Stage 1: Analysis
As a group, we first got together to brainstorm different ways we could improve the campus. A lot of the original ideas that were presented were directly from the Observation 1: Space assignment we did earlier. However, the idea that stuck with all of us was the one that we ourselves had experiences: people not paying attention while using their phones.
Our problem: People tend to run into each other while walking through narrow doorways.
People affected: Everyone who is distracted because they are in a hurry or are distracted on their phones.
After we had identified the problem we originally had chosen the main Atlas building doors on the East side as our intended testing spot. However, we settled on choosing the doors just past the East side library entrance to Norlin Library as our location for two primary reasons. The entrance doors on the left of the library are only a single door on either side, which increases the chances of people bumping into each other. In addition, because of finals season, there is a higher amount of foot traffic through those doors, which means more chances to test our solution.
Stage 2: Ideation
After we had determined our problem statement and our intended location, the next step was to brainstorm solutions. We had decided in Stage 1 that a good approach to narrow down our focus would be to focus on using LED light strip with motion sensors. This was in large part due to the time and budget constraints of our prototyping phase.
We came up with several different ideas, from LED lights turning red and green to signal "Go" and "Stop," to including an interactive element with piano tiles on the floor that people could step on to light them up. We ended up discounting that latter idea because we figured it would cause more foot traffic by drawing too much attention to those smaller doors. That design solution would probably have worked great, if we were solving a different problem.
Stage 3: Prototyping
We ended up settling on three variations of the same general idea for our final focus. These three variations were based on the same concept of an LED light bar above the doorway, but they varied in their activation (motion sensor or remote) and the LED light color themselves. Based on those three basic designs, and with variations in light color and position on the doorway, we had over 20 different prototype designs that we could then potentially test out.
It was at this point when we were getting ready to test the our prototype practically that we realized we had forgotten to plan for something: our ability to test this prototype in Norlin library in the first place. The "Official Proposal" document seen below was pitched to Carl Stewart, the building manager for Norlin Library. With his permission, we were able to temporarily install the LED lights on the door frame and were able to capture the results for review later.
Stage 4: Final Implementation
For our in person prototyping we opted to go with design #3 because it was the most realistic to be able to implement temporarily. In order to test every possible solution involving that design, we mainly decided to change two factors: the position of the lights on the door and the color of the lights themselves. We tested our prototype by waiting with a remote and turning on the lights when we saw two people approaching the door from either side.
We found that when the LED lights were mounted above the doorway, it tended to grab people's attention, but only from one side. To further improve this design we would put lights on both sides of the doorway so that people coming from either angle will easily see the lights. Mounting the lights on the sides and bottom of the doorway caused more harm than good because it grabbed people's attention and caused them to look away from the person they were about to run into.
As for the color of the lights, we found that red had the strongest effect in getting people's attention. Most people seemed to ignore or not notice the lights when they turned on blue or white. However red instantly attracted to attention, probably because of its social connotation. Despite red's attention-grabbing ability, we found that people completely ignored the lights when they were left on. They had to be turned on right before someone walked through the door to be noticed properly.
We got feedback throughout the hour that we were testing from people who had been a part of the experiment. Their feedback was mainly about the location or color of the lights, such as the suggestion of placing them on the floor instead of above the doorway. We were able to directly test that feedback after it was given because it pertained directly to the mock-setup we had created. For the next iteration of this design, much more feedback would need to be collected because a future rendition would incorporate motion-sensing lights which introduce a new, un-reviewed factor into the design.