When solving a problem, it’s easy to get lost in the process. As more variables are introduced, it can be hard to keep everything straight and predict where you’ll end up. This is especially prevalent in UX or service design projects where astute organization and accurate documentation mean the difference between an innovative solution and absolute failure.
For the past six weeks, I have been honing my ideation and prototyping skills in order to create an app for my hometown of Hillsborough, NJ. Why would a township need an app? Good question. I believe that a township app could help maximize their communication efforts for a fraction of the cost of what they are currently doing. Although the project would require budget, the township throws away so much money by creating paper flyers, posters, sandwich boards, and other forms of advertising that just doesn’t reach the intended audiences.
When we create projects within a team – especially those that take months to complete – we fall victim to the worst thing imaginable if we don’t user test: failing to actually solve the problem we were supposed to. But how could that be? You’ve worked for hundreds of hours to solve that PARTICULAR issue for your target audience. Your team has gone back and forth with revisions, and leadership approved of the final product. How could you actually fail to produce something that doesn’t yield success?
If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that paper rules. Paper houses the scribed words of history, brings joy through art, and helps us document our life experiences. While many people believe that paper is falling to the wayside due to the digital revolution, paper is still as relevant now as it was centuries ago. Think about it. The physical presence of one piece of paper is enough to qualify a human being. A birth certificate, a diploma, a resume, a marriage license, a letter of recommendation. The list goes on. It’s amazing how this material can stimulate creativity or rigidity – just by how we envision its purpose.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about towns in New Jersey lately. While I’ve never lived anywhere else but my childhood home (besides dorming for college), I’m trying to be proactive about my future. In the next two years or so, I have aspirations to move in with my partner. After being together for nearly five years – it’s about time. During the mindless hours on my computer at night when I should really be asleep, I find myself frequenting Apartments.com and Zillow in the hopes of finding a place that we could one day call home.
I’m standing in the kitchen at one of my friend’s houses and from my position, I can see a movie playing in the living room. The dialogue sounds vaguely familiar…The characters too, but I’m not about to disturb the viewing family in order to find out what’s playing. So I wait until a snack break and ask. Oh right, how could I forget Mad Max?
It has been debunked that creative genius appears in a singular blast of inspiration. Contrary to the belief of many, true creative genius takes time to foster and that there are actually many patterns that can be followed to produce beautiful and functional solutions. To foster creative genius, individuals spend days, months, or even years trying to perfect their product or craft. During this time, they ideate. Ideation is the process in which you concentrate on creating as many ideas as possible in order to come closer to a feasible solution. Although it is meant to be a quick process, ideation can take up long stretches of time depending on the complexity of the problem you are trying to solve for. Be prepared to stretch your mental capacity, have patience, and it is almost guaranteed that you will be able to come up with some great ideas!