User Experience Design | System Design | Storytelling
Recreation Program planning requires taking various considerations such as what the community needs are, and balance that with programming objectives and community center resources. It's a fine balance between multiple stakeholders, resources, and information. Currently, a lot f the knowledge exists in the mind of the individual and these decision-making processes cannot be institutionalized.
Lead Design Researcher, User Experience Designer, Facilitator, Directing and Editing Product Video
Rui Song (Design)
Kitty He (Project Management/Design)
Advised by Kristen Olson (Google), Scott Ichikawa, Axel Rosler, Justin Lund, South Bellevue Community Center
2019 - 2020
After Affects, Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Illustrator, Figma, Google Slides, Miro
We have created an all-in-one platform that allows program managers to specifically balance community resources, community feedback with program planning objectives to make program planning-related decisions.
Community centers are places where people engage, social and foster a sense of wellbeing. A large part of what community centers does is by creating recreation programs. The current program-related knowledge exists in the minds of the individual and these individualized experiences cannot be shared nor replicated.
(I created the relationship diagram to illustrate the role of program managers within community centers)
(Process Diagram to identify our focus. Credit: Kitty He)
For the first 10 weeks, we begin the generative process of interviewing, and narrowing down on our problem space, all conducted remotely via zoom and Miro. We chose to perform several research activities such as card sorting, journey mapping, and semi-structured interviews.
The journey map is a 25-minutes activity with our participants through Miro. During the activity, we asked follow-up questions to prompt participants to elaborate on their feelings, attitudes, and perceptions, and the root cause of these experiences. Participants were asked to identify one of the most challenging programs within the past 6 months. It allowed us to create greater empathy with individuals and helped to uncover potential design opportunities.
Another research activity we did with our participants is Circle of Me. The goals of this activity is to help us understand what the relationships are among various stakeholders that the program manager and staff need to work with, how they interact with the different roles and information in the process of creating programs. This also helps us understand what is the role of technology in their workflow and identifies further needs and potential impact.
I facilitated semi-structured interviews to better understand the process of planning recreation programs. It also allowed the team to learn more about how technology can be embedded in the decision-making process to create better programs that serve the community.
(We used Miro board to conduct synthesis and affinity mapping activity)
(As a group we discussed our user journey flow. Journey map created by Rui)
(we grouped our 60 ideas on Miro and conducted dot voting)
(I illustrated concept design and the concept storyboard)
From our rounds of ideation, we came up with a number of versions for how we tell the story. We consolidated into a storyboard to illustrate our concept of an integrated platform to allow program managers to make well-rounded considerations.
Community centers are places where people engage, socialize,
and foster a sense of wellbeing.
A large part of what community centers does is by creating recreation programs.
Program planning can be tough.
You need to consider what the community needs are
And also balance that with programming objectives
And community center resources.
Introducing Plentize, an all-in-one platform that has the ability to integrate feedback, resources, analytics to help program managers make smarter program related decisions.
Today program manager John is considering to plan for program for Fall 2021 at SBCC
SBCC recently subscribes to Plentize, John logs on to Plentize
He first greets with the dashboard page
And clicks on add to start creating a new program plan
Plentize Allow john to set up program objectives when planning a program.
The system then generates recommended programs based on his programming objectives and community feedback.
He can make adjustments to see program recommendations get updated in real time.
Now John select to see the information about the 1st recommended class.
John can see recommended resource avaibility, such as available facilities, human resources and estimated cost for offering programs.
As well as community preferences, such as survey data analytics and comments
He is also able to compare two different programs
And look into the details of those comparisons [scroll] with impact and implications to offering programs in the community.
Finally, he is able to share his decisions with his colleagues and supervisors as a report where it outlines his process clearly.
With Plentize, Jon’s supervisor and colleague can quickly align and communicate around the decision making related to modifying or creating a program.
