This week we decided to try a new approach to how we do projects in the lab. What would happen, we said, if we got a few smart folks with diverse skillsets together and put them in a room with pencils, paper, exacto blades, foam core, and a few high-tech doodads with the end goal of making a prototype? We decided to focus our attention on the experience design of the Hornall Anderson lobby since it's a space we're all familiar with and it could use some lovin'.
I personally learned a lot from the experience - it was challenging and exhausting, but also fun and rewarding. We went from nothing but a few ideas and constraints to a well thought out concept and a physical mock up within a few hours. We weren't sure if building a representation of the space was going to be worth it, but as soon as we had it halfway built and started seeing some of our ideas at full scale we realized how even the small changes we were recommending were adding life to the otherwise static space.
I'm not posting the final result because... well for one thing it's not final. We knew our goal was ambitious, and I think we got pretty far, but it definitely needs more work. What we did end up with is a better understanding of what we need to do to prove out our ideas, and a mockup that - with a little hand-waving - might allow us to convey those ideas better than we could with just words and illustrations.
What I learned today is that HAX can be more than just a place for us to experiment with technology and interaction techniques - it can also be a place for us to experiment with our process and the way we work.