Papers and Essays
Design Thinking Project: Bucketheads Booty Call
This was a class project in DTC 101 to create a concept app that solves a problem that a group of characters in a fantasy world might face.
Empathize and Define
The Star Wars franchise has many different groups of people and species. I will be focusing on the Stormtroopers. Stormtroopers are humans that have enlisted in the Imperial Army. They have opposable thumbs. There is a 6 ft height requirement for a volunteer to enlist in the Imperial Army. Stormtroopers live off rations for their nutrition requirements. Given that they are human, they likely need 2,000 calories, water, shelter, and 7-8 hours of sleep.
Stormtroopers have been shown to perform the same roles regardless of gender, though, there are less female stormtroopers. They are required to sleep with propaganda messages playing in their ear. They have numbers instead of names. They believe in following orders, not improvising, loyalty, and obedience. Their work is their life. Stormtroopers are capable of living regular lives with receiving pay and vacation time. It is unknown if stormtroopers have friends or romantic relationships, but given that they are human, I would find it likely. Stormtroopers are known to live in barracks across the galaxy.
A problem I have seen with Stormtroopers is their lack of companionship. As humans’ companionship is one of the basic life needs. Companionship can be anything from friends, relatives, or romantic partners. Without any of these forms of companionship a person can feel socially isolated and lose socialization skills.
Ideate, Prototype, and Test
I thought of five different solution ideas. My first solution idea is a social media app that allows users to share status updates, photos, and videos. The second is a video sharing app that allows users to share videos of different lengths. The third is a dating app that allows users to connect with other Stormtroopers looking for a romantic relationship. The fourth is a messaging app that allows users to send messages, create groups, and find others with similar interests. The last is an event finding app that allows users to post upcoming events, find events, and join virtual events. My three favorites are the dating app, the social media app, and the messaging app. The social media and messaging apps for its practicality and the dating app because I find it humorous.
I will be creating a Stormtrooper Dating App called "Buckethead Booty calls". This app will allow users to create a profile with pictures, descriptions, interests, romantic preferences, and what they are looking for through to get out of the app. After creating a profile, users will be matched with each other and be allowed to search for other users in their area. After matching with another user, they will be able to message them, set up a meetup, or decline a match. Other tabs the app will need are a profile tab, a messaging tab, and a matches tab. There will also be empire motifs.
The home page will show unread messages, recent matches, and a profile snapshot. The preview of unread messages will have the user's profile picture next to the message and the name. Because this is an app for Stormtroopers, I have chosen to keep the color scheme mostly black and white. The matches tab will have an image of a match with 2 buttons. The left button at the bottom of the screen will be to message the match. To the right is the ignore button that skips the match.
To test the prototype, I sent it to my family members that are obsessed with Star Wars. This is the feedback I got from them:
"Consider a little color… Or maybe a little gray. I think the blue would be cooler… Like the original storm troopers had a hint of blue a couple of places. Maybe for the messages in the chat"
"Make it more obvious the matches are profiles. The toolbar icons are a little chonky."
"The tool bar icons are clunky…maybe make the messages just be an icon with a dot that means you have unread messages and the matches given more vertical space?"
"Add more color to make it interesting. You could use a lightsaber as a verified checkmark."
After receiving the feedback, I adjusted the toolbar to make the icons a little sleeker and added light blue for a pop of color.
Testing Feedback Prototype 1
To test my second prototypes, I sent them to the same family members. This is the feedback I received from them:
“Can you add some color or something to the matches pics? Or come color on the cogs…I get storm troopers are white, but it’s just a lot of white on white on white. It’s just a lot of white…”
“It’s good. I would like to see more of the app.”
Reflection on the Design Thinking Process
I believe the potential impact of this app could improve the quality of Stormtroopers. The added feeling of companionship can reduce the feeling of social isolation within the Imperial Army. With the reduction of social isolation, this app could also boost spirits amongst the Stormtrooper ranks. By boosting their spirits, other problems that Stormtroopers could also be improved on. Meaning this app could have major cultural impacts on Stormtroopers and the imperial army.
I found the design thinking process to be a valuable resource during this project. With the target audience being fictional characters from a fantasy franchise, the observation step of empathize was helpful in understanding Stormtroopers as a group. The “define” stage helped me understand some specific problems that Stormtroopers face from their point of view. Ideating was a natural process to me. Thinking of solutions to a problem is something I enjoy doing. Prototyping was my favorite stage. Designing my solution using Adobe Illustrator to make a visual representation of my idea. Testing was a helpful step in developing my prototype. It allowed me to see where I can improve and what was working. Overall, I found the design thinking process to be a valuable resource that helped me not jump ahead to creating a solution right off the bat.
Ecommerce: The Modern Mall
This was a class project in DTC 101 to curate content based on a topic, The topic I chose was the history of Ecommerce.
