Smart City - Bloomington, Indiana in 2050

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

Cities will increasingly become smarter as smart city technologies become more ubiquitous and affordable. Bloomington, Indiana is a town located in Southern Indiana and has a unique culture that makes it a tourist destination. My team and I decided to explore what a smart and connected city would look like for tourism efforts in and around the Bloomington area in the year 2050. 

 

TEAM

Nicole Anicetti

Kayla Myers

Claudia Castro

Hayden Mills

MY ROLE

UX Designer

Researcher

Videographer

CONTEXT

Month and a half long project for Interaction Design Methods

METHODS USED

Contextual Inquiry

Affinity Mapping

Group Concepting

Storyboarding

 

THE DESIGN JOURNEY

We began our exploration by focusing our research efforts on people who worked in transportation, urban planning, food, and communication in the city of Bloomington. Our goal with this exercise was to better understand the stakeholders in the community and how they lived/worked in the city. We would do contextual inquiries separately to learn more faster and bring together our findings to share and learn from one anothers experiences.  

Shoutout Nicole Anicetti for the sweet idea!

Shoutout Nicole Anicetti for the sweet idea!

 

Contextual Inquiry

Talking to Pastor Wigington of Cornerstone Christian Church

I decided to interview a Christian pastor in Bloomington. My hypothesis was that pastors are masters of communication and spend most of their time communicating their faith to others in helpful ways. I wanted to watch a pastor do just that as well as hear directly from him about the role technology plays in his life calling as a pastor. I learned so much by spending a few hours watching him work as well as talking to him on the phone. 

Key takeaways:

  • It's crucial that pastors have a broad knowledge of the messaging platforms people are using because they reach out to him on various messaging platforms at any time or day of the week with questions and emergencies
  • Time is limited so pastors must be able to ask probing questions to get to the heart of their congregations problems while still coming across as caring and patient
  • Technology helps add to the church community by keeping everyone connected but "technology will never replace in person fellowship". 

Affinity Diagramming

Meeting with the team to bring together our research

After doing separate contextual inquiries and generating 50 insights/data points from our sessions, our team brought came together for an affinity diagramming session. Our goal with an affinity diagramming session was to lay out what we had learned individually, educate one another, and then tease out reoccurring themes throughout our data points. 

Themes that emerged:

  • Safety

  • Responsibility 

  • Social Interaction

  • Personality

  • Tools

  • Team

  • Workplace

  • Customer Needs

  • Cleanliness

  • Teamwork

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Concept Sketching

Generating ideas

After we had done our research and team affinity diagramming session we began to brainstorm different tourism/smart city ideas for Bloomington. We took the categories that we had organized during  our affinity mapping exercise, and applied them to the frame of a tourist's point of view. We wanted our ideas to be attractive to new tourists to the city in 2050. 

Smart City Tourism Concepts

Finalizing three concepts

Here are the final three concepts we explored for Bloomington tourism in the year 2050. 

 

The portal generator concept was derived from our contextual inquiry research with the food truck drivers.

To help tourists explore their surroundings in Bloomington, IN in 2050, we designed a portal tool that would help them travel to points of interest or lodging. The portal tool would catapult them quickly around the city to the most important places to see. This would help them see the best places in the shortest amount of time. This can also help provide a sense of security to travelers in the case that they feel uncomfortable in the area or in danger for any reason. 

The instant nature concept was created based off the contextual inquiry research of the construction site, and from the food truck owners. In both of these settings we learned the importance of cleanliness and the impact that can have on the working setting and moral of the citizens in the community. 

Through Nicole's contextual interview with a construction manager she learned that people are often impatient with the schedule of construction due to the ugly appearance. This concept provides tourist with beautiful imaginary covering the construction site and creating a more overall aesthetically pleasing smart and connected city in 2050.

The holo-buddy concept derived from our contextual inquiry research at the construction site, food truck, and church pastor. From these sessions we created categories of safety and social interaction because it's important for people to interact with others from the city. From a tourist perspective, we thought what if there was a way to navigate a new city and feel safe while traveling "alone."

In this concept, tourist can use a smartphone app or smart wristband that creates a "artificial buddy" that is able to serve as protection, company, and provide information about the city.

 
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Reflection

What I learned

Don't throw out the weird ideas - Often times I have the urge to throw out the weird ideas that are brought up or if I have one I don't say it out of fear of sounding dumb. However, through this project I realized the value of accepting the weird ideas and following them until you are able to squeeze out insights that can be incorporated into other concepts.

Remote design work is possible - I had to work remotely for some of the meetings we had. Although not as ideal as being in the meeting in-person it is possible to do remote design work and still collaborate amongst one another. It just takes patience from the entire team and a clever use of different technologies to make it feel like you're in the same room working together.

Bringing research together and generating ideas together works well - I didn't know what to think when we were told to generate 50 insights from our contextual inquiries. I definitely didn't know what to expect when we brought them all together to collaborate however I learned the value of doing research and brining those findings to the team to ideate.