Design Methodologies Weekly Journal

Abbie Howell
10 min readMay 13, 2021

Week 1: 5/10–5/16

This week was really about adjusting to my new schedule. It always takes a week or two for me to really get into a groove each time around when switching from co-op to classes or vice versa. I often try out timing of things during weeks like this to see what works so I can plan for the weeks ahead. I also write down my schedule for the semester to help plan everything out and stay organized once homework starts to pick up. Generally I feel pretty stressed during the first 1 to 2 weeks of each semester that I take classes before I get into a good routine.

What I did this week:

  • I went to Madtree Brewery to do homework and hang out with friends
  • I tried some new recipes and created some of my own
  • I watched Netflix and hung out with my roommates
  • I ate sushi on a balcony with a friend
  • I took a walk on a nice day
  • I pet some strangers’ dogs
  • I picked up packages from an Amazon Locker
  • Submitted an application for a new apartment

Things I saw this week:

  • I saw and heard a lot more yard work being done now that it is warmer out
  • I saw lots of construction on and around campus because summer is normally when they try to get stuff done because there are less people
  • I saw noticeably less cars parked on the streets of Clifton as people head home for the summer
  • I saw lots of unnecessary waste left behind from the packages of the items that I ordered online
  • I saw how unorganized and messy some long email chains can look — especially when using the mail app on a Mac
  • I saw my roommate’s plant come back to life after she repotted it

Week 2: 5/17–5/23

This week I started to feel like I had a routine. After a full week in all of my classes I feel like now know what to expect. I used this week to brainstorm a lot of ideas for my capstone project and this was a great time of introspective reflection. I have been trying to be more mindful of the things that I am passionate about and problems that I encounter in my day to day life and how they could potentially be solved.

What I did this week:

  • Went grocery shopping
  • Drove a friend to the airport
  • Did NOT drink enough water :(
  • Purchased gifts for a baby shower
  • Bought new clothes for a trip I am going on
  • Purchased new tires and brake pads for my car
  • Helped a friend paint a room in their house
  • Helped my parents move stuff

Things I saw this week:

  • People starting not to wear their masks — this still feels so weird
  • Not a single Cicada, surprisingly
  • A plane landing nearby
  • A house in the middle of the unpacking phase
  • I drove over the Brent Spence bridge while it is under construction for the first time—it was at night and I don’t recommend
  • My roommate starting her first full time job after graduation—remotely
  • A chaotic group chat trying to plan for a trip

Week 3: 5/24–5/30

This week was an average week. For Design Methodologies I thought a lot about the few ideas that I have for my capstone project and which one I might like to do the best, and what possible end deliverables for them would be. I thought about the aspects of my life that I am most passionate about and it helped me narrow my ideas down to only 4.

What I did this week:

  • Made a charcuterie board
  • Got a pedicure with my mom
  • Made a plan for the organization that I run for next semester with the other Co-President
  • Packed up items at my room at my parent’s house
  • Had dinner with a friend who is moving soon
  • Went to the park
  • Watched a lot of Criminal Minds

Things I saw this week:

  • Some very nice looking sushi
  • Nail polish
  • A wedding happening at the park
  • Spreadsheets and notes
  • A cicada carcass — still not live cicada
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes

Week 4: 5/31–6/6

This week I am feeling pretty confident about the capstone idea that I chose to pursue for my faculty review. I have gotten some great feedback about how to move forward with the topic and I am feeling validated that I am choosing the best idea, and the one that I am most passionate about. This week I have been talking to a lot of friends and family about my idea since I feel like I am set on doing it. It is interesting to hear their different perspectives on the topic and everyone that I talk to seems to have someone that I could interview, so I think I definitely won’t have a shortage of people to utilize during the research phase. Below is a list of people I am thinking about interviewing, I need to do a little bit more thinking about the specific questions that I want to ask each of them. I know I should do secondary research first so I will be brainstorming so places to go on the internet as well. My secondary research could also help inform some of the questions I want to ask during my interviews.

People I could interview:

  • My friend who works as a physical therapist at a retirement home
  • My mom’s physical therapist
  • My aunt (teaches workout classes for older adults)
  • Retirement homes around the greater Cincinnati area (I have been involved with volunteering at Covington Ladies Home in the past)
  • My grandparents (my grandpa is surprisingly active for his age, but my grandma is not that way)

Week 5: 6/7–6/13

After reading through all of my faculty review feedback I know what things to keep in mind while doing research on my topic, and what considerations to keep in mind for the future. After getting feedback, I started this week by doing some secondary research into existing movement programs for older adults. I found some great resources from various places as well as some guidelines and statistics from the CDC about how much physical activity older adults should be getting on a daily and weekly basis. These resources will definitely help me when figuring out exactly what questions to ask when interviewing various people. That is my next step, creating a research plan and interview guide to help assist me throughout primary research.

