Initial mind map
Avenues of interest
1. Check out process
When diagnoses, updates, etc. are provided, patients and their guests/caretakers have little time to process their emotions and thoughts before their appointments are over. This creates a huge possibility for lingering questions to form as people walk out, drive home, etc. How can I design an environment that comfortably facilitates such questions (or concerns) within the hospital so they can be properly addressed before checking out?
“Sound is an element that’s integrated with other sensory experiences like touch, texture and movement.” When receiving email alerts, the accompanying sounds can sway our feelings surrounding the notification. Matthew Bennett explains that “the right amount of optimism and energy [in a sound]” can bring “the feeling of a calm, supportive friend.” How and where can audial alerts be incorporated throughout the hospital so that blind patients can comfortably process and internalize what to expect?
3. Building for the blind
In this TED Talk by Chris Downey, he explains that by designing a city with the blind in mind is a great way to prompt considerations that can extend to improve the experiences of many. In this Minecraft project, young girls were able to design and visually consider the effects of their decisions. How can the act of building be used for A) the blind to gain a sense of spacial awareness or B) improve the non-blind’s understandings of the blind’s environmental needs?
- Can we reconsider hospital spaces to become educational centers for health literacy?
- How can the check out process make it easier to address questions/concerns?
- How might we create more inclusive and better medical experiences for non-English speakers?
- How can we sustain a sense of companionship for the patients? (or patient — staff), patient—caretaker)
Prior to class, we were asked to read this article by Catherine Getchell, director of the Office of Disability Resources at Carnegie Mellon University. Since the ADA was passed in 1990, there have been various improvements for accessibility such as modified exams in Braille and guide dog allowance on campuses. However, Getchell emphasizes that such measures are not only subpar, but also outdated. Since the ADA was passed, there have been little to no revisions. This means that despite our advancing society, areas such as technology are still largely unaccessible to people with disabilities. She emphasizes the importance of designing with accessibility in mind, rather than making it a painful add-on after the fact. By putting these two insights together, I’m making a note to design with modifiable accessibility in mind.
In addition, Getchell recalled a personal experience in which she had difficulty filling out a form for a routine dental appointment. Her difficulty was due to the stubbornness of the office’s staff and their unwillingness to accommodate to her needs. This made me think of Kat Holmes’s point in Mismatch that everyone is different and needs accommodations here and there, but people with (usually visible) disabilities are treated as if their accommodations are too strenuous and don’t deserve to be addressed out of need, but rather charity. The idea that people with disabilities must live their lives based on what others are willing to allow them is unsettling! As we learned from the “permanent, temporary and situational” diagram, no one is permanently able bodied. (256 words)
Back to process
One thing that stuck out to me about this lecture was that despite the ADA, many basic needs have yet to be addressed for people with BLV due to the documents outdatedness. I am curious about the more fundamental or daily mismatches that occur in their lives that have yet to be addressed, and want to revisit one of our initial videos for research: Chris Downey’s TED Talk, “Design with the blind in mind.”
Additionally, none of my research since my last update has indicated a strong need or desire for our idea of a post-appointment “thinking area” meant to solicit questions/concerns from patients prior to leaving the hospital. There’s no direct relation between this solution and the BLV community. In fact, it seems more (perhaps too) widely applicable to healthcare centers in general. Part of the brief was to design an experience specifically pertinent to the BLV community in the context of UPMC. As a side note, in an initial interview, I noted that people in general might find a space like such to be anxiety-inducing. I can imagine this sentiment ringing especially true given the situational nature of hospital visits.
While looking into more common or daily mismatches, I noticed 2 prominent categories:
- urban (city living)
- social (understanding/assistance)
While mapping out the social information (from Love Blind Foundation in Taiwan), I realized the coexistent nature of people with BLV and their communities. Their site stood out to me the most because of the abundance of resources that were clearly derived from people with BLV directly. For example: FAQs (addressing the physiological nature of blindness), a “Hall of Fame” (sharing stories of exclusion) and infographics about the social etiquette people should be aware of when interacting with people with BLV. In the beginning of the project, I thought spaces for educational purposes (spreading information about being BLV to sighted individuals) might be one-sided or presumptuous, but I’m seeing through the nature of this website that such can be a reciprocal experience. In one of their promotional videos, there’s a line that says, “If there are enough people who understand, we can all be the same. Let’s help everyone see the same world.”
