Understanding to Make



Alyssa Wang: Designer

Karl Böcker: Designer

Lester Lee: Designer

Problem and Solution Overview

While it is possible to jot down a note about a cool thing you see in the wild, sometimes it can be hard to even know what to jot down. We think it should be easy to both articulate questions you want to ask and get answers to them. By taking advantage of other people’s knowledge, we can always be actively learning. Our solution is a mobile platform that centers around location-based information and curiosity satisfaction. The platform will allow users to collaboratively share information, either by asking or answering questions, based on specific locations.

Initial Paper Prototype

Here is a link to our initial paper prototype.

Testing Process

Here is a link to our testing process.

Testing Results

Here is a link to our testing results.

Final Paper Prototype

Here is a link to our final paper prototype.

Digital Mockup

Here is a link to our digital mockup.


Throughout this design process it has become clear that there’s only so much we can design theoretically. In the end, we still have to put our design in front of a real person and see what needs to be changed. There is a lot to learn from seeing a design in action, and while theorycrafting is good, it can’t replace real user testing. It also became obvious to us that even though they may not be pretty, low-fidelity prototypes are incredibly important. By using low-fidelity prototypes, we could iterate different ideas quickly without becoming overly attached to certain solutions.

The design that we worked with undoubtedly changed as a result of iterative design. A particularly clear observation is that different steps of the iterative design process served different purposes, and therefore caught different issues that existed within our design. The tasks that we had identified and worked with were as a result of iterative design not changed, but rather solidified and refined. As a result of our design process, users can perform these tasks better and more intuitively. Having performed a limited number of design iterations, it became clear to us that more iterations would have helped in further improving our design. Unfortunately, our limited time restricted us in the number of possible iterations.

An interesting thought is whether or not more digital prototyping would have been beneficial. A digital prototype resembles a final product far more than a paper prototype ever can and hence, intuitively it may be thought that it would be a better indicator of whether a specific design is a well considered one. However, after performing usability tests and seeing users interact with our paper prototype it became clear that paper prototyping is an irreplaceable step in the design process. A paper prototype allows for a very genuine interaction between the user and the tasks at hand and poor design choices can’t be hidden beneath ‘snazzy’ visual gimmicks. Overall it can certainly be said that the process that we followed influenced our design. In our case, these changes did not alter the fundamental layout of the application, but rather made our design easier to interact with (though perhaps ease of use is fundamental).


When introducing the app:

We are developing a mobile app that will allow people to share information based on location. We would like you to test whether this interface is useful and functional for someone who wants to ask a question or answer a question. Imagine this is the screen of your phone; interact with it as you would your own phone.

When introducing the tasks:

Imagine you see an animal while walking around and you don’t know what it is. You pull up our app and see this screen (home screen). Please make a post with a question and attach an image of the animal to your current location.

Now imagine you are walking around an area you’re familiar with and want to answer someone’s question. You decide to pull up our app. Please respond to a post with an answer.

Here is a link to our critical incidents.