January- February, 2020
Self initiated- Based on real life events
I use facilities in my college almost everyday but the process of reporting problems was a pain point for me and I saw others struggling too. How did I as a designer intervened to find ways to solve this problem of reporting an issue?
Facilate is a digital experience for students at College of Design which will help ease reporting issues for buildings and equipments resulting in timely action from the facilities and better upkeeping of the campus facilities. The experience also helps develop a sense of responsibility and accountability on both students and facilities management.
Please find the whole indepth exercise here
This is how facility management at COD at NCSU looks like:-
It is very different from general NCSU facility management. It has recently been structured like this. For any kinds of reports/complaints people have to approach the facility workers at COD.
- Students wanting to report building or equipment issues on campus.
- Students needing assistance with the facilities.
- Facility Management on the lookout for problems which can affect the campus infrastructure and students.
Understanding problem space.It isn’t just one side of the story but a whole picture where both facility management and students are involved. It is a shared responsibility to maintain college campus.
Since I will be designing for a diverse student base inside college of Design, I want to make sure I use research methods that would help me collect insightful data to find patterns and trends.
To understand the problem better I decided to pose myself with research questions. They are-
"What are the problems students face with current facilities and equipment reporting?
What are the current problems in communication between facility management and students?
What is the standard workflow procedure facilities follow when they receive a report?"
Method Employed to research
I wanted to use relevant research methods that would allow me to empathize with college students and understand their wants and needs from facilities better. I created a Google survey form, to be filled in anonymously.
I interviewed operations head who handles whole facility management at COD and could give me insight into their workflow and task prioritization.
There was a recent case of water flooding at COD. It was an actual facility management based problem which prompted me to do a case study.
Please look at the presentation to find the detailed research findings
Survey findings + Case Study + Interviews yielded some interesting pain points. Being a student here myself I feel there is a disconnect between students and facilities. On the websites the content is dispersed so it gets harder to know how to contact and who to contact.
“Students struggle to communicate with the facilities… The problem is in the discoverability!”
“There is a disconnect between facilities and students. Trust and transparency are also an issue!”
Research studies suggested that this application “Facilate” can be successful if it can bridge communication gaps between facilities and students.
Along with this Facilate should help facility workers create their workflows and assign task priority. Students should be able to access, learn, and report about equipments and resources. All tasks like borrowing IT items, printing costs should be done through Facilate itself so that it gets adopted faster and students/ faculty can find all resources at COD in one place.
Additionally, Facilate should have a transparent system that can make both facilities and students become more accountable and responsible.
Sub Design Questions
- How can students and faculty be made aware of the resources available in COD at NCSU?(centralized solution)
- How can students and faculty access the resources and report problems?
- How can people who are part of facilities management address and add reported problems to their workflow?
- How can system incorporate feedbacks and updates from facilities to students and faculty.
"A digital experience that engages students and facilities management into communication, furthering trust and encouraging both sides to be accountable, transparent, and an active participants of the COD community."
Wireframes and Information Design
As will be system design after Facilate comes into picture.
I did some iterations of navigation design and changed it while making high fidelity prototypes.
Walkthrough of the Facilate prototypes
More Design Explorations
- Finishing the backside of the service design which is to say workflow/task management for facility management. Mostly considering it to be web-based
- Thinking more of pre-recorded voice services for newer students. Not like an alexa but voice based info system integrated with the application. (CUI- conversational user interface)
- Thinking more about accessibility in terms of colors and voice integration.
- Adding more images and making the application more lively (I didn’t want to use images without permission that is why refrained from using them)
When I started I thought the problem was only with not being able to report problems but with research analysis I discovered many new problems which can be sought after only by looking at the problem from service design perspective. Targeting not only the front-end but the back-end too.
User Experience Design