Plentize - data-driven decision for a healthy community
(I created the storyboard that served as the basis for our final concept and video script)
We had a number of rounds of iteration and I created sketches and wireframes to communicate my ideas quickly within the team and stakeholders.
(Here are some of the Low-Fi prototypes I created where the team took to further refinement)
The dashboard allows program managers to keep track of and monitor the performance of the community center. It display information such as current course registration information, community center’s satisfaction rate, and the latest community feedback for the program.
It presents the information in easy-to-digest formats based on each program manager's preference. From the dashboard, program managers can click on create a program to begin the program planning process.
Plentize program planning process starts with setting up program objectives and constraints. The program settings page allows managers to set up basic information such as age, date, and input keywords. The purpose of keywords is to allow users to enter specific goals to the system so that it generates accurate recommendations for the users.
Based on the program settings, as well as taking into account community feedback and available resources, the system generates program recommendations. He sees the top three recommended classes along with supporting community need assessment.
Plentize also allows program managers to easily adjust, iterate, and test different program objectives throughout the entire planning process. Based on the insights we got from the user testing, our users mentioned they frequently consider and test different ideas when planning programs. A flexible setting will allow the PM to consider multiple offering programs under different constraints.
The view details button for the resource page allows the program managers to find out more about the resource information. The system highlights the recommended facilities, time, and staff, and also alerts the potential conflicts for program managers to consider.
Choosing the programs will give an overview of the community’s feedback and optimized resource recommendations will allow program managers to better focus on the quality of the program and participants’ experiences. Plentize provides insights from the latest community needs assessment survey data such as satisfaction rate, time preferences, and the community members’ comments.
When multiple programs are selected, Plentize overlays both program data to have a clear comparison.
Based on program objectives, Plentize will first come up with some suggested metric in the form of digestible data visualizations. For example, program managers can see how many community centers offer similar programs close-by, and based on this, they can have an understanding if a specific program is necessary to offer or not.
Here the program manager is also free to add other criteria that he considers to be helpful from the sidebar.
The system provides descriptive and predictive analysis with suggested recommendations for each criterion, It also gives the program manager the option to make modifications to these selections.
Design is always a time-bound practice, it is great to be a perfectionist, but if you need to ship a product, you need to be able to ideate, and make a choice between several options, and move on.
One of the challenges with this project is that we have a very short time frame to tackle a complex systematic problem. A lot of times we just have to make something and run with it to get feedback quickly and iterate. I always believed that good ideas are not born out of the vacuum, it requires constant testing, quick and scrappy iterations to validate and develop into a mature product, this is not validated through our users but also push us to move forward very fast. To not get attached to our ideas too quickly, I always propose different directions to offer as options.
Through this project, I came to see the value to high volume output. Like what the design influencer Julie Zhuo once said, "trying to “save time” doing something that’s “good enough” isn’t the goal — instead, shore up your fundamentals through a constant stream of high output."
Through working on this project for 6 months, I worked closely with designers, stakeholders who have different experiences and perspectives to bring in. I learn to embrace and honor the perspectives while also adding my own perspective.
For me, I learned the value and importance of communicating your concepts in different forms and make a stance on design decisions. I respect that everyone has a different style of communication, and different backgrounds, these varied perspectives are cherished and celebrated in the team to ensure a rich outcome rather than running with something that everyone ends up compromising. Language is inherently ambiguous, and part of being a UX designer is to refine the specificity of the ideas through different channels of communication.
As we are initially set out to tackle a difficult decision-making process, we encountered several design challenges like how to create visualizations for features without having concrete content. We needed a uniform system that is not too rigid so that we have the structure but also the flexibility to adapt to different needs.
For the interface design, it is extremely helpful to start incorporating it from the start so that the design takes into account and getting a feel for how the program actually works from the start. It is important and helpful to propose several options when I design to ensure that I'm not attached to one idea, and I can ideate several different ones.
We followed an 8pt grid system throughout and set up guidelines on the various components that are leaves room for adapting to an evolving system.