Please note that at this point in the process that I have paired up with a teammate, Danny Cho.
Similarly to the Minecraft project I referenced in my original mind map, guests can “build” miniature cities with prompters that help them consider BLV mismatches.
Context: Chris Downey’s TED Talk, “Design with the blind in mind.” If you design a city with the blind in mind, you will design a greater city for everyone.
How might we: “build” miniature cities with prompters that help people consider BLV mismatches?
An exhibition with visual messages and artifacts that relay proper etiquette to foster understanding (and long-term assistance/consideration) for the BLV community.
How might we: relay proper etiquette to foster understanding (and long-term assistance/consideration) for the BLV community?
I can see these two focuses working collaboratively in the same space as well. Certain social factors tie into general urban living!
How might we: tie the two together?
Customer journey map
Ashli and Rachel
Ashli Molinero is Director of Disabilities Resource Center for UPMC. Her team hosts workshops, clinical mandatories and fairs about disabilities for the purpose of education. For the most part, their services are internal and only become external when presented with partnerships. I expected the informational aspect of her job, but was surprised to find out about the daily troubleshooting she’s responsible for. For example, a patient once called her team to complain about a person with disabilities being mistreated on their grounds. Her team was in charge of consulting the involved parties to resolve the issue in order to prevent it from re-occurring. Additionally, due to the pandemic, she says her most frequent call topic is about whether or not certain patients are exempt from wearing masks. These everyday examples were striking to me as they illustrated how many simple questions people have about interacting with people with disabilities. I like that her office is a straightforward resource as it can help prevent people from operating based off of assumptions. In my research, I am realizing that many people are willing to address mismatches but don’t know how. This makes me wonder if such a hotline exists for people in general who would like to know more about these daily occurrences. As for Rachel, this was our second time meeting her! She explained UPMC’s NDA rules that were set up for this project. Basically, we can’t use their renders or mention UPMC directly in our work. (211 words)
Back to process
“How might we?” statement
How might we educate people within and around the hospital about creating a fairer world* for people with blindness or low vision?
- A world with less mismatches through people’s conscious efforts.
My team’s current ideas and notes
3 potential solutions (deliverables)
- Physical “building” game
- Digital app that serves as an extension for the above (for those who can’t attend in person; COVID)
- An exhibition showcasing a scaled up version of the game (VR?)
These considerations are making me wonder if our initial “game” idea was actually a game or just an interactive activity. What part of it compelled us to call it a game? There were no specific missions, wins or scores. Perhaps we should start renaming it.
What are the benefits of doing it in a compact size vs. large scale?
Using personal accounts (stories) for context, we will create an activity that pinpoints areas of opportunity* for social learning.
- Situational prompters for mismatch remedies. For example, an account of a cafe experience would be an area of opportunity for etiquette education re: pouring etiquette.
Revised area of exploration
How might we educate people about how to properly approach, assist, and interact with the people with blindness, low-vision conditions in an approachable way with real stories of experiences?
Addressing the brief
“Often empathy doesn’t manifest on a personal level until it is experienced first-hand. In healthcare it’s crucial that care providers, visitors, and staff work towards providing empathetic care, responding to the varying needs of patients on all spectrums. This must be done professionally, thoughtfully, and confidently. Opportunities exist to leverage public forums to demonstrate inclusivity and sensitivity.”
Guests will receive blocks that teach them about how to remedy mismatches. Their goal is to match and fit the appropriate remedial methods to aid the stories’ pain points.
By reading these blurbs and testing the way the blocks fit, people will learn about ways to remedy social mismatches. Additionally, one benefit of making this interaction digital is documentation. People who attend can save and send to themselves what they learned and people unable to attend in person (esp. due to COVID) can still benefit from the information second-handedly. We can look into ways to convert this into a permanent collection for long-term reference that extends beyond the lifespan of this exhibit.
