Project Spotlight: Chicago Architecture Foundation – Interaction Concepting and Interface Design

This is the third and final entry in our series discussing how Fuzzy Math is helping the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) with its Discover Design initiative.

During the research and synthesis phases, Discover Design’s challenges were constructively reframed, and the goals were identified and validated. The next logical step was to figure out how to effectively move forward; hence, it became time to start envisioning possibilities.

Fuzzy Math’s favorite projects are ones like this that let us bring design into the earliest stages of strategizing. We starting by generating a nice, long list of interaction concepts where big ideas, little ideas, short-term, and long-term all found a place among the vast array. Then, for the sake of making the best use of time and resources, we came up with a few ways to quantify the most important features among these concepts. After categorizing these, we made a graph that showed the amount of benefit and investment that would be associated with each category. We also made a scorecard for how well they inherently matched the design principles we had made for Discover Design. Finally, we made one more data visualization that combined the benefit-investment matrix and the design principle scorecard.

The purpose of all of this was not to force any particular direction, but rather to provide a well-grounded foundation for discussing our ideas, thoughts, and concerns with CAF, who we see as having valuable accumulated experience worth bringing into the decision-making process.

When we all felt like we were in agreement about which concepts to work on first, we started making storyboards to work through them even more. These storyboards simultaneously served both exploratory and explanatory purposes for long-term plans.

For immediate next steps, we made wireframes to show different ways that Discover Design could demonstrate some of the concepts for solutions we finally arrived at, as well as how it could be redesigned to meet the goals we identified. The key for the wireframes was to show several unique ideas, and not just a bunch of variations of a single idea. Another important element was making sure to offer some ideas that could be achieved right away with minimal changes, and other ideas that were more ambitious that Discover Design could grow into.

Finally, for all of the wireframes, we made sure to bring emphasis back to the projects themselves and the thrill of making. We love making.

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