The deliverables for our sponsored studios are typically the UX research and scenario videos that demonstrate the resulting prototype in use.  We do have some grad students with a computer science background, but we don’t have heavy technical chops to do backend programming

A company could come to us and ask the students to, for example, explore the possibilities for integrating a conversational interface into a specific software platform for a blind or mobility impaired user. Or, maybe, research and prototype an interface that draws from machine learning to respond to individual user needs. Or, the project could stem from a newly identified pain point that the company wants to address.

The project should be something future-facing that the company is interested in exploring but doesn’t have the time to dig into right now. The students shouldn’t be doing the same kind of work that your employees regularly do already. The goal is not to produce a patentable project but rather a prototype that inspires possible directions.

Below are a few past studio projects. (Note, I can’t show a lot of recent work because of NDAs that are still in effect.) The projects below are either beyond the NDA restrictions or the client did not request one. The videos are part of larger presentations in which the students present the research behind the products. After the final project, I included some of the students’s process work for the IBM Watson project. Their research methods depend upon the project, but a typical structure would include benchmarking, user interviews, personas and scenarios, user journey maps, task flows, prototypes, user testing, scenario videos.

To see  more details about each project go to the home page of my website and click through the blog. There are full descriptions of each.

Retail + ML
Client: an auto parts company
Research Questions: How might the auto parts company leverage machine learning in their Store of the Future to produce personalized, efficient, useful consumer interactions that allay user concerns? What role might the sales team members play in supporting such positive experiences?
Project Length: 9 Weeks

Work by Student Teams

AUTO: The Virtual Store Assistant
Persona: Jenn, the Learner
Designers: Hannah Faub, Randa Hadi, Harrison Lyman, Matt Norton

Inspiration Wall
Persona: Luis, the Achiever
Designers: Ashamsa Mathew, Grace Herndon, Michele Pereira de Souza, Matthew Maharaj

How Smart Is This Store?
Persona: Craig, the Expert
Designers: Ashley Anderson, Katie Frohbose, Victoria Gerson, Dmitri Knapp


IBM PERSONAL HEALTHCARE DATA PROJECT
Client:
IBM Watson Health
Research Question: How might a design harness machine learning to enable a patient to understand and act upon their own healthcare data?  This project looks ahead to a day when patients own and control their own healthcare data via a single, secure, comprehensive access point. IBM is experimenting with using blockchain to secure this data. Watson capabilities might include recommendation systems, textual analysis, etc. Secondary consideration: how might the patient interact with data in natural, intuitive ways (not just point and click charts and lists?)

Work by Student Teams

Student Designers: Isabel Bo-Linn, Syashi Gupta, Maddy Kelly

Student Designers: Eryn Pierce, Jack Ratterree, Gloria Jing


PROJECT CALYPSO
Client: SAS Analytics
Project Length: 9 Weeks
Project Brief: Design the user experience of a brand new intelligent and self-learning data management system that automatically: discovers relevant and useful data sources and data quality issues among a pool of data sources, alerts users of these issues, makes recommendations for how to address the issues and learns to improve the quality of the alerts and recommendations based on user behavior.

Work by Student Teams


AUTISM FRIENDLY MUSEUM PROJECT
Client: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Project Brief: Develop an assistive tool to transform the central dinosaur exhibition at the museum into an autism-friendly experience. This new assistive tool (phone, tablet-based, physical artifact or other embedded technology) should customize the exhibition to better serve the needs of young adults on the Autism spectrum

Work by Student Teams

Sound Imaginings, Designers: Lisa Callister, Mallory Schultz, Monica Ampolini, Nicole Robertshaw

Imprint, Designers: Kasey Poliachik, Morgan McDonnell, Tyler Hayes. © NC STATE.

Sleuth Tooth, Designers: Matt Kubota, Blair Torres, Aubrie Phillips


WATSON ACCESSIBLE INTERFACE PROJECT
Client: IBM Watson Health
Project Brief: Design an interface that harnesses the capabilities of Watson product/s to address a range of impairment as a BVI or DDH user completes a specific task. Create a hi-fi prototype of interface and scenario video that demonstrates use of the interface in context.
Project Length: 9 Weeks

Work by Student Teams

NICO Project
Here-U Project

The Design Process for the IBM Watson Project

Matrix of Watson capabilities and user tasks
Benchmarking and User Interviews
personas & scenarios
"As Is" User journey maps
Ideation: What If exercise
Sketches
Roughs
Storyboards of initial concepts
Crits with IBM
To Be user journey maps
hi fi prototypes
Scenario video rough cuts

The Process:

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