UX Blog (2018/2019) 
sensory experiences
For this week the brief was to design an experience that centers on human senses, using whatever media possible as long as it communicates an interesting idea. To accomplish that we first traveled through two particular locations in London: the Greenwich foot tunnel and the Emirates cable car (lucky me..I’m scared of height!). Those location were chosen to find interesting phenomenons related to senses. I love that just on my second day this amazing city is used as a main inspiration. During the whole day people recorded the walk through video, audio records, thermometers, data from the smell they heard ,the things they saw, the things they felt. It was weird at first but really helpful in the long run. 
For the presentation on friday me and my team (composed by the amazing Chien-Yun and Jing) thought of all the interesting experiences happened in London until we discovered (through one of Chien-Yun's video) that a lot of people do not care about public signs, even if they’re incredibly big or printed in bright colors. So we made an experiment: Do people behave differently if a sign is colored or positioned in different way? We made some signs to put next and in front of a toilet door and see what happened. We concluded that both color and position stimulate people’s sense of sight and affect the whole behavior of someone who probably simply wanted to use the bathroom (sorry about that!) I learnt that interaction between humans and the environments are much more subtle that I thought; that I have to start tinkling outside the box and always find different approaches and point of view for a research and that I absolutely have to stop thinking as everything is a problem that I have to solve.

the UX of Conversation
For this 2 weeks the project consisted in designing a conversation between a human user and a machine. The new group (composed by Byron, Michael and Jhonny) is amazing and everybody is really good at something different. We get along really well and with no problem we spent this week deciding what to do. with the two research methods (AEIOU and Speed Dating) well defined and understood we tried different options and ideas to get the most interesting thing out of this week. 
In the end we though of something a bit sci-fi, but not too detached from reality: a conversation with a delivery drone (something that Amazon really have in mind). What would be a perfect conversation with a drone? Does it include audio records,video or projections perhaps? Is the conversation easy and fast or it should be always assisted by some kind of human help? What could go wrong? Is the user a specific human being? We started thinking of all those possibilities and the more we researched the more we loved what we chosen. Can’t wait to make a model out o it all!

the UX of Conversation
The task was not easy but we were determined and really happy about the topic. We did not want to make just a simple model to act with, but to built an entire research around it, with data coming from both the methods; slides with every possible point of view on the topic; an app to show page by page (from the homepage of amazon.co.uk to the one telling you that you’re drone is coming); a printed infographic; a drone with motion abilities, speaker and projection and then the actual conversation, created to satisfy almost every client in different and weird situations.
Everyone worked hard with the best they could do, and it shown. My task consisted in making the model for the drone, making the app pages and to link them together; to came up with storyboards for the speed date method and in the end I also acted in the scene (improv is definitely not my thing).
The most fun I had was of course with the storyboards, where I tried to imagine all the way the conversation could go bad or good (a delivery is sent, a package is broken, a dog is involved, the drone explode etc etc..), all in an “Ikea manual style” because it made everything more funny and weird. The end result was great and beside some frights with the projector, everything went really smooth. Receptions were mostly positive and the project seemed to satisfy everyone, even if a better explanation of the whole process might have helped. This week I really learned how to cooperate with a group, how to share ideas (without forcing mines) and I discovered how a research method can really help in the final act. 

design a digital intervention into the built environment
The stakes were all there: a team made of amazing people; an interesting project and two weeks to go. It seems everything was going ok and yet something was off. Maybe it was a lack of chemistry, maybe it was stress but the team never really bound together. We wasted entire days choosing locations and changing ideas but in the end we finally came up with something. The final urban space decided was a Shake Shack in Covent Garden: a place made of client and regular people; outside and inside and with strange but interesting dynamics related to the purchases. So my task this time consisted in making a behavioral map with Nat of every costumer that had something to do with that space and long creepy espionage beside, it was nice and I was in good company. What we discovered was interesting: the different 
moments in the ordination (the line to pay, the places to sit, the buzzer) are not well placed and user-friendly. And also that the politics related to the places someone can sit can bend depending to many different factors. So with all this information mixed with the ones taken from the interviews we had our model: a simple metaphor of layers and how these may be variable depending on the contested place.
Nobody want a difficult group to work with. But this is real life and in the future I will probably work in even more complicated situation so it’s better get used to it. I honestly was scared to finish the week without anything to show but with hard work and with a bit of empathy we solved our differences and made it till the end of the week with great results.