The History of Ecommerce
For my curation project I chose to research the history of ecommerce. When I first started the project, I was looking to create a timeline that walked through the history of ecommerce technologies. The part I struggled with the most was finding images that were public domain. I did, however, find it easy to find information on the history of ecommerce.
As I developed my concept, I researched ecommerce and the history of the technologies. I read papers that showed the development of ecommerce in the US and other countries, I researched timeline designs to get inspiration on the layout of my design, and I searched for images related to ecommerce. Additionally, I did more research on copyright laws and how they apply to images. When thinking of what I wanted the project to say about ecommerce, I thought of what I think ecommerce really is. To me ecommerce is the modern version of a mall. There are department stores, independent stores, service providers, and even more. We can even shop online too.
It took a lot of searching to find some of my materials that are public domain. Images of CompuServe and the Boston Computer Exchange company were hard to track down. I searched through many public domain photo search engines to find images that I thought would both represent the topic and go cohesively with the rest of the images. To help with the cohesiveness of the images, I also put a semi-transparent overlay over the images. The addition of company logos also proved to be more difficult to find as the logo is a trademark of the company.
The piece I created walks the viewer through the history of ecommerce with images and short descriptions. The viewer learns about the first ecommerce technologies and what revolutionary technologies aided in the progression of ecommerce. To me the biggest advances were in the 1990’s. With eBay, Amazon, and PayPal being launched. All three of those companies are worth billions today and are used globally. The next major innovation in ecommerce that I listed was Facebook Marketplace. By launching Marketplace, Facebook not only introduced social media shopping, but they created a new subcategory of ecommerce, social commerce.
Data and How We Interact with It
This was a class project in DTC 101 to collect two sets of data and create a visual display of the data. The data I collected shows the correlation between screen time and spending habits.
Interacting with Data
Throughout the unit we learned about numbers, data, and culture. We learned about data, what it is, how we use it, and how we interact with it. We learned how data can be manipulated and that just because data is made of number doesn’t mean that a dataset is neutral like a number. Lastly, we learned how our own data can be shared and used by different kinds of companies without us knowing.
In Lesson 3 we read Why Numbers can be Neutral but Data Can’t which stated “data--and education technology for that matter--are not and cannot be neutral. While often presented as numbers, and derived from applied mathematics--such as statistics--data are not synonymous with numbers or with math. ... What differentiates data from numbers is that numbers are mathematical abstractions, an idea. Because numbers are symbols or objects used in math, they can be neutral. But data, originating from the real world and real people, cannot” (Ekowo, 2016). The importance of recognizing the bias in all data is important to our everyday lives. Each number individually is neutral, but once put into a dataset, the numbers become biased.
In Lesson 4 we reviewed the terms and conditions for a social media site. This lesson is also where we learned how companies use and share our data. Kashmir Hill explains “Target assigns every customer a Guest ID number, tied to their credit card, name, or email address that becomes a bucket that stores a history of everything they've bought and any demographic information Target has collected from them or bought from other sources” (2022). Essentially, Target collects data about all of their customers and uses that for marketing purposes. Hill goes on to claim “Target got sneakier about sending the coupons. The company can create personalized booklets; instead of sending people with high pregnancy scores books o' coupons solely for diapers, rattles, strollers, and the "Go the F*** to Sleep" book, they more subtly spread them about… So the Target philosophy towards expecting parents is similar to the first date philosophy?” (2022). This shows how the sharing of our information is a vast market most of us are unaware of, and companies will slowly show their cards.
After reading that I read through the terms of service for the banking app I used. The WSECU Privacy Notice states “The types of personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include: • Social Security Number • Credit history • Account balances • Income • Transaction history • Credit scores” and continues “Reasons we can share your personal information… For our marketing purposes — to offer our products and services to you… For our affiliates’ everyday business purposes — information about your transactions and experiences” (2016). Simply put, this says that WSECU shares personal data, which can include credit scores and social security numbers, for affiliates to market based on. Since I already use WSECU for mobile banking, I used that app to track my spending, apart from three purchases that were paid in cash and one that my credit card was used for. Since I already use the WSECU mobile banking app and will continue to use it, I went into my account to edit the information sharing fields that I could.
The unit broke down the importance of knowing how our data is being used and shared, as well as knowing the difference between numbers and data. We learned how companies and apps we use store and share our data amongst each other. Lastly, we learned how we interact with data in our everyday lives.
Ekowo, M. (2016, April 29). Why numbers can be neutral but data can't. New America. Retrieved December 25, 2022, from https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/numbers-can-neutral-data-cant/
Hill, K. (2022, October 12). How target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did. Forbes. Retrieved December 25, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/?sh=37050c7a6668
Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) and WSECU Service Company, LLC, QCash Financial, LLC and One Washington Financial, LLC. . (2016, January). Privacy Notice. Olympia, WA.