Week 6: 6/14–6/20

This week I feel slightly more confident about my research plan overall. I did a lot of secondary research and did some planning for my primary research: user interviews and surveys. I sent out a survey I created for my audience: adults 60 years of age or older. I tried to join some older adult facebook groups and post my survey, but I haven’t gotten as many responses as I was hoping yet. I am planning on leaning on friends and relatives so send it to people that they know are are 60+. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks I will be able to double or triple my responses. I also have a coworker who did her senior thesis about healthy aging so I plan on reaching out to her and seeing if she has any good resources I could use or people I could talk to. For my secondary research I found a good number of sources that gave me a lot of good information. I have a lot of existing movement programs that I can benchmark and hope to be able to get in touch with some of the people from those programs so I can ask them what works or doesn’t work as well. During class we did an activity where we planned for some of our primary and secondary research and mine below:

Planning for my survey that I sent out already
Started drafting interview questions for my first interview I am going to do with a physical therapist
Documented some findings from initial secondary research.

Week 7: 6/21–6/27

This week I focused on organizing and documenting all of my current research, right now it is mostly secondary research. I did this using notion. See the images below:

My research plan: the goals of the different types of research
My secondary research documentation
Primary research plan and documentation

I am still have a bit of trouble finding a good amount of people that are 60 and older to fill out my survey/do my card sorting activity. I am got a list of my grandparents’ friends that I am going to send the survey out to to hopefully branch out my network and get quite a bit more responses. Next week I plan on doing more research to see if adding a disease group like arthritis or something else will help me reach a wider range of audience members. In terms of other primary research I already have my interviews planned so I feel good in that space.

Week 8: 6/28–7/4

This week I focused on creating interview guides for my primary research coming up. Next week I have interviews scheduled with my friend who is a physical therapist at an assisted living home, a wellness director from a retirement home, and the manager of a movement program called Bingocize. I created my interview guides on notion so I could keep all of my research in the same place. I also started talking to a lot of different people to get their opinions about my research so far and what I should continue to research. One idea one of my coworkers had was to do a journey mapping activity with older adults so I map out their weekly physical activity journey with them to learn more about their week to week lives and how movement and physical activity play a part of it, as well as an pain points or high moments. I might try to do this later in the semester or next semester during co-op. I really want to continue to focus on the research heavily throughout this process. Below are screenshots of my interview guides that I will be using.

Interview Guide for Fran (Physical Therapist)
Interview Guide for Chloe (Wellness Director at a Retirement Home)
Interview Guide for Kristeen (Bingocize Manager)

Week 9: 7/5–7/11

This week I started my user interviews. They are going well so far, but I am getting a lot of information about older adults in assisted living and retirement homes, which doesn’t full fit my audience. My audience is older adults who are independent and aging in place. That being said, I am getting some good insights into important exercises to do for older adults and some of the most prevalent problems that set back older adults physically. This could help with the specific information that I should include in the end deliverable. However, I think I need to talk directly to my specific audience or people who work with them to better understand what type of deliverable would be best for them. I do think that I know when the deliverable should be introduced based on my secondary research, and I created two different possible storyboards as part of my round robin crit to help explain them.

2 option storyboard for my final deliverable

Week 10: 7/12–7/18

I have completed the majority of my interviews now, and I am feeling better prepared now to start the ideation portion of my project. The last interview that I did with Dr. Crandall, the creator of Bingocize was extremely helpful. He specializes in older adults and exercise so he brought to light some very important points that I didn’t think about before. I would say he was the most “expert” person that I talked to regarding the topic of older adults and physical activity. One insight that I have seen is that the most popular type of exercises for older adults are fall prevention exercises. Falls can set older adults back a lot both mentally and physically, so it is important to do everything you can to prevent them. When talking with Dr. Crandall, I brought up the fact that I had heard about these exercises a lot and I asked if they were important to do even if you were a little bit on the younger side. To my surprise he said that everyone needs to start those types of exercises earlier, even in our 20s. Obviously the younger we are the more force and power we can put into the movements, however it is important to start these types of exercises early because they are so imperative to staying healthy physically and mentally when you get older.

Week 11: 7/19–7/25

This week I focused on gathering and organizing all of the information that I’ve obtained from the interviews, as well as all research so far. From here I extracted insights and documented them. This is a good starting point for me continue further ideation and feel like I am heading down the correct path. We also did a crazy 8s activity in class and this helped me get down and document all of my initial ideas. I feel like many of my initial ideas cover the insights that I gathered well and I will need to further explore a few of these during the ideation phase and through co-creations to get feedback from the actual users.

primary research insights
secondary research insights
crazy 8s activity

Week 12: 7/26–8/1

This week I worked on finalizing my final presentation as well as finalizing my 3 end deliverable ideas that I currently have that I plan on doing co creation activities with over the next semester. Below are the final 3 end deliverable ideas that I have. I will continue to explore and refine these throughout the next semester before my final semester.

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