at a time.