Problem: Navigating within a new city is unpredictable.
Solution: Customized information about travel times and distances within an unfamiliar city.
Research: Traveling to and from work, school, home, or attractions can be time consuming and confusing. Following an itinerary is important as a visitor exploring a new city. Time needed to travel from one attraction to the next can affect the overall itinerary. Relocating to a new city choosing a home is important. It’s location will affect the regular commute to a job or school.
82% of North Americans live in urban areas and are increasingly concentrating in mid-sized and large cities. In 2010 41 urban areas in the United States housed more than 1 million people, up from 12 areas in 1950 and projected to grow to 53 by 2030.
Providing people new to a city the information needed for their daily travels will affect their decisions in creating an itinerary or permanent residence and employment. With an overview of rental prices or attractions and restaurant information it is quite useful to also use on a daily basis.
Problem: Excessive weight makes for an uncomfortable day in the backcountry.
Solution: Easily accessible information and total pack weight when preparing for a trip online or off.
Research: From my research I’ve found that backcountry skiers liken a good time to being free to roam the isolation of the backcountry. Being weighed down produces less mobility and possible fatigue making the day harder and possibly ending a day early. Powdery snow days rely on unpredictable weather patterns and are sometimes few and far between. The skier must be ready to go on short notice, packing the gear appropriately for day’s weather is important and being ready quickly to optimize their time is key to having the best experience.
The Pacific and Mountain areas of the US make up 45% of Powder Magazine’s print circulation. Advanced/expert/pro-level skiers make up 95% of the readership. The average amount spent on ski equipment last year was $1850.00.
Origin: United States, Mid-west
Likes to be outdoors
“One reason I like my favorite backcountry is that just about no one else knows about it or goes there. One thing I hate about it is when other people hear about it and go there.”
“Prep for a day tour is not a pain point. It’s an excuse to fondle our equipment.”
“The only time it (kinda) sucks is the first 1-2 times out in the season when you’re still forgetting important things like Whiskey or TP.”
Bob likes the outdoors and loves skiing the backcountry where the goal is to find solitude and fresh untouched snow to ski. Bob’s location is convenient to a number of resorts where a base of operation for a trip is easy. Information on weather patterns and avalanche reports are readily available at ski resorts.
This tool will offer useful information and overview to a skier who’s on the go and needs to be ready when the conditions are ideal. It leverages Powder Magazine’s comprehensive database of product information that has been collected over the years in it’s ongoing annual gear reviews and access to blogs and articles that provides reviews, bringing more traffic and awareness to Powder’s content.
This hands-on course allowed us to use prototyping to practice the mindsets and methods of human-centered design to produce tangible results quickly. We explored methods to prototype products, services, interactions and environments. We developed an understanding of the importance of providing our ideas a place to develop, change and iterate while gaining valuable feedback from getting our ideas in the hands of the people we were designing for on the road to concept refinement.
Better Living Goal: Brainstorming ideas for better living In a community, at work, in school and at home. Choosing one of the products proposed from our wall of ideas, creating a paper prototype and synthesizing feedback
Basis of ideas were developed and sketched on Post-It notes in short time. Concepts such as recycling bins that rewarded using them with a small payment, 24 hour libraries, quiet rooms, in office gym, mandatory financial classes, bully box – report bullying anonymously, ceiling air filters, etc. were all quickly sketched on small Post-It notes.
Prototyping: Chosen from our wall of ideas, we set out into teams to create a prototype of a container that would give the user a visual indication of the freshness of the food within it.
My team and I decided a device that could be place within a container would be more convenient Multiple sensors would be used to measure categories of food. It would present information with color coded level meters from “fresh” to “spoiled”. Information about the minimal amount of time needed for an accurate reading. We explored sizes and shapes of this device through sketching. Methods of attaching the device to a number of different containers were explored and a removable S hook was agreed upon.
Feedback: Each team reviewed the other’s prototype and feedback was shared. We found through feedback that the size of the product was important to fit into a range of food containers as well as the way it attaches to the edge of the container. Our solution was the rectangular shape as well as a hole in the product with a number of attachments that will allow it to be hung on the edge of a number of different containers.
Home Air Filter Goal: Another product picked from our wall of concepts was a wall mounted home air filter. We looked to gain feedback from putting the product in the user’s hands.
With a paper prototype built we seek user feedback taking the environment into consideration. Our location was the home of one of the users and initial reaction to this new product they have just acquired.
The filter was built with a hanging plate that provided instructions, a built in leveler and anchors that would be used to fasten the plate to the wall allowing the unit to be slid in and out for maintenance as well as options for a free standing operation if preferred.
Feedback: One of the misses was the retractable power cord. Users were unaware that the power cord could be extended and retracted into the unit as well as more comprehensive instructions including tools needed, clear option for free standing operation and suggestions for installation locations. Along with small design adjustments such as lips on the mounting plate to avoid contact with the wall when sliding the unit in and out of the installed plate and color options to better blend into wall colors. The user liked the form factor and ability to install out of the way and unseen. Maybe an online video guide could be explored.