Feedback and takeaways
Ikjong posed an interesting consideration regarding the final piece: what do people do with it? This led me to think about the following:
- Do people take the final pieces home? Can they serve a further purpose of kept? Can the information continue to be activated?
- How is the information activated? We can consider NFC, QR or ML shape/color recognition.
- If people fed the completed pieces into a slot(?), could we solicit a feeling of satisfaction for completing the activity and learning the information?
- How many times do we expect each person to participate? In other words, how many pieces will they complete? Side note: we should come up with some terminology for consistency.
- What are the logistics behind how the pieces will be taken apart (if at all) for the next round of participants?
- Similarly, how will the pieces be provided in the first place? Are they given in packs? are there free-for-all pick up stations?
Refined “How might we?” statement
Our target audience is people around patients (such as professional caretakers or hospital guests). When a patient is diagnosed with BLV, the people around them must take responsibility and make appropriate adjustments in their actions and considerations to alleviate possible mismatches. As such, it would be ideal to test our prototype amongst all age groups (some groups might need assistance reading). Side note: we should consider audio and translation). If there is an average age group for hospital visitors, we can consider making them our primary audience. However, as Kat Holmes suggested, a well-designed solution for one particular group can extend to many. I’d like to take this approach because the ultimate goal of our project is to improve the general public’s understanding.
Meijie and Sabrina
Issue: people make assumptions about people with disabilities and how to interact with them. Parallel: people might assume that certain pieces fit together even though they do not match and belong to the same set. Conclusion: the interface, rather than the physical pieces will help users determine whether or not certain pieces fit/belong together. Additional Benefit: people will have to be more engaged with the text/information.
Daphne and Yiwei
- We can consider making different levels within the interface for different audiences and literacy levels. For example, professional caretakers vs. accompanying guests.
- For testing, consider lo-fi versions in Figma (prior to physical prototyping).
- For midterm presentation, prepare a few specific examples (stories) for puzzles.
Stories from Love Blind Foundation
The following is a translated excerpt:
“Speaking of the bus driver, I have infinite gratitude and appreciation for him. I take the Taichung Passenger City Bus №100. Sometimes when I get on the bus and can’t find the coin slot, the driver will stretch out his warm hand and gently take my hand with the coin to guide it smoothly to the fare slot. He also tells me where there are empty seats, sometimes even asking customers to help me find one.
When there are situations where the bus is full, the driver will swiftly ask passengers in the priority seats to make way without a hassle. This kind of situation is very rare. People are usually willing to help me and offer their seats naturally, even without the driver asking. There have also been many times when the driver has applied his hand brake to personally help me off of the bus. It makes me feel shyly embarrassed as everyone in the car has to wait for me and the driver risks passengers pointing their fingers or yelling at him.
What’s even more lovely is that there have been many times where my wife has accompanied me to the bus stop and asked me to wait while she parked the car. Suddenly, the №100 bus stops in front of me and the driver will ask me to get in. Before my wife can even see my shadow, I’m gone!
Mr. Driver, thank you for your hard work. Your enthusiastic help has increased my confidence and hope in the learning process, and has also allowed me to obtain better learning results.”
- When extending your hand to help with the fare deposit, do so gently. It is best if you introduce yourself briefly and make your action known to avoid startling anyone.
- When riding, be aware of the seat you are in. If it is a priority seat, be mindful about boarding passengers who need it. Indicate to them which seats are empty and guide them if desired/necessary.
- When informing someone of their stop, do so after the bus has come to a complete halt.
*Note: some blocks will be sets of 4. We need to make different variations.
The following is a translated excerpt (translation in progress):
“To make a good cup of coffee, in addition to the types of beans, the more important thing is the control of water temperature, firepower and time. We use a siphon coffee maker, which is easier to overcome in terms of firepower and time, but the water temperature is more difficult to control. Most people only need to put the upper pot into the lower pot filled with hot water and see the bubbling situation to measure the temperature. But for the visually impaired, this method will not work. Our response method is-in the process of boiling water, as long as the temperature reaches 90 degrees, the coffee maker will make a “ㄉㄡ” sound. But if you hear “ㄉㄡ” several times in succession, it means that the water temperature has exceeded 90 degrees. The temperature required for each type of coffee is different, so it is based on 90 degrees. If the temperature is below 90 degrees, it will drop from 90 degrees to the required temperature; otherwise, increase it. Therefore, in class, you will find that when everyone is making coffee, they will put one ear towards the coffee pot.
