Week 3 | Andrew Qu

This week’s session took the form of a workshop led by Design for America (DFA). DFA is a student organization that focuses on creating local and social impact through interdisciplinary design. We began the workshop with a broad overview of what constitutes good design and the individual steps one could take to improve their own design process. It was quite fascinating to see how through a couple steps that were individually very simplistic, a comprehensive design process could be constructed, ending in a novel product.
The main activity during this workshop was an accelerated design simulation where we started with identifying a common problem where there would be a need for a solution. The problems stemmed from “Brian” a blind entrepreneur who recently moved to a new city and situations similar to his. Specifically, he found difficulty in engaging with investors in a normal manner because his disability would prompt different treatment from third-parties. We felt the core problem thus far then laid in normalizing spontaneous and planned encounters, while simultaneously tackling difficulties arising from a new and unfamiliar environment. We ended up with a wearable- digital glasses. We designed a subtle accessory that could tap into social networks and personal storage to aid Brian in recognizing faces and navigating full rooms of people.
This workshop was a learning experience that helped his expand my maker-mindset. In creation, there needs to be a balance of perspective, imagination, and objectivity. While design may seem like a simple concept, it can actually be an extremely convoluted process full of twists and switchbacks. Going forward, I now have a greater appreciation for user-perspectives and delimiting imagination in design, thus keeping objectivity and rationalism from limiting initial mockups and ideas.