design a digital intervention into the built environment
This week the task seemed easier: Make a digital intervention out of the model from the last week. There was just one problem: we did not have any real physical model. The one from the last week was just a basic, simple idea and we got rid of it as soon as possible. So what now? 
After many and many attempt to find the perfect model we made something (obviously in the last seconds of the last day) similar to a football table, where the teams were replaced by costumers vs the Shake Shack and the score represented the way soft policies can affect customer experience.
Then we thought of adding a digital colorful element to indicate what could happen if the public was able to understand how this invisible rules and policies actually work and to see if this could improvise the situation and reduce the clash between staff, customer and non customers. So we add the different lights:
A green one to signifies open space, for people who are invited to join since the table are free.
A yellow one so you can be aware that you can come in but priorities will be given to the costumers since the place is already a bit more packed.
Finally a red one means that the place is packed so you have to purchase something at SS to sit in the area. We initially thought the light represents the invisible cultural understanding and the hidden rules of policies at the place, but after making this model, it helped us understand this could potentially be not only a representation, but a guide and clearance for others.

design an experience that alters how time is perceived
For this week we were asked to use two new research method: Territory Map and Experience Sampling.
So we tried to write down practically everything that came to mind, even not related to time or without a final goal in mind. Fun is what pushed us forward.
After that we group the most interesting ideas until we had our minds clear. What we did not want to end up with was a trivial substitution of a clock with something else (like "instead of counting seconds you will count how much does it take to a leaf to fall to the ground”) so we thought of all those experiences that may let human feel time in a different way (like Déjà Vu and its delusion of having already seen something in a previous moment of your life). We thought of the idea of past and future and how one can affect the other and vice versa.
And finally we prototype some kind of board game based on how your plans can change any second, how chances are’t equal for everyone and how future can affect your present by making you choose different path in life.

design an experience that alters how time is perceived
As sometimes happens in the second week, we got rid of the whole first prototype and decide to focus on another project. We started studying the phenomenon of Déja Vu, which is the illusion that make us feel like we have been to or dreamed about a place or situation that we actually have never experienced before. It can be seen as a built-in time machine that inside our brain or our body, allows us to see the future. Then we started thinking about fortune telling and future self, trying to answer questions like: Which you is..you? The person you are today? 5 years ago? Which aspect of you is you? Your physical body, your thoughts and feelings? Your action? Who am I? So we tried to answer all those questions in different fields to have a more clear vision of the whole concept. 
For example we discovered that in philosophy one of the demonstration for those complex concepts lies in the words of the Greek Historian Plutarch. He used the story of a ship that changes one its parts every year until nothing remains of the original ship. This is a classical example of the paradox of the persistence of identity: Are you still yourself when every single part of you is replaced?
In science we noticed that human cells do almost something similar: except some almost every cell get replaced every specific number of year.
In physic, specifically quantum physic, an electron in an atom doesn’t have a location until it’s measured: it’s not at both places, it’s in no places.
The final project then consisted of a funny video call between us and our future selves. We asked questions for the future and we asked for advices to show how future can affect your present.

design an experience that enables or enhance a good death
With the new team (composed by Patrick, Michael, Deepika and Lara) we tried to study the case from every possible side. The argument seemed extremely interesting but at the same time we didn’t want to appear light or indiscreet. So after an initial debate about what is best to avoid we came together and we researched on multiples levels, divided in antemortem, death and postmortem. My part of the research consisted mostly in the last side, as I am really interested in everything that consist of new ways to make a will or to leave a trace on this planet long gone after we’ve been here. So my literature review was composed of funeral rituals around the word; the link between death and digital media (and the role of social networks and the internet in general in practices of grief and mourn), what is a digital grave and some patents for a digital enhanced gravestone composed of Qr codes and screens.
As final model we came up with a physical coffin that was linked with color coded threads to every topic we searched. The end result seemed interesting even if there wasn’t a specific single topic.

design an experience that enables or enhance a good death

Last week. Pressure is at its max and you can feel the anxiety all across the group. Some problems came between us and that slowed a bit the creative flow. Luckily after some conversations we came up with a fantastic idea: breadcrumb. A way to transform everyday object and places to make a connection with a passed one. So let’s say that you want to leave a will or a message to your loved ones attached to a place. Thanks to our app  now you can leave a story behind everything you think means something for someone. I designed the app from the point of view of the receiving person, some of the power points and made the logo for the app.
The feedback seemed quite positive even if people obviously let us notice that not everyone want to spend the last days of their life recording things instead of just living the moment with their loved ones. Another problem was that the app should be more human, more attached to daily life experiences and looked too much like a final product, not a concept.