The problem of measuring the water temperature is solved, and then there is time. It is not difficult for us to control time. Most people can use a timer or directly look at the second hand on the watch to measure time. We all measure time by counting down. In addition to these, the “making the volcano” before brewing the coffee, the “infiltration” during the countdown, and the final stirring and pressing action, each step will affect the flavor of this cup of coffee. For example, if the “volcano” is not done well, it will cause oxidation, stirring will also cause oxidation without glass, and the time and strength of pressing down will affect the concentration. On the surface, these latter actions seem to be easier for visually impaired friends than the previous water temperature, firepower, and time control, but they are not. Because as long as one action is not done, this cup of coffee will change its flavor. Because of this, everyone’s frustration often arises from this. But as long as we practice more, the coffee we make will not be worse than others!
For me, although I still have some eyesight, I still can’t see the bubbles that pop up, so I still have to listen to the sound to measure the water temperature. I often burn my hair because I get too close to the gas. Even so, I still enjoy it. And I’m a person who tends to get nervous, so the coffee made every time in class is worse than usual. I am very upset, but there is really no other way than to make myself less nervous.
We have only taken nearly two-thirds of our courses, and we will encounter more difficult beans and more difficult water temperatures in the future. Even so, my love for coffee remains unabated. My love with coffee has just begun.”
- Kindly warn someone when their ear/face is too close to the coffee pot.
- If the environment is noisy, it may be hard to hear the “do” sound that indicates a boiling temperature. Kindly inform the coffee maker if this is the case.
Lo-fi user testing in Figma
Feedback, Daphne and Yiwei
- What is the right amount of pieces for users to sift through? Too many = too tedious. Too few = not challenging.
- Organize pieces into categories (i.e. all base blocks are one color) for visual sorting. Curved vs rigid pieces will help with some process of elimination.
- Story categories: people can choose what kind of story they want to hear rather than receiving one(s) at random.
- Micro Museum
- Can Ask Meh?
Continuation of storyboard
First round of 3D prototypes!
Rigid = infrastructural mismatches
Rounded = interpersonal mismatches
*We will later use colors to categorize types of stories (i.e. transit, leisure) so that users have the opportunity to choose their base story types. This will give a sense of choice and interest.
The rigid one works well, but the round one is difficult to piece together. It might be difficult for users to see how those pieces fit together even if they match the information correctly. That would be an unnecessary barrier for them in completing the activity since the focus of the problem solving should be on piecing the information, rather than the pieces, together. The pieces are supposed to be an aid, not a barrier. Users should be able to see how pieces might fit together easily, but utilize the text to figure out which ones do belong to the same set.
Guests: Wayne Chung, Gretchen Mendoza (UPMC), Matt Zywica
- shapes: explain meaning + fit; maybe simpler cuts
- emphasize audience + purpose
- emphasize “etiquette”
- consider taking out “Extension: MICRO” slide; causes confusion about primary idea
Reflection and next steps
After receiving and testing our first batch of 3D prototypes, we decided it’d be best to simplify the cuts and shapes. Please refer to my above notes under “First round of 3D prototypes!” for details. Our goal is for the focus to be on the information and etiquette learned, rather than the shapes—at least, they shouldn’t be a barrier! We should emphasize the use of the blocks as visual supplements (referencing the study Daphne shared) as well as the metaphor behind fitting the right ones together. This will make it clearer to the audience why we chose to utilize the blocks.
At present, our audience and their relation to the activity are mentioned in our speaker notes, but not so much on our slides. For clarity, we can create an additional slide with an infographic to show their position in the concept.
We’re also interested in further exploring the 1-minute, 10-minute and 20-minute guests that Matt mentioned. At present, we’re looking into creating a 3-column chart that details how they might interact and perceive the experience differently. For example, someone who only spends 1 minute looking at the installation might be prompted to explore a website or app on their own time. We can try to cater to guests who don’t feel inclined to or can’t spend a long time trying the activity.
