This is my Google Innovator Project journey. You can find the previous entries here:
RACE TO THE FINISH
The Project Design app has gone through a lot of revisions since my last update. A lot. I really tried to focus on what was going to be the most useful and essential features for the user. I trimmed down existing screens and completely deleted others. I realized that there wasn’t any reason for a log-in screen, as all of the data would be stored on the individual’s phone. This allowed me to delete two screens and refocus my efforts on building databases to store information locally.
The design of the app has been unified. I created the graphics and logos using Canva. I wanted to keep the essence of the Design Thinking graphic created by the d.school, namely the color choices and simplicity of design, while also adjusting the content to fit the esthetic of Project Design. As the app is intended to be used by students and teachers, I tried to use visuals that would quickly inform the user about each step of the Design Thinking process.
As I worked, I kept using my final GoogleEI check-in as motivation to have a completed app, or at least a working prototype, ready for submission. This led to many nights and weekends spent coding, coding, and coding some more.
This is the screen that appears when the app is first opened. The graphic is a variation on my original design and has been simplified to include the background gears, representing the way all of the pieces of a project click together. This graphic is also the icon for the app that appears on the phone.
The home screen acts as a menu for each of the Design Thinking steps. Whenever the user hits the back button or the home icon, it will bring them to this screen. In addition to the five steps of Design Thinking, I’ve included a sixth option, ‘Learn’, which gives the user the opportunity to learn more about each of the steps by taking them to a website I created with additional resources. Each of the subsequent screens has a short explanation of the Design Thinking steps, with the understanding that if the user wants to know more about each step, they can choose the ‘Learn’ option.
The ‘Empathize’ screen provides the user with the three options:
- Explain what problem or issue they are trying to solve
- Provide insight into their user and how they will benefit from the solution
- Add notes in an additional space provided. This is intended to be a resource as the user brainstorms ideas or makes connections to the ‘wicked problem.’
The user can enter in text for each of the fields and delete the content as necessary.
The ‘Define’ screen instructs the user on the purpose of the Point of View (POV) statement. The user can then enter their POV statement. I chose to add the ‘trash’ icon with the option of selecting the text before it is deleted so that the user does not accidentally delete their POV statement.
The ‘Ideate’ screen was designed to mimic the rapid brainstorming that usually happens with sticky-notes during this stage of the Design Thinking process. With their finger, the user can write down or sketch ideas on the notes. Each note can be saved to the phone’s photo gallery to be viewed at a later time.
The ‘Prototype’ screen provides the user with a journal that can be used to document their work as they build their prototype. The user can enter text or select an image from the gallery. Notes can be deleted as needed.
The purpose of the ‘Test’ screen is to allow users the chance to quickly take notes as they receive feedback on their prototype. The screen was designed to allow for quick note entry, with the ability to quickly delete notes. The idea was to create a to-do list of sorts as the user gets a better understanding of how the prototype can be improved.
The intention of the app is to give users a better understanding of the Design Thinking process and allow them to document their design process while working on a project. The ‘Learn’ screen connects the user to the Design.Make.Change. website, which has activities and resources to gain a better understanding of the Design Thinking process. The ‘Learn’ screen also gives a brief background on David Kelly, the creator of the Design Thinking process.
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to release the app on Google Play. My hesitation was that I felt the app was not as professional as I would like and it felt like I was releasing a rough draft of the app. That being said, the app is at the point where people need to use it so that I can gather feedback and improve the design/functionality. The best way to get it on people’s phones is to release the app on the Play store. I’m also hoping that I might be able to find someone with professional coding skills who’d be interested in taking the app to the next level. If the app generates some interest in the Play store, perhaps that will provide an incentive for someone to partner with me.
The other reason I decided to publish to Google Play was to gain a better understanding of the process. As a teacher, I encourage my students to publish their work. It only makes sense that I should do the same. It was definitely a learning process to get my app on the Google Play store and I’m glad I can now guide my students through the process.
While the app is not as professional as I would like, it does accomplish my goal of giving students and teachers a resource to learn more about the Design Thinking process. The app still needs some work. I have started sending out the prototype to select people so that I can gain feedback on how other people will use the app and try to determine if there are any bugs that need to be worked out before releasing the app to the public. I still intend to make an iOS version, but I want to wait to see the response from the Android version before I get too far in the process. I have some nerves about releasing the app publicly, but I feel like what I stand to learn exceeds any negative feedback I might receive.
I have learned so much by going through this app design process. I think it has also made me a better teacher. I ask my students to go through the same design process as they create products for my classes. I became a student, and as such, found myself struggling to finish a project, having to find my own resources, prototyping and revising continuously, wanting to give up multiple times, and ultimately creating a product that met my initial goal. I can empathize with my students as they work on their own projects. For me, that’s been the greatest reward from this experience.