After individual observations, interviews, and collage sessions regarding how people experience their surroundings, our team formed and began brainstorming solutions to common problems for UCI students. We noticed that though all students should have easy access to viewing campus announcements, club events, job listings, and other news, current informational displays around campus are rather ineffective at capturing people's attention.
We created B.o.A.R.D (Bulletinboard of Accessible Remote Data), a modern interpretation of the Bulletin Board which features an interactive touch screen interface that enables users to navigate and locate useful information regarding the UCI Campus and its student life.
The downloadable link located near the top of the page contains a collection of documents showcasing the design process for B.o.A.R.D. Included in the zip file shows our stages of designing from brainstorming phases to assessing our prototype. Initially our problem statement was to address the lack of information provided for an important school event like Vendor Fairs. We brainstormed the idea of making a smartphone app to directly send this missing information to the students' view. However, our problem statement began to evolve when we realized that there is more inaccessible information for other school-related events.
When we had our first brainstorming sessions, we all collaborated to form over 90 user qualities that we thought were important when designing for students and their needs. By the second brainstorming session, we reduced all qualities down to 4 essential user requirements: efficient, current(up-to-date), fast processing, and user friendly. Using these requirements as guides, we reduced a dozen of design solution ideas to just one that would be B.o.A.R.D. (Bulletinboard of Accessible Remote Data).
Our rationale for deciding on a bulletinboard was from realizing that existing wooden bulletins continue to give quick information for students. However, existing bulletins are usually cluttered, making some information less visible than others. Rather than thumbtacks, B.o.A.R.D. interaction occurs through touch and NFC. It conveniently provides people with the organized information they lack. It addresses efficiency with its placement in heavy-traffic areas, allowing many people to access in a convenient manner (do not have to go to remote area). Touch screen interface is comprehensible to most age groups and backgrounds, and categorizing information makes the information quickly accessible. Also, has support for simple transferring of info through NFC.
Through the trials of a few user testing for the prototype, the only real criticism other users had with the mockups was that it was unappealing; which was not the intent of satisfying from the beginning. In terms of navigation, the individuals who participated with using the prototype did not have any criticisms to identify. The participants thought that the interface was easy to understand, had a smooth transition between mockups, and layouts for functions did not confuse the user. However, having the criticism of an unappealing UI for the system could produce issues for user engagement in the future installment.
Reflecting back on the project, my team and I realized that more user testing would have been helpful with subjective perspectives on the interface. We had not encountered a user who reported difficulties with usability, but we were still prepared to change the layout more if any signs on confusion appeared. We felt that the design is not ready to be iterated based on the lack of criticisms from users. However, we would not change the types of content being posted for the platform because this information is relevant for a variety of students.