Service Design Goal: To provide an experience where the customer would be open to trying a new food and gain interest in further exploration of other products.
The setting was an office cafeteria with a variety of food stations where our employee would be presenting free samples to incoming customers. We explored where and when the customer was approached. How we would present our samples in a way to introduce an alternative to what the customer may expect to have for lunch.
My solution was to provide information to make the items more familiar. A company email would be sent out with weekly menu items along with an ingredients list. At the cafeteria a sample platter of one of the menu items would be presented by an employee of the food stall. The name of the sample and it’s list of ingredients would stand along side the small samples. A sign above with a menu of additional choices would mirror what was on the earlier email.
The goal was to create consistency for the customer to gain familiarity with these items that may be different then the normal lunch items offering the opportunity to try something new and may be a healthier choice. A user was brought in to provide feedback.
Feedback: Improvements could be made to the clarity in the menu of rotating items being careful not to be mistaken for a pop up business that would change completely from week to week.
Problem: Large volumes of daily contracts need to be easily organized and searchable.
Solution: Offer pertinent information in initial visual presentation that can be sorted, searched and conveniently actionable.
Insight: With large amounts of fixed-float interest rate swaps daily, the user needs to easily sort and search trades that need attention. There is limited time to address non-matching trades that may need further negotiation with a counterparty before the end of the day when the trade is cancelled. Quick access to information to trades that need review are important. Following trades that advance to the clearing house where potential issues could require further attention would also need to be available. Easily searching for specific trades or a group of trades is important. Sortable attributes a click away as well as pertinent information immediately visible on the main page. An ability to quickly review and resubmit non-matching attributes. These would be helpful tools to make the process easier and more efficient.
What is a ‘Fixed-For-Floating Swap’
A fixed-for-floating swap is a contractual arrangement between two parties in which one party swaps the interest cash flows of fixed rate loan(s), with those of floating rate loan(s) held by another party. The principal of the underlying loans is not exchanged.
Example of a Fixed for Floating Swap
Suppose Company X carries a $100 million loan at a fixed rate of 6.5%. Company X expects that the general direction of interest rates over the near or intermediate term is down. Company Y, carrying a $100 million loan at LIBOR + 3.50% (floating rate loan), has an opposite view; it believes interest rates are on the rise. Company X and Company Y wish to swap. With the fixed-for-floating swap Company X will pay the floating rate, and thus benefit if in fact interest rates drop, and Company Y will assume payments for the fixed rate loan. Company Y will stand to benefit if interest rates rise. – Investopedia
User: Middle/back office personnel at large financial institutions
As a user, I receive large volumes of fixed-float interest rate swaps every day. Majority of the trades are confirmed successfully. Small set of the trades may require my review. I want to have the ability to view all my trades in GUI, while having the ability to find specific trades quickly.
The counterparty and I verbally agreed to trade IRS swap over the phone. Each party enters their side of trade in GUI. If both sides submit correct trade attributes, the two sides match and trade is considered confirmed. If one or more attributes does not match, both parties must review the trade. During the review process, one or both parties can edit and re-submit the trade for matching. Once a trade is matched, it is sent to clearing house for post trade processing. If the trade is cleared successfully, the two parties officially enter into the swap contract. If the trade fails clearing, they have to work directly with clearing house and sort out issues.
If parties don’t action on unmatched trade, the trade will remain unmatched until end of day platform shutdown, trade status become cancelled. In reality, parties likely to call each other intra day to sort out unmatched trades.
If there are issues with clearing, we show trade with errors to indicate this
Users can find trades using unique trade ID, or they might want to enter a set of terms. E.g. effective date = today and fixed rate = 1.5 and notional = 5 million
This single screen allows the user to view the many contracts that are received in a day with an ability to sort by many of its attributes and search for more specific terms. Line highlights for easy identification including contract that need immediate review in red, contracts that have been confirmed and passed to the clearing house but need further action to complete in yellow and cancelled trades where an agreement was not able to be met before the deadline from the day before for reference in black.
Additionally, there is an ability to click the job number of a contract that is in need of a review to reveal a popup window which displays only the fields that do not match the counterparty’s input which is what puts that contract in jeopardy. After coordinating with the counterparty and adjusting those fields in the pop up window the user can resubmit the contract without leaving the screen. Further review is still possible on the full details page if needed at any time.
This allows the user to sort, search, identify, edit and resubmit contracts from one screen. Saving time and quickly identifying trades is essential with the volume of trades received daily that will cancel by the end of the day.
Quickly sort, search, edit and resubmit contracts from a single screen allows user to address issues quickly and easily when time is of the essence with hundreds of contracts a day to sort through.
Problem: Finding a book someone would like is mostly left up to chance encounters.
Solution: Leveraging history of read books from other readers to provide new suggestions.
Research: In my research I’ve found people rely on organically discovering books they would like to read, commonly through word of mouth and online research. Online sources are lacking in customized suggestions and reviews lack insight and focus.
