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Collaboration Station

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The Collaboration Station

A physical interface for creating meaningful connections in a world filled with abstract digital interactions.


Objective

College students are full of great ideas, and there is no better time to build something amazing in such a diverse environment. However, students at big universities often find it difficult to connect with the right people. In a world full of forgettable digital products, the Collaboration Station is a high-fidelity prototype of a physical interface that makes finding the right people fun and engaging.

Context

  • Team of four

  • 10 weeks

What I Did

  • Experience and Interaction Design

  • Prototyping

Classmates discuss an early prototype while Harrison (right) takes notes.

Classmates discuss an early prototype while Harrison (right) takes notes.

The Research

We began by sending out a survey, conducting interviews, and posting up graffiti walls in public areas. From this research we learned that finding interdisciplinary collaborators for creative personal projects is often very difficult due to physical and social fragmentation between different communities on campus. From this starting point we ideated and landed on the solution that was most feasible within our timeline and budget.

The Process

Throughout the project, we created multiple low fidelity prototypes and conducted multiple user testing sessions. As we learned from these experiences and discussed them as a group, the idea evolved. The relationship between designers and developers was challenging to maintain as we both tried to work under the constraints of feasibility. In the end, we were able to make something which functioned properly, stayed within budget, and upheld the values of the design idea and prioritized the user experience.

Matt makes sure the final prototype is working properly before the showcase begins.

Matt makes sure the final prototype is working properly before the showcase begins.

This flowchart describes the possible interactions at the different stages in the journey for the different users.

This flowchart describes the possible interactions at the different stages in the journey for the different users.

This technical diagram shows the how the Raspberry Pi handles the physical devices.

This technical diagram shows the how the Raspberry Pi handles the physical devices.

Matt adjusts the wiring prior to the start of the showcase.

Matt adjusts the wiring prior to the start of the showcase.

Benefits of the Physical Form

While developing a physical interface was a required constraint of the project, there a few key benefits to translating this interaction flow to a physical form. The first is delight. The act of using a physical phone and pulling a lever to print out your results is fun. Doing this makes the entire process stick in a person’s mind, and encourages them to come back more than a digital product might. The second reason is a sense of space. By placing these devices in physical environments, there is a sense of physical connection to the people you are matched with because they too have been here, using the same device. Finally, the third reason is efficiency. The Collaboration Station is able to handle multiple flows for multiple users with only three physical inputs, and five total modules.


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