Tabletop interface mapping
Initial iterations for app and tabletop
User journey map (cont.)
Deep dive for user journey map (above) with focus on installation experience stage
Space and prototyping
As we are reaching a comfortable point in our research, we’re now re-shifting our focus to prototyping. Some questions we are addressing:
How does this space look like from afar? How will people know to interact? We are looking into furnishing, spacing and visual elements that will give a welcoming and friendly (but not childish) feeling. Additionally, we are considering ad deliverables (i.e. posters around the hospital) to make it clear that the installation is open to hospital staff members and guests.
What kind of furnishing is most appropriate? Because of the explorative nature of our installation and activity, we want the furnishing to be dynamic and casual. I’d drawn a few initial maps with rectangular tables and benches laid out in a gridded format, but they clashed with the installation’s concept. We moved on to modeling unique half-circle tables (each table will serve as a station with a different category). Some of our considerations included: tabletop space, individual comfort, opportunities for observation and block dispensing. We plan on using LED screens or projections for the center extrusion (purple) to display 3D motion graphics that indicate correct/wrong matches.
Which space within the hospital is best? While reviewing the renders, we found this space within the waiting room. It is its own distinct section, yet isn’t closed off from the rest of the waiting room. Part of our reasoning in choosing the waiting room was the convenience of staying close by.
Incorporating instructions in the interface
Whenever Adobe releases updated features, they include pop ups in the interface that point toward specific tools, windows, etc. This makes it simple and intuitive to follow new instructions. Because the majority of our users will be first-time, we want to use a similar strategy. Rather than providing a separate pamphlet (for example), the instructions will be included in the interface for easy guidance. The main con of a separate instruction set: terminology can be confusing > not sure what components the instructions are referring to.
- if multiple blocks are on the table at once, it will display the one that is most newly placed
Notes: The “done” button doesn’t need to appear on all slides. The interface will assume someone is done when the next piece is placed. Also, there was one extra slide for a 4th piece. At the end, the “close!” tab is just an extra option.
- tap to begin > do you need accessibility options?
- edit receipt shapes (differentiate between build and browse cards)
- add more detailed notifications
- allow for multiple cards on the screen at once (for comparison)
Revised Xd prototype (wireframe)
Should hospital installations be joyful? What is appropriate and meaningful?
- Art is meant to provide solace in otherwise sterile hospital spaces.
- They shouldn’t blend into the existing color or visual schemes. It was found that colorful pieces have one unexpected use for returning patients: way finding. The pieces serve as landmarks for navigation.
- Large programs such as NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine have been implementing famous and colorful works such as Keith Herring murals.
- Likewise, RxART is an organization which commissions top contemporary artists to dream up site-specific installations for hospitals across the U.S.
- Re: Takashi Murakami design in a Washington D.C. CET scan room: “A CT or PET scan can be a frightening experience for anyone…[but] this room is pure joy.”
- “Our intention is to offer patients and their families a place of respite and a place of beauty where they can feel hope in uncertainty,” said Chrys Yates, program director of the Center for Humanities in Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
Feedback + notes
- Consider neutral colors for the home page backgrounds that will emphasize the colors of the blocks and assets
- Lessen the number of tutorial pop-ups at a time to maintain clarity
- Lessen the card/block count threshold (card overload)
- Rename base + supplementary blocks to something more intuitive (i.e. story + info.)
Additional screens + edits
Yiwei reminded us of a story printer in the UC building on campus. To summarize, it prints randomly-chosen stories with the push of a button.
- exciting to receive a physical memento
- too much small text on one small paper > reading = low likelihood
- no exclusive or personal content (stories can be found online) > discarding = high likelihood
We augmented this experience in three main ways:
- personalization: guests will be more likely to keep the prints as mementos + their long-term memory of the experience will be attached (Emotionally Durable Design)
- summarized information: content includes personalized note from story contributors + a simple, list summary of their experience; no info. overload
- microsite link: directs them to personalized microsites that contain further information for future reference
Guests have the option to print receipts. The receipts are personalized to enhance their long-term memory of this memento and experience. In addition, there are custom links to microsites, where they can look back in the future on the stories and information they read and learned with Mismatch. In addition, when new stories are added, they’ll have access beyond the lifespan of the physical installation. This will serve as an ongoing educational database.
