Following on from my third year project I knew I wanted to base my project around the outdoors once again. I started the year with a very vague idea of what I would like to produce but the route I would find myself going down was not one that I had anticipated.
I started the year by switching from one idea to the next until I finally found myself with a few variations of outdoor concepts.
Navigation in the outdoors
A useful map for dog owners
A walk finding app
After a lot of research, discussions and consideration I decided I would focus on dog owners and their dogs. This topic was very familiar to me as I am a dog owner but I wanted to look into the lives of other dog owners and the relationships they had with their dogs. I knew many people within the dog walking community and I also had personal links in the Veterinary world so this gave me a place to start with my research.
Aim: To explore the relationship between dog owner and dog and create something that would assist the users and have a shared impact on both owner and dog.
I wanted to improve my primary research skills and the involvement of users within the early research phase of this project and throughout. I set about doing this by observing users when they were walking their dog and also asking them questions about their dog walking experience. Speaking to animal professionals and clients at a local veterinary practice about their dogs and their walking experience gave me great insights into their experience and what other features they may find helpful within my application. I wanted to add a sense of fun and secondary outputs during a dog walk which was well received by potential users. I tried to include my users throughout my project from idea generation, feedback and user testing where it was possible. This allowed me to receive positive feedback about the concept and design which assisted me greatly with my work.
Aim: To create a simple and effective design that reflected fun and personalisation and to also improve my digital design skills and process.
I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to explore the world of fun rather than functionality. I wanted my design to be inviting, easy to use and a fun experience for dog walkers. I wanted to step away from traditional forms of navigation and look into a way to change the dog walking experience. I also wanted to use this year to develop new skills and understanding of my own design process, I used new design packages, new ways to present information and used the idea of fun to lead my design. I feel that my digital design skills have excelled in a short period of time due to the way I never stopped changing elements of my design. I ensured that I wasn’t aiming to accomplish too much as I knew this would have a negative impact on my final deliverables.
How Covid-19 effected my design process and my project towards the later stages of the year. Also looking at how I overcame this obstacle and what I have learned from its presence.
From the end of March till present the covid-19 pandemic has had a large impact on my project in many different ways. The biggest impact for me personally was that I would have very limited access to my users for physical and critical feedback which are crucial in my design process especially with my project being an app. Luckily I still had access to one user during lockdown and I still received visual feedback using Microsoft Teams with users I could not meet with in person. Relocating from the studio to my home was also an issue but maybe not as severe as it was for others. As I was creating an app I was still able to create a work space within my home with the prototyping tools I needed which was not too difficult to do. The one clear negative of this relocation was it was soon clear how important the setting and the people around you have on your work, from small inputs and opinions to assistance when they have more developed skills in specific areas, the presence of my classmates was missed. Overall Covid-19 has had a large impact on my project but I believe that I have managed to overcome this very large obstacle and come out the other side with as sense of confidence that I did not allow this to impact me or my work. I feel proud of what I have achieved and I also believe that my deliverable are still to a high standard.