In the midst of the pandemic, The NC State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) partnered with master’s students in the NCSU College of Design’s Graphic Design Department to tackle the potential for a knowledge graph to support the work of intelligence analysts.
The Research Challenge
Students worked with LAS to delve into the following question: How might the design of an intelligent interface enable an analyst to collaborate with a knowledge graph to understand relevant data and forge useful insights?
For the design students this played out in three primary areas:
- Visualizing the knowledge graph interface
- Creating user interactions with the knowledge graph
- Incorporating machine learning capabilities into the user experience in order to alleviate the identified pain points.
Over a 9 week period, the grad students collaborated with LAS to move through a user-centered research process which included developing personas, scenarios and journey maps, interviewing potential users, benchmarking existing tools, moving through convergent and divergent ideation methods, developing alternative task flows, prototyping possibilities and, ultimately, creating scenario videos of proposed interfaces and experiences.
Using research garnered through interviews, secondary research and observation, students mapped out the user experiences of intelligence analysts as they complete daily tasks.
Through a cycle of divergent and convergent thinking, design students iteratively moved from early sketches to storyboards to task flows to—ultimately—high fidelity prototypes and scenario videos.
Over the course of the semester LAS team members and potential users from the intelligence community visited the studio virtually to critique the projects, providing valuable feedback to the teams.