Developing the space
Supergraphics, colors, furnishing
Many Zoom calls and tries later, we developed an accessible table that would serve our interface, blocks and receipt well. It has a reactive screen, workspace and block receptor. As for form, we met with product design professor Eric Anderson, who advised us to pay special attention to the amount of space on and under the table. Additionally, to ensure the form was and felt sturdy, as chairs and wheelchairs would be constantly moving around it. We came up with a comfortable design that suited all these needs.
In line with our moodboards, we wanted our space to be neutral to highlight the interface and assets. We played with block shapes + speech bubbles to convey the concept of our installation and created supergraphics for 3 main components:
We found it important to design for different levels of interaction, as people in the hospital might have different amounts of time or feelings of commitment. We wanted to ensure there were different components that fit those varying needs. To cater to those passing by or with less time, we designed a mural. For those passing by, it’s an attention grabber. For those with less time, it’s an excerpt or taste of the installation highlight: the interactive tabletop activity.
Please see mural interaction at 5:07 here.
Next, we tested our supergraphics to see how they came together in the space. Here are a few of our iterations/considerations.
- Leave the pillars in the back as is (wood) to give attention to the mural, which is the focal point for those passing by.
- Lighter floor lends itself better to the tables + their labels.
- Do the color blocks on the ground provide any information? Can they be swapped with the labels completely?
The main point I want to emphasize in this reflection is my gratitude for the opportunity to expand my understanding of accessibility through this project. Throughout the research and development phases of our concept, I learned to prioritize it as a constant consideration rather than an afterthought. The assigned readings and guest speakers provided impactful information that permeated this project and my personal outlook! I particularly enjoyed Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design by Kat Holmes. To highlight a few points:
- “One small exclusionary misstep can have an amplifying negative effect. Conversely, one small change toward inclusion can benefit many people in a positive way.”
- “When we remedy a mismatched interaction, we allow more people to contribute.”
- “In school, there are rules against physical bullying, but exclusion/rejection are viewed as necessary lessons and traumas.”
This reading really heightened my sense of inclusion/exclusion and highlighted the strong importance of eliminating barriers.
In two of my other classes, I developed accessible projects because of what I learned in studio. For example, one was about the accessibility of Instagram and the lacking nature of alternative text. These works brought forth great conversations about responsibility and neglect, emphasizing how my personal decisions may lead to either inclusion or exclusion. Of course, as Holmes mentioned, some information can only be obtained through experience. I look forward to applying the information I have now and continuing to expand my understanding.
As for the development of this project, I was happy to work on an environment with many explorative components. I feel very satisfied with the multi-sensory installation that we created and the experience I gained specifically from designing the supergraphics and interface. These are aspects I’ll want to highlight when applying for jobs. This project also brought forth a lot of considerations about systems (as shown through all of our service design tools), and I’m currently considering a summer opportunity about museum installations to further my understanding of research and development phases.
My partner and I have different strengths, so we were always able to divide the work easily with trust. At first, we experienced difficulty collaborating through Zoom—we would delegate the work, finish our deliverables and meet to discuss. However, the separation sometimes caused us to work in different directions. We mediated this by chatting/meeting more often and setting a clear vision ahead of time. Overall, we worked well together because of our different skillsets and ability to communicate ideas freely. I felt pushed to try new programs, ideas and styles as a result!
If I were to develop this project further, I would be interested in seeing how it could be differently configured in other spaces. I’m inspired by a project called MICRO, which brings a mini museum around different neighborhoods to eliminate the (socioeconomic) barriers people face when visiting actual museums. It would be interesting to see which of our components (mural, reactive interface) might be able to travel and work in different environments. After all, our concept is that people are the root of change when equipped with the right information! Our installation should meet as many as possible to grow its impact!
Thanks for reading :-)