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Back to my Dissertation

Today was the first time that I have worked on my dissertation since the submission which was nearly 3 weeks ago. I haven’t been working on it due to deadlines in my subject area. I was worried that I have been away from it for so long and panicking that I have got myself fallen behind. Although, by reading over my dissertation draft and starting with a fresh head, it was a very productive day. I usually really struggle to right a bulk in one go as I find it difficult to put words together on paper. But I dedicated a whole day to dissertation and stayed in uni later, and I have felt that it has been one of the most productive days that I have spent on dissertation.

When starting my thesis I was worried that I would find it difficult to write such a large body of work. Although, as my dissertation is based on current issues, from when I wrote my dissertation proposal, there is a lot more research that has been published over the time. Therefore, I am finding more and more to discuss, so now I am worried that I am going to go over the word count. But I think I am going to carry on writing as I planned and then when it comes to writing my introduction and conclusion I can see where I am at.

Design For Real Life Feedback

From the Design For Real Life project and presentation, Ian has sent a final bit of feedback before the submission tomorrow. He said how “It was good to see the first slides in the group presentation clearly revealing the title of the assignment, participating students and the brief. You could have subtly added each students name on each slide however to make it even clearer.” I’m glad that as a group the objective of the brief and how we approached it was clear. I do agree that by adding names, it could create further clarity of who’s project was who’s. And also could make the presentation more personal as the audience may feel like they know the person presenting more. “Your verbal delivery was confident, convincing and clear however.” I am very happy with this, as I was worried that my nerves may have got in the way of me clearly explaining my point of view. Although, this is very reassuring that I managed to contain myself and communicate my idea and concept well.

“It’s great to see a journey map included – but it would be even better if you included some simple imagery to bring it to life, along with arrow heads for direction of travel.” I’m happy that the journey map created a positive response from both Ian and the client. I am glad that I decided to include the journey map, but I do think that imagery and arrow heads would improve this. The reason why I didn’t include images was down to limited time before the presentation. Although, below is an updated version of the journey map, taking into consideration Ian’s feedback. I do think that the images make it more engaging rather than just words. And arrow heads to help with the navigation of the journey map.

Journey Map

Regards to the presentation, Ian said that “Your individual pages have distracting blue backgrounds which is unnecessary – I suggest that you remove it.” I included the blue background to fit in with the visual identity of the resource, although this has shown that it is not needed. Therefore, my research & development file all has white background to reduce the distractions. In my R&D file I have also used larger images of the final prototype this is because “Images of your work needs to be bigger to do it justice – increase the size of the outcomes in your submission for Wednesday – you can have more pages for this submission.” Prior to the presentation I was finding it difficult to show the images clearly in the limited number of slide. I was worried that the images did not show the design well enough, but had to shrink them down to fit in the amount of allocated slide. Although, by being able to increase the size of the images in the R&D file shows the prototype more clearly.

In relation to the designs, Ian said “Your use of white out type on light blue backgrounds on some of the outcomes lacks legibility.” On screen I think that the white on light blue stands out well enough for it to be legible. Although, I can see that there is difficulty with legibility when the designs are printed. Therefore, I have change all the white on light blue to dark blue. I think that this helps overcome this issue. Although, I have kept the white numbers on the poster the same. This is because I think that this works in relation to hierarchy as I want the ’06’ to be the most prominent number. I also think that the point size of the makes a difference to the white being more legible on the light blue background.

After my tutorial with Ian earlier on in the week, we discussed that the flashcards would improve if I drew them all myself. I did this for actions, places and food, but I didn’t do feeling’s down to getting it done in time. “It is good to see the development of the drawings and hope that you can produce more cards for submission later in the week.” As I have had some more time to improve on designs relating to feedback I have drawn the feeling’s set of flashcard images. I have used the same pen so it is in the same style as the other images.

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The feedback was useful, to help with improving the design elements to create stronger visuals, but also in regards to the presentation. It shows that the presentation is just as important as the final outcomes when presenting to clients. I think that in future I will focus on allocating more time to the design of the presentation to provide clarity. I will carry on practicing presentations before hand, so I am confident with delivering to an audience. But I do think that the more presentation I do, I will gradually improve. I have enjoyed this project thoroughly, and looking forward to starting the next!

