Grad Studio II: Fleat
Software: Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, Wordpress
Category: motion graphics, video sketch, web interface, mobile interface, product design, exploratory research, generative research, evaluative research, human-centered research methods, teamwork
All design grad students at Carnegie Mellon take Graduate Studio II, which is a group project studio course. My team members were Katherine Betermier, YooMi Lee, and Gretchen Pinard. In spring 2010 our class's sponsors were Microsoft (in conjunction with Microsoft's annual Design Expo) and Motorola.
As part of the Design Expo, we were given the theme of service meets social, and asked to design a product idea that could be viable in the next 1-2 years (so not feeling constrained by current technology), but that served a unique niche and could be justified financially.
After several rounds of ideation, we focused on the idea of food, inspired in part by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Michael Pollan, and other outspoken proponents of making healthy eating accessible. We went out and conducted touchstone tours with local consumers, restaurants, and local-food groceries, and settled on three initial ideas: shopping, education, and DIY.
Further research (both generative and field, including a collage session and a really inspiring trip to the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank) led us to choose the area of shopping for food. We learned that people generally know what it means to eat healthily, but there are other factors that keep them from doing so (time, money, etc.), and there was sometimes a lack of awareness of healthy proportions and servings/amounts. This also tied in with the idea of curbing the obesity episdemic.
From here, we began thinking about how to connect people to others based on their food interests and purchases. But in our refinement and field testing, we saw that there wasn't much of an audience for this...but we did identify a specific audience in the process: mothers. Two of our team members are both mothers of young children, and we all were able to gather more data from the mothers in our own networks that corroborated this need. We conducted a survey to get information on this group's priorities, needs, and views, and got results from ~100 mothers and 10 fathers. The biggest struggle they reported was a lack of time (planning ahead, time and energy, availability for cooking due to their work schedules, determining what to make).
This led to the dawning of the concept that ultimately became Fleat. This system has mobile and web-based components, allowing users to catalog their purchasing habits (by swiping a card at the checkout counter). After they collect enough data, the system can offer mobile recommendations and a grocery list for recipes and ingredients to improve specific aspects of their diet. The website serves as a data repository and archive. There's also a feature that harnesses group buying power, by letting users join "flocks" and enter into weekly challenges, where if enough people in their group buy a particular item, everyone receives a coupon for an item or store.
My Role: Ultimately we all collaborated on every aspect of the project. I did a touchstone tour and generative research, created scenarios and personas, worked with my teammates on solidifying and finalizing the interfaces and interactions, and scripted and assembled the video sketch (and recorded the narration).