Bad!User!Bad! Assignment

This short assignment documented the design thinking process, from selecting a design problem to research, solution & testing.  We were to select a product or service with commonly reported poor performance or user experience.  For this assignment, I outlined my research findings, initial ideas, refined design solution, and prototype testing.  I follow with the inherent challenges from the selected solution.

Research: I brainstormed my own ideas for products & services, and explored online forums, articles, & blog posts for broader results.  I narrowed down five choices commonly reported:

  1. Cheese graters – hard to clean, can injury hand, & always left with “cheese nub”
  2. OBGYN appointments – psychologically & physically uncomfortable, unappealing environment, & uncomfortable gown
  3. Women’s apparel sizing – no standardization
  4. Computer keyboards – non-intuitive layout & hard to clean
  5. Department of Motor Vehicles – poor service, long wait, & unappealing environment

Selected Problem: The Department of Motor Vehicles.
I identified all the common complaints & identified the user.  Part of the challenge with this problem is that almost everyone in the US is a “user.”  The user is heterogeneous and consists of everyone over 16 yrs old who needs a state id or license.

Initial Ideas: My first concept was based on my own ideas on the ideal DMV experience – basically a beautiful environment with amazing service, punctual user-centered appointment programs and hassle-free online component.

Refining the Problem: The first solution was completely self-centered. The DMV serves many people with many different ideas of an ideal experience. I shared my concept with a friend and her reaction highlighted the need for further ideation.  She didn’t like my ideal DMV at all, which highlighted the need to think about serving a broad user base.
I conducted interviews with friends, family, and coworkers and felt like I got a more holistic view of the user’s needs.

Design Solution: Based on all the feedback, I envision a DMV that is first an attractive and community-oriented space. The building is “cradle-to-cradle,” meaning the building and landscape are the highest level of an environmentally friendly space.  The prevalence of glass, open floor plan and green space will feel more like a park than a government building.
The service is user-centered: you can bring your own ID photo, most services are available online, and inspection appointments are timed & monitored by an app.
To minimize frustration from wait time, there will be a Starbucks, or other similar food & beverage cafe area.  The green space will promote calm feelings and opportunity for pleasant outdoor “waiting areas.”

Prototype Testing: This posed a challenge for modelling, but I created a makeshift building, cars, & green space to simulate the traffic flow and accessibility.

Challenges: Despite what I consider to be a great solution, there is still the issue of heterogeneous user needs.  I polled a small sample, so my solution is inevitably biased by the input I received.  It is nearly impossible to serve everyone’s needs.  However, I feel that the proposed design solution is a significant improvement over the current system.

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