Goodreads: According to contributors at Reddit, Goodreads reviews and rating system are not satisfying. One poster wrote “They tend to be very much ‘I loved it’ or ‘I hated it’, with very little in between.” another poster writes, “Yes! thank you very much, i agree with your first point completely, sometimes they just seem so pretentious and fake, and you can see right through them but still they keep on reviewing, its like a yelp for books.” What many of the posters did enjoy about Goodreads is the ability to keep track of books they have already read.
US Reading stats according to the Pew Research Center, 84% of Americans between the age of 18-29 read books in any format. 92% college grads, 75% some college and 66% high school grads.
Preference: Character development, a story that brings him on a journey that provides suspense from one chapter to the next.
Sources: Word of mouth, meeting people he likes talking to with similar interests. Learns a lot about friends through their reading preferences. Asking questions to learn about authors, then goes online to research. NYT best sellers. Library for what is trending, bulletin boards, editors choice, curated lists, award winners. Sometimes the book cover plays a role in exploring. References to other books in past reading,? there are at times references within passages. Digging deeper into reviews when a book is already identified. Book stores are better for purchases rather then discovery. They are too cumbersome to peruse, their focus is mainly on new books, unable to spend much time with any book.
Medium: Audio books when not reading books. Likes that some audio books are read by the author, likes hearing the actual person tell their story. In book stores he gravitates towards picture, design, cook or quirky books that may not be available in the library. Prefers physical books and audio books to his Kindle. Paper, turning a page, bookmarks are part of the experience, easier to get into the story and more gratifying. Audio books for convenience in transit, train, driving or walking. Sometimes switches in the middle of an audio book to a physical book.
Obtaining book: Amazon, library or borrow from someone who referred the book. Audio book downloaded from library, apps, monthly subscriptions.
Preference: Intrigue, mystery, action, writing that paints a vivid picture of the subject matter, creates a universe that can come to life in our minds. Fantasy/sci-fi and history. In high school usually chose a sci-fi for book reports. Enjoys sci-fi movies.
Sources: Finds inspiration from pre movie release, word of mouth, readings on websites. Google searches that leads her to search Amazon reviews. Previously Goodreads but it is now hard to find recommendations that she likes. Library app provides a catalog of ebooks to browse and download. Looking for similar books can be hard at times, will read books from same author, searches list of top selling books in a genre from last year. Uses Goodreads as a baseline to see if it is generally liked but not for reviews. Uses synopsis and sleeve notes to understand what the book is about. Agnes finds that there are too many books to cover. She would be interested in recommendations from book “taste makers” (curator) for a specific genre would be interesting if found.
Medium: e-Books, convenience of having it on person anytime. Book stores for photography and art books that are better to have a physical book. Also recipe books. Recipe books, easy to keep open when cooking from trusted chef, published recipe book adds some legitimacy.
Obtaining book: e-Books from Amazon or downloaded from the NY Public Library. Book stores for physical books.
Preference: Mysteries, good guy catching bad guys, historical fiction, career/instructional. Trevor studied ancient history and art history in college, and always though England was cool. Enjoyed historical fiction that mixes history and a compelling story. A believable world that brings in mythological characters. Authors who can create a world with compelling characters. Career and instructional books, currently reading about writing.
Sources: Ask friends what they are reading, conversations with people with similar interests, blog postings, podcast interviews. Online reviews are good for ratings and the number of reviews. Books without enough reviews are not considered. Amazon reviews can become too detailed. Weight more on podcasts then the content of online reviews. Some online magazines publish their own books which offers familiarity in style and subject matter.
Amazon Book Store provide access to actual books that are recommended online. Library audio book on CD are good for discovery, smaller selection narrows choices, free to borrow allows for exploration. Bookstores and Library selections can be more curated.
Medium: Physical books are heavy and prefers e-books for it’s convenience, likes the highlighting ability that can be saved and compiled. Audio books on CD and downloaded. Would buy physical books for the ones he really likes.
Obtaining book: Amazon or Audible.com for e-books/audio books.
Preference: Pleasure and professional. Mystery, books where she is able to figure out the ending. Increased interest when waiting for the ending with amusing characters, deep character development, setting and satire. A good book blends all of that. Developed an interest in this style from reading a lot. May stick to an author and cycle through all his/her books. Depth of character, setting, share amusement can be reasons for rereading a book.
Sources: Jean uses a holistic approach, looks for award winners. Author that may be part of an anthology that branches out to others. Some reviews that leads to similar authors. Word of mouth through friends who share the same sense of humor. Wikipedia to discover award winning titles or authors, newspaper articles, professional reviews, general online reviews not used to find information about the book itself but some reviewers will refer to other authors or books. Author’s website provides insight. Author who may have written a forward in a previously read book. Jean uses book stores to read forward and the first chapter to make assessments. Book stores are more organics compared to online research that tend to be more focused from unknown sources.
Medium: e-Books (Kindle) over paper books, too many books at home waiting to be passed off to a friend.
Obtaining book: Amazon
Finding a rewarding book to read can be left to chance or taking the time to comb through the overwhelming number of choices that exist can be unpredictable and time consuming. Providing thoughtful suggestions, the convenience of a consolidated list of informative links for deeper insights into a book or author, a community that fosters discussions and a place to keep track favorites, all in one place.