Week 3 Reflection


This week we had a workshop led by Design for America. DFA is a student organization that focuses on solving real world problems with well designed solutions. The workshop started out with a high level overview of what it meant for something to be well designed and the steps involved in properly and efficiently designing something. I’ll admit, when these steps were first presented to me, I thought that they were fairly simplistic and even if not explicitly followed, most people would implicitly follow them in some capacity. However, as the workshop continued, I would see the value of them and how their simplicity was their greatest strength. I thought the most telling graphic they showed was one that described how they actually are constantly in multiple steps of the design process, and are constantly iterating and improving.

So What?

The second part of the workshop involved us designing a solution for one of four scenarios that involved a blind person in Austin, Texas. The problem my group tackled was one of a college student who felt that she wasn’t able to participate in the “university experience” due to her disability. When we began, we immediately started coming up crazy devices that would help her navigate a crowd and what not, but we quickly realized we weren’t really addressing the problem. The girl said she had been blind since childhood, so she definitely knew by this point how to manage herself day-to-day. The key to socially integrating into a big group like a University is to connect with people. We felt that the key was for her to meet some people she was comfortable around. We switched gears to create a service that would connect blind students with other students, a service along the lines of Friendzie or Tindr. We also found a really cool device called the Blitab, a Braille tablet for the blind, that we thought we could use to make the service more accessible. We felt that since at the core this was a social problem, we needed a social solution.

Now What?

I felt that this workshop was an extremely eye-opening experience. The biggest thing I took away from it was that when coming up with a solution for a problem, you need to be aware of the perspective of the user, and try and remove your personal biases. While that may seem obvious, it really is the hardest part of designing something, especially if it’s something where you’re not the target user. Even in such a short, simulated exercise, I found that keeping your perspective correctly aligned was the key to finding a solution to the problem. In the future, I feel that I will need to keep that in mind to find meaningful solutions to whatever problem I decide to tackle.

One thought on “Week 3 Reflection

  1. The idea of helping a blind girl to blend into college social life and make friends is very interesting and creative for me. I am surprised to see your team add special and customized functions on existing product to allow the user experience differently. I believe your solution will have a meaningful impact for the girl.

Leave a Reply