Post 24 – December 4th

What We Did: We’ve made a lot of progress this week. Let’s take each deliverable one by one: -Video: all the London and Funchal footage has been sorted, cut, and somewhat pieced together over a first draft voiceover. We purchased an After Effects template to save time creating cool animated WhatsApp messenger bubbles and have a few more ideas for kinetic typography. We’ve chosen and purchased the background music as well. The first draft was 03:15 minutes and we’ve cut it down now to 02:45. -Book: Jenn has assigned everyone specific visuals and we’ve shared writing responsibilities. Our outline was approved with minor adjustments, so we’ve been forging ahead and using it as the basis for our presentation outline. Today the text will start to be laid out in InDesign for critique Tuesday morning. -Website(s): Juan and Nalena met up to design and code the /envision (new name and logo!) splash page. It matches our overall color palette and invites users to sign up and see how the system works. The backend is all in place and working!! Next up, is finalizing our team website with lots of process pics, a timeline, and giving any visitor a good overall impression of how much work and research we’ve dedicated to the project. -Presentation: we’re hoping to mostly re-use past slides. The biggest issue now is where in the outline our video and demo should go as that will dictate the rest of the structure. Right now, we’re thinking only 2-3 people will present. The 2-minute madness is ready to go. Challenges/Issues: Edit, edit, edit! I think our biggest challenges is...

Post 23 – November 27th

What We Did: First off, we finished all filming for the video here in Funchal! After that, we took some time off to celebrate an American-in-Portugal-style Thanksgiving. That being said, we’ve turned out attention to classroom deliverables and a lot of the work has been assigned to individual team members to complete on their own. Special attention has been paid to the outline of the book and our voiceover script for the concept video, so that we can submit it for feedback from our advisors. Juan has put in a lot of work on the back-end of the system and it’s looking really great. Challenges: We’re on a tight schedule to complete all the deliverables, but I think we have everything properly planned out. Next Steps: Execute, execute,...

Post 20 – November 6th

What we did: This week has been all about nailing down a usability testing plan and preparing for our midterm presentation. We decided to streamline the presentation process by making one team member responsible for each milestone and it’s been working out much better. The presenter writes out an outline, then assigns visual assets for the rest of the time to contribute to; in this way, forward progress on the project itself can continue. On Friday, we will be presenting the real meat of the project including problem, solutions, design decisions, customer journey, samples screens, and a short demo! We have tentatively settled on a name for our system, Unibot. A lot of work this week went into nailing down the different features of the system all the way down to sample conversations a user might have. Our user testing plan is 2-fold: we will be testing the usability of the system with friends at M-ITI as well as in London with both international students and potential Ugandan mentors. The research goals for this phase are 1) can they complete the tasks accurately and efficiently and 2) is it delightful to use. Then, we will enlist a couple family members of the team who are thinking about returning to grad school for a more “in the wild” study to determine 1) how useful they find the system and 2) if they can easily different the functions of mentor and bot. Additional work has started on the final deliverables, especially the video. We’ve collected inspirational material and begun storyboarding to figure out if/when we need to recruit actors. We’ve completed an outline...

Post 16 – October 9th

What we did:  This week, we are preparing for our quarter-semester presentation, user-testing for content, and preparing a low-fi prototype. We were inspired by the textiles we saw displayed by vendors at the UNAA convention, so we are rebranding ourselves based on those colors/patterns for all forthcoming presentations and reports. We sent out a few questions to select members of our user base regarding challenges, research, and funding of moving abroad to incorporate in our designs. About half responded. In addition, we interviewed Jude Mukundane, RootIO’s software developer about his process applying to schools. We completed two activities: one to display a visual journey map and another to sort the features he thinks are important for our concept. We sketched our ideas for the website and cut them up to move them around on the board. The technology we are considering is still in flux. It depends on how far of reach we are aiming for – we’re considering a “lite” version completely utilizing Whatsapp. Our prototypes are currently in grayscale, stationary web format using Sketch. Challenges:  The main challenge is to come up with a nice “wow” factor that really differentiates our product and give the content more focus. Then we can work on the overall information architecture, which the team has diverging opinions on. Next steps: We need to further plan and recruit for user testing and narrow the features down to what we can realistically build by the end of the semester. Also, we plan on experience prototyping the match and mentorship model between ourselves and the incoming Pittsburgh-Portugal...

Post 11 – April 24th

What We’ve Done: We have ramped up our efforts in terms of in-depth interviews and are now up to 20 Skype and written responses. The best method of finding new contacts has been referrals from past interviewees. We feel like we have finally begun to reach a greater cross-section of the Ugandan diaspora! We have finalized the survey(s) and are working on getting it to the right listservs (Yahoo forums, UNAA mailing lists) as well as putting it up on Facebook. Hopefully this will give us enough data for statistical significance as well as further design ideas. This week, we have been trying to dig deeper into a potential field visit in September. Our options are to visit a conference such as UNAA (New Orleans) or SASA (Toronto) OR find someone to coordinate focus groups for us in places with a high concentration of Ugandans such as as London or Boston OR combine the two efforts. Our goal is to put some work in over the summer developing concepts enough to get feedback on them and/or facilitate participatory design sessions with our user group. Therefore, we are talking to the contacts we’ve made in each of these locations to get a feel for what could be accomplished during a visit. Then, we can get our budget passed along for approval. Obstacles: We have had a couple no-shows for interviews, but that is to be expected. We are feeling the pressure of a May 20th presentation, especially missing a team member this week, but we are excited to move on to the visioning stage of the process. Sometimes we wish we...