What’s machine learning and what can designers do with it? The NCSU 1st year Masters of Graphic Design Studio took on just this question over the course of the semester. We began with a series of conversational interface studies, moved on to a Future Artifact workshop with the amazing Krissi Xenakis, and, then, capped off the semester with a 6-week collaboration with IBM’s Watson Health team.

Over the course of this project, the grad students investigated how machine learning might lower barriers to accessibility for blind, visually impaired (BVI) and deaf, hard-of-hearing (DHH) users.

photo of Master in Graphic Design students and IBM design team involved in the project

Enjoy these Scenario Videos of their final concepts. Scroll down to take a look at their user-centered design process.

NICO Project

Designers: Ellis Anderson, Alysa Buchanan, Matt Babb


Here-U Project

Designers: Shadrick Addy, Jessye Holmgren-Sidell, Matt Lemmond, Krithika Sathyamurthy


The Design Process

Matrix, both digital and physical, correlating Watson Products, disabilities, and a specific barriers

Benchmarking and User Interviews

Examples of personas and scenarios from the projectExamples of user journey maps from the project

Ideation exercises: What If exercise

Sketches from the project

Rough interface designs

Storyboards of initial concepts

Photos from critiques with IBM in the NCSU studio

Photos from User Testing phase

Examples of "To Be" user journey maps

Examples of hi-fi prototypes

Photos of still frames from scenario video rough cuts.

The Design Process:

  1. Matrix Exercise: mapping Watson tools to problematic tasks for DHH and BVI users
  2. Benchmarking and User Interviews
  3. Personas and Scenarios
  4. User Journey Map of current user experience
  5. Ideation: What If Exercise to explore possibilities improv style
  6. Sketches
  7. Roughs
  8. Storyboard of User Experience
  9. Crits with IBM
  10. User Testing
  11. Revised User Journey Maps
  12. Hi-fi Prototypes
  13. Scenario Videos and Final Presentations