The Interaction Design module teaches students the principles of interaction design, and the methodologies of design thinking. These are applied to real world needs. The estates department at the University of Sussex revealed 109 barriers to accessibility on campus. Estates partnered with the Interaction Design module to develop new ideas for addresses the accessibility issues.

The University of Sussex in based in Brighton, UK.  The campus was designed by modernist architect Sir Basil Spence in 1961. While the campus has the prestige of being a representation of Sir Spence’s work, upgrades and refurbishment have restrictions due their heritage status.

Problem to Solve

Sussex Estates needs to improve the campus experience and accessibility for students, staff and visitors.

Tasks

Conduct analysis of existing design and environment, map processes, develop concepts, create wireframes and user test with low-fi and hi-fi functional prototypes and present final concepts to stakeholders.

  • Conduct empathy investigation to identify potential pain points
  • Conduct research through interviews and surveys
  • Journey Map experience
  • Concept development
  • Interactive Wireframes
  • User Testing
  • High-fidelity prototype
  • Produce video narrative

Solution

There were four groups who each identified four different areas for intervention:

A rideshare app for carpooling and parking lot space availability indicator system to reduce congestion and on campus

A wayfinding app for navigating the interior of buildings

A redesign of cycle pathways to improve safety and access for both pedestrians and cyclists.

A redesign of standard issued crutches to increase comfort and safety for those with temporary injuries.

Results

The proposed solutions were well-received by the Estates Department and put forward to consideration for implementation. 


Empathy Investigation

I designed a series of empathy tasks for the groups to use to investigate the campus. Each group was given a persona to inhabit and series of tasks to complete such as getting a cup of coffee, checking out a book and finding a location with only the acronym provided.

Visually impaired student

Staff with limited mobility who cannot use steps or stairs

International visitor who cannot speak or read English

New staff who forgot their phone

Interviews

The students then conducted semi-structured interviews with students and staff to learn about their experiences with the campus. I mentored them in writing questions and how to conduct interview. In particular, I focused on the importance of prompts and follow up questions.

Journey Map

The students developed personas and journey maps from their research. I provided instruction and guidance on how to use their observational, interview and survey data to inform the elements that should be included in the journey map. In particular, to consider the emotional state of the user during their experience.

Concept Development

I guided the students through iterative rounds of the research and ideation to test their theories and identify an appropriate and viable concept. One group explored concept for addressing the parking issue on campus. Another group explored potential wayfinding solutions for navigating the campus. 

User Testing

I instructed the students on how to design task scenarios and conduct user testing sessions. I mentored them in the techniques to analyzing data to look beyond what was said to the meaning behind the words. I introduced and instructed on how to use the POP and InVision applications for developing click through prototypes for user testing.

Video narrative

I mentored the students on how to develop storyboards and provided instruction for using video editing software to develop a promotional video of their final product.  


Results

The students learned that interaction design and design thinking is an iterative and analytic process. The ride share and wayfinding apps have been adopted by the university and are being implemented to improve the campus experience.