“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions”

- Einstein -

 From Einstein to IDEO, you will find research championed as the foundation of excellence in design - that is because design requires sifting, gathering and thinking. The Factory of Thought champion UX-research, so our solutions are underpinned by a deep awareness for context.

A mix of academic-excellence and design-practice gives us an edge when gathering user-insight before designing experiential screen-based services.

METHODOLOGIES

We use action-based research to begin and rely on Carr & Kemmis’s model: plan an intervention, act it out with users, observe the results and then reflect on the outcomes. So long as assumptions are framed as they arise, this ‘discovery’ phase ends with an awareness of how users are challenged.

We use grounded-theory to gather qualitative feedback from users. As a foundational framework, grounded-theory supports the development of hybrid methodologies: our video-cued commentary methodology was developed by mixing grounded-theory, interaction-design, preview-screening & observational-recording.

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USER-INSIGHT

As well as qualitative feedback that is reflective in nature, researchers need to gather spontaneous feedback, so we use a feedback-gathering method based on second-screening. As it can be un-moderated, it is an approach that scales well to large user-bases.

It is an onerous task to code large data-sets of qualitative feedback. To automate this process, we use natural-language-processing scripts to mine data and then data-visualisation scripts to render insight.

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Once our ‘discovery’ research has given an appreciation for context, we us lean-UX: make an assumption, generate a prototype, test for its’ impact and then re-evaluate.

IDEATION

To drive ideation, we use everything from high-level brainstorming to detailed user-journeys. With deep expertise in multimedia, we tend to develop narrative-based scenarios to remain true to user-personas. When developing a service, we use the lean-business schemas in tandem with user-personas to ensure our solutions are commercially viable.

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WIREFRAME & PROTOTYPE

The development of experiential services requires technologies to be combined in new ways, so we specify system-requirements via both low & hi fidelity schematics.

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With early design iterations, we avoid high-fidelity prototypes as lo-fi versions tend to attract more honest feedback.

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After wireframing, we use mockups to establish aesthetics and prototypes to test interactions.

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CONTENT FIRST

We understand the emotive impact of narrative and so design to content-first. Below is a montage from a narrative-based event in which the content (audio-visuals) led the audience through a series of second-screen interactions.

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THE HUMAN CONTEXT

Experiential design is not just about devices and so installations, visualisations and group-interactions feature across our projects. Below is an experiential scenario in which iPads were deployed as group-based devices through which ideas were shared: as a service, it was designed to be social as well as screen-based.

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Being programmers as well as designers means we can manage multidisciplinary teams from ideation through to deployment.

INTERFACES

We design software interfaces for musicians and artists, using high-level ‘hacking’ software (Max/MSP) to interface between protocols, to process multimedia and to realise system-control.

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APPLETS

We create applets for services from data-visualisations to eLearning integrations: an example being this suite of eLearning applets developed to automate ICT-based teaching tasks.

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DATA-VISUALISATIONS

We develop scripts to crunch data (TDM via NLP) and then render both textual-information and social-media interactions.

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WEB-APPLICATIONS

We develop device-agnostic communication platforms as fullstack responsive web apps (Node.js) as both POCs and operational MVPs.

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