As I come to the end of my app prototyping project I find myself incredibly impressed with all that I’ve accomplished. I’ve never thought that I’d be able to create such a professional looking medium to high fidelity prototype that is 100% my own. I’m so proud of the work I’ve done and all that I’ve achieved through this process. Not to mention how much I enjoyed every step. It’s such a rewarding feeling knowing that I’m learning something that I will take with me throughout my entire life and that these skills will help me go far in my career. I’m so excited to share My Mountainside with you.
Last week I created paper prototypes for an app I was developing called My Mountainside, which you can read about here. The paper prototypes are a great way to visualize your ideas and put them down on paper. This week, however, I took it to the next level. Using a program called POP (Programming on Paper) I was able to take my paper prototypes and make them interactive. Now users would be able to click through my paper prototypes in a sort of app demo and I could get feedback. I could talk with my users and discuss what they thought was confusing or difficult and get entirely new perspectives. Below is what I discovered during those tests.
Prototyping is an incredibly important stage in design thinking. Here is where you put your ideas to paper (literally in my case) and see if your idea can actually exist in the real world.
In my previous post, which you can read here, I outlined changes that I would like to see made to my town’s website. Now, adapting those changes to an app I’m going to demonstrate three different unique user experiences and stories with that app, which I am choosing to call My Mountainside. The purpose of this app is to help residents of Mountainside stay connected to what’s happening in the town, look up information about the town and communicate with others in the town. Functions of the app more specifically include an events calendar where you can sign up/ learn more about upcoming events, a list of businesses in the town including times of operation and the option to make a reservation and lastly a forum to speak to other town residents to have questions answered and meet your neighbors. The target audience for this app is newly moved in residents trying to meet new people and try new things and young families that are looking for fun things to do.
In my previous post, where you can read here, I tackled my town of Mountainside’s okay-but-not-great website and made suggestions for changes. Most of the changes revolved around reorganization. None of the website tabs seemed unnecessary, they mostly just seemed to be in odd places. Luckily for Mountainside I was their Marie Kondo and I happily reorganized some of the aspects of the site that were certainly not bringing me joy.
It’s no secret that most town municipalities have bad websites. In fact, they’re almost notorious for how terrible their web design is. And unfortunately, my home town in no exception. Dark, hard to read, poor layout, you name it and my town website probably has it. But all hope is not lost as I broke down my town’s website and made suggestions about where they could fix some of the more… troubling areas of the site.
I’ve got a lot of apps. Some I use a lot and some I hardly touch. But if I were to design a perfect app, I know exactly what I would love to have right at my fingertips. See, I love to shop. I probably (definitely) have too many clothes and my closet is very cramped. If I could create any app it would be to help me keep track of all my clothes, shoes and accessories and maybe I would be able to put outfits together on a model that looked like me. This way I could stop forgetting about old clothes in my closet, stop myself from buying new clothes that I don’t need and help to get dressed every day without pulling everything out of my closet and making a mess.
If you’re like me, you probably have hundreds of unorganized thoughts running around your head at top speed all the time. I’ve always got different ideas pulling me in different directions and sometimes I wish my brain came with a filing cabinet or a secretary to help me organize. Thankfully something like that does exist in the real world and they’re called mind maps.
As someone whose brain, as I just mentioned, runs at top speed all the time I find mind maps very helpful. I’ve used mind maps in the past to figure out what I want to do with my future and how I want to improve how I was living my day to day life. Mind maps work for me and I’ve always been a big fan of them. But I don’t want to jump too far into my love for mind maps before I explain what they really are and how they work. Emerald publishers describe mind maps as, “A way of linking key concepts using images, lines and links. A central concept is linked via lines to other concepts which in turn are linked with other associated ideas.” I like this definition quite a bit, because it includes that fact that all of these ideas should link together and form one huge well, map! You should be able to trace your mind map from idea to idea and get one full complete picture.
So let’s put this to the test. I’m going to see how a mind map can help explore different common ideation methods and case studies and see how they all relate to one another while still being unique. A little background brought to us by the Interaction Design Foundation,
“Ideation is the mode of the design process in which you concentrate on idea generation. Mentally it represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes. Ideation provides both the fuel and also the source material for building prototypes and getting innovative solutions into the hands of your users.”
Basically I’m going to use an ideation method to explain other ideation methods. In my mind map I’m going to explore different ways to de-clutter your brain and get what you want to know on paper. Or ipad in my case. I’m a digital artist and I don’t like wasting paper so I’m going to show you what my mind map looks like below.
Ta-da! Here is my beautiful, messy, looks like a three year old went crazy with a box of crayons mind map. And while this may be a lot to taken in for the viewer, it makes complete sense to me and I learned a lot about different ideation methods.
I compared the ideation methods of brain storming, worst idea possible, creative pause and sketch storm. Through this mind map I remembered something that I love about the ideation process. There’s no one way to do it because every way is guaranteed to get your great results. Every method challenges your brain to work in new ways, without the fear of judgment because, as you can see at the top in my favorite color (teal) there’s no such thing as a bad idea with ideation! Mind maps and ideation are great because they don’t judge you and help you be your best self.
PDF version of mind map: mind map
In conjunction with the recently accepted RFP the content strategy report can be found here: Content Strategy Report