Design a multi channel experience to engage new audiences in global issues.
New week new project! This time the team is composed by me, Byron, Constance and Deepika and I gotta say I am so lucky to be a member of this team. I already worked with them at lest once already and they’re all extremely professional and passionate in their field. I just hope I can do the same.This week we met Applied Works who explained in detail our brief and our role with the famous Chatham House. They need to change the way they engage with a younger and different audience, and we’re here to make it possible. We had some brainstorming sessions on the meaning of Macro UX, on which road to choose and on what would be the most interesting way to go forward. We searched what Chatham House could offers to its readers and decide to focus on fake news, as it seems to be a really interesting relevant topic. We went on with our literature and practice reviews and looked for academic journals and examples of design opportunities related to the topic. The presentation was ok. We explained our points of views and we used DirectPoll to connect a bit more with the class. We had fun and I’m really proud to be part of this team.

Field research activity
The moment has arrived, there’s no escape: the interview week is upon us! Jokes aside I was a bit nervous about interviewing random stranger, first because I was scared to mess everything up and then because probably I would be the first to be annoyed if someone ask me something while I’m around. Luckily my team was there to support me and in pairs we interviewed half London in a week with no problem. Considering people with an age between 18 to 25 as our perfect target for the interview process, we went to Trafalgar Square, Birkbeck University in Euston and UAL Central Saint Martin at King’s Cross for a non stop 3 days adventure were we collected at least 50 interview on what people believe about Fake News and what do they think about it. To better focus on specific findings we then asked people to screen shoot news around the web that they thought were fake. And for last we made a Word Association Exercise with the class. All those methods combined  (coded interviews, screenshots and words associations) resulted in the discovery of 3 important findings that then we presented:

The omission of information is considered fake news.
Young people want individual, uncensored viewpoints on social media.
Preference for certain news outlets constructs a biased worldview.

On Monday the presentation in class was exceptionally good, probably the best I had so far: we exposed everything as we were reporter for a fake channel and we acted consequently. We had so much fun and the class seemed to enjoy it.

Based on our 3 findings the goal this week was to make a physical model to help us better identify design opportunities. As always we participated in a couples of brainstorming sessions and different ideas started to flow. We went from installations to labyrinths to museums dedicated entirely to our topic but nothing that really excited us. We had to make something that combined our findings, our creativity and our knowledge and at the same time to show at a prestigious association as Chatham House. Saying that we were in a bit of a panic was a compliment. But fortunately we found something that can show from every point of view all of our studies: a Theme Park, specifically a fake news themed one, where every ride is a design opportunity and a representation of how people feel in relation to fake news. It consisted of a Roller Coaster (representing the emotional journey you experience on social media), a food stall (they attract you with many wonders, but when you finally get your food after a long queue it may disappoint you. This represents click-bait and how head-line driven news eventually disappoints), Carnival Games (representing the scam-like news that people still read for the entertainment value), Lucky Draw (representing the feeling of anticipation for notifications from your social media) the merry-go-round (representing the infinite scroll in social media and the act of scrolling on social media feeds), the pamphlets (representing Chatham House’s current approach with their communication strategy, as  people don’t read their long reports as the medium is not engaging) and finally the VIP Tours (representing the exclusivity and access to resources that Chatham House offers for a membership even if nobody pays for a theme park guide). We spent the rest of the week building the model in every little detail and we showed it to the class.

pre-mid-point presentation
As the presentation with Applied works was near we take advantage of this week to identify potential design opportunities from our model and the feedback to show and discuss. We started as always, with a brainstorming session culminating in what could be some ideas for ours next steps. In the meantime we refined our presentation starting from the contents and finishing on the graphic layout. This week we mixed the this a bit, as the other team members asked me to step back a bit to have their part in the aspect of the final presentation. I had fun teaching them how to better represent our ideas on the slides and they taught me a lot on general collaboration and team sharing skills. Next week we will have the mid-point presentation. I’m really excited to show our findings so far to a professional company.

mid point presentation
This week we took our giant model, we wrapped it in plastic sheets and we went to an amazing office in Old Street where the Applied Works guys were ready to listen to what we did in the last weeks. The presentation went smoothly and professionally and I must say they seemed really impressed with what we did. The Theme Park idea seemed to work really well for them and even if we would never ever present a theme park as a final solution, the team enjoyed the metaphor we used to represent the relation between Chatham House and its public. Back to class we talked to John. He suggested to take a step back and look at how we could incorporate these ideas at a systems level. After all, this term is based on a macro level UX. 
So the question now was how to make a plausible solution for a Royal Institute of International Affairs from a Theme Park (weird combination of words, I know). We thought of something like a ‘youth centre’ where young people can be more informed on how Chatham House and journalism in general works. We tried to see things in a more long term point of view, as this exercise helped us better focus on a final idea. After various changes the youth centre became an annual festival organized by Chatham House itself, as this might help to spread their voice. Next task will consist to decide how to fill this festival. We want to do everything in the more specific and detailed way possible.