Final Outcomes

I’m happy with the over all outcome and my response to the brief. This has been one of the most challenging briefs but I have enjoyed it thoroughly, as I have felt that I have learnt so much. It was apparent how much research was needed and how crucial the idea and concept stage was in relation to the design. Of course the design has been important, but the workshops have shown me different ways of thinking. Beginning the project with a group was also beneficial, especially at the research and ideation process, as it aloud us to form discussions and expand our creative thinking. I also really enjoyed having a mentor, Charlotte really helped at the beginning of the project as she gave us lots of idea’s on how to approach the brief and get passed creative block. The weekly meetings with her were also useful to discuss idea’s and whether they were functional and innovative. I really liked the fact that there were a range of different health briefs, as the workshops were useful and applied to each group. I was also very happy with our client, I loved the brief and was so happy with the feedback they gave and the support we had throughout.

I am glad that I decided to target family and friends of people with aphasia as I do think that this can help with the recovery process. I am also please that I focused on the idea of a journey through thinking time as I think that this reinforces the fact that people with aphasia’s intelligence is still the same, but communication may just take slightly longer. Dealing with empathetic design ha really shown me the importance of understanding the people you are communicating with and what effects design can have on people. When receiving feedback from the clients it was very reassuring to hear that they liked the target audience I focused on and the idea and concept. They thought that this could actually be an effective form of communication and recovery. The clients also really liked the interactivity and quality of the prototype. These were two other things that I think worked well although I wish that I presented these slightly better as I don’t think think I did this to my full potential, due to nerves.

I think that the visual consistency throughout creates a strong identity of Thinking Time. If I were to do it again, I would allow more time for printing and getting materials together to make the interactive box. This would make a more consistent shade of blue and orange to look more professional. The prototype is also too big, I had planned that it would be smaller and more compact, although due to time and materials this was not possible. I do think that the navigation of the thinking box has been well thought out. The pocket in the lid guides the user to read the leaflet first to educate them on how to communicate effectively. And the different levels within the box makes it more interactive and organised. By providing a range of different interactive elements gives the users a wider choice of communication equipment. This is important as some implements may be more useful than others, as each person with aphasia has their own individual experience. I think that this idea shows the versatility and adaptability which can create an effective form of communication.

Thinking Time Interactive Box

Educational Leaflet

Flashcards

Cue Card

White Board

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Stress Ball

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Presentation

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Overall I was happy with how the presentation went and the feedback that I received from my clients. Usually I am not nervous for presentations, but because of the amount of people that our client brought, including someone with aphasia, this was very nerve racking. Because they are experts in the area or have personal experiences with aphasia I felt a bit out of depth. Although, I felt confident with my idea so this did not effect the presentation as I thought it may have. Because of the limited amount of time that we had for the presentation I felt that there were some key factors which I thought were important to show. Firstly my idea and response to the brief, then a journey map to explain how it could be used, and then the final outcome.

When explaining the idea of “Thinking Time” I think that I clearly explained that the resource was aimed at family and friends to help communicate effectively to someone with aphasia. I also thought that I effectively communicated my idea of an interactive box, assisting the journey of thinking time to help aid recovery. I discussed these right at the beginning as they were key factors that needed to be communicated well. I am glad that I included the journey map in the final presentation. This is because I think it demonstrated how Thinking Time can work, and also highlights the longer living and more sustainable resource. When presenting the final outcomes, I wish that I bought the prototype up with me in the presentation as I felt that I would have been able to explain it better and would be able to see the design and interactive elects more clearly. I think that I may have missed important parts of the design out which everyone could have seen more clearly as a physical thing. But because of time restraints I think that this may have been too difficult in the time allocated. Although, the clients did get to come around the exhibition and look at the prototypes up close which I was happy with.

Feedback From Clients

  • The clients were very happy with all of our responses from the brief and the way that we all understood the condition. I think that this was down to the amount of research that we did and trying to understand empathetic design. It took a while for me to understand the condition and I found it quite challenging to think of an effective way to communicate. But I think that this is what made this project so enjoyable is the challenge which was set.
  • They really liked the way I targeted family and friends of people with aphasia with something interactive that they can use together. He mentioned that a lot of the time, family and friends struggle to understand the condition. But by creating a interactive resource can help to bring them together and educate them further.
  • The clients mentioned how they could see that if the Thinking Time box was taken further, they thought that it could work as an effective form of recovery. I was very happy with this as I think that it shows it is an effective design which has responded well to the brief. They were also impressed with the design and quality of my prototype which was good to hear.
  • They were impressed that I focused on the journey of thinking time, and that I realised that this was an important part of communication. I am glad that they liked this element as this is a part which I personally felt was very important. The idea of thinking time, recovery time and allowing communication time, shows that time is something always changing and the interactive box focuses on understanding the need for time.
  • The final bit of feedback from the clients was they liked that I thought about the lifecycle of the interactive box and the sustainability of it. They felt that this is a real strength but one issue that I may have to think of is the hygiene aspect. But they said that this is an idea that could be explored further to overcome the hygiene issue.