designing the program
So it is decided: Chatham House Open Day. An event that can start small-scale and can became bigger based on the audience reception. We designed a program based on different theme for every event, as Chatham House focuses on different global issues. We used St. James Square Garden as a perfect place to local the event, as its positioned directly in front of the Chatham House Building. We went there, studied the place, made some photos and realized it would be a perfect place for an Open day. Back at class we decided on 3 main attraction to better establish the theme of the open day. As our first year is themed after Climate change the uniques attraction designed are an Ice Cream Statue, a Cycling Fan and a Snow Chamber.
The Ice cream statue represents the glaciers melting as a result of Global Warming. People can go up to the statue and touch it/take photos with it. We don’t want our ice cream to melt as it takes away the joy of eating it. But sadly, we let the glaciers melt. From the surface we only see the water droplets dropping and accumulating on the ground of the statue. Scanning the QR code or using one of the iPads provided will show you another reality. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. This attraction shows the impact of loss of ice habitat on polar bears specifically.
The cycling fan represents the collective effort of people working together would be the key steps towards slowing down global warming. The energy generated by people cycling powers the fan in the garden, instead of using a power source. This encourages sustainability while instilling the importance of collective effort in addressing climate change.
Finally the Snow Chamber acts like the reward for the previous act of powering the fan through cycling. It is an engaging experience that can encourage people to share content related to the open day (#CHOpenDay) and to spread word about the event. This could get young people to think about climate change and perhaps provoke some deeper reflection from this fun installation.
I photoshopped them in a realistic manner as they were part of the park and then we focused on what the program would be. We decided to include talks, performances, workshops and artist that could collaborate for the festival. We then analyzed a possible digital campaign including socials like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and decided on an uniform look.

week 18: ALMOST THERE 
User Testing & Refining Design
Almost there. The week started with a call from Applied Works to update them on our research and they gave us some feedbacks for the final presentation. This week was all about user testing so we went around asking what people think of every aspect of our project, from the style of the social media advertisements to the contents of the program. Based on the feedbacks we made some changes, especially on the presentation side. After some talks we decided to give more space to the content of the program rather then the advertisement of it. We narrowed the content and went really specific on everything, from the artists to pick to the exact hours they will perform. We also refined Chatham House’s website to make it look more stylized to our own. Next week, the final one, we will have a meeting in Chatham House itself. I’m extremely nervous and I really don’t want to mess it up, as I learnt to have a profound respect and interest for this association.

final presentation
Last week. Presentation is upcoming. We had a short meeting with Applied Works before presenting at Chatham House and they gave us some suggestions. We made some last second adjustment for the presentation and we were ready to go. For this week I focus on making the best graphics possible and I tried to make the best slides possible. So we spent the rest of the week preparing our speeches and prepared for any questions relating to the research. Luckily the feedbacks from Chatham House were extremely positive and for some unknown greater force I did not screwed up anything. They seemed to enjoy every aspect of it and they also discussed a bit with us about the problems they face in connecting and communicating with young people. It really made me feel part of something important and professional, someone really listened what we had to say and they needed us and our creative ideas. I’m so glad to had a group so great, they survived 8 weeks with me and I could not do what I have accomplished without them. I really hope I can keep working with them one way or another. 
Thank you #TeamFakerz.

week 22: NO MONEY
Project Launch & Secondary Research
Brief: Design a product or service that establishes a system of value that doesn’t rely on financial transactions.
So here we are! Micro UX. New team, new project. The Brief looks interesting, even if a bit generic but I really want to try to do my best this time. Last term was amazing and I had a lot of fun with my team, even if sometimes I felt confined in my safe-zone doing just my things. I really want to become a good User Experience designer and that means to embrace every aspect of it.
Unfortunately this week I wasn't present every day (good way to start a team, I know) but I tried anyway to help from afar. 

My first impression of this brief was of the emphasis on delivery as a logistics process. Perhaps this is due to my background in marketing, but I can already predict my own struggles of separating creative, conceptual development from the issues of implementation and commercial feasibility. We have to remind ourselves that we are acting as MA UX designers, rather than as employees of any company.
We did some wireframing for the trajectories app project. I ended up building on my plant/growth concept devised from the previous week. Despite its abstractness, I had fun practicing UX-related skills.
As a group we conducted general research on all three aspects of delivery and e-commerce: Commercial, People, and City. However, we can’t tackle all three at once as this is micro UX, so we later narrowed down our focus to conduct an in-depth literature review.
We wanted to focus on the area of People and its overlapping with Commercial and City. We were interested in the human-to-human interactions and later decided to focus on delivery staff. They are the key connection between the customers and their packages, yet most attention is placed on delivery from customers’ perspective.
In summary, delivery drivers face not only an intensified workload related to the increased demand for time-sensitive deliveries, but also physical risks and psychosocial discomfort.