Personas for Assignment 2


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Billy is a 28 year old college graduate who teaches math to middle school students. He is passionate  about environmental politics and loves spending time outdoors. He started a club at his school for students who are interested in learning about growing food. His city home has very little green space, and he is frequently busy, but he makes an effort to spend time gardening and working on his yard. He likes to use green technology when he works outside, such as rain barrels, composting, and natural pest control.


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Anne is a 35 year old doctoral student who is studying psychology. She often goes hiking and camping with her friends on the weekend, and enjoys outdoor photography. She says she doesn’t really like gardening and, after multiple failures, feels that she isn’t good at it. She wishes she had the time and motivation to learn how to take care of her yard properly, but is very focused on school and work. She is tech savvy and is comfortable trying out new technologies.


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Violet is a 70 year old Professor of Fine Arts who recently retired. She keeps a vegetable garden year round and feels that it’s very important to grow some of her own food and to be able to share it with her friends and neighbors. She has some trouble lifting heavy objects like bags of soil, large plants, and gardening tools. She often asks her children for help with the heavy lifting, but she would like to keep doing her gardening as independently as possible. She is learning how to get more out of her Apple laptop through local classes.


Storyboard for Assignment 2

Storyboard- Draft



Storyboard- Final





Main Title- “The Future of 3D Printing”

Title- “Road Blocks”

Subtitle- “My yard is going to be AWESOME this year.”

Title- “Now Printing…”

Title- “Now Printing…”

Title- “No Time”

Subtitle- “I LOVE lettuce…”

Subtitle- “…but I waited too long to start planting.”

Title- “Now Printing…”


Design and Testing with Diverse Populations

The paper on participatory design for people with anterograde amnesia was very interesting because the researches were able to use low-tech, everyday memory augmentation techniques to help the participants participate more fully in the study. Techniques such as note-taking, review, and summarizing were used to remind participants about what was discussed at the last session, and to prepare them for the current session. Drawings of successive iterations of the design being discussed were also shared. It would be interesting to know if more high-tech techniques would be more effective. For example, digital notes could be reviewed more quickly and more often by participants, and audio and video artifacts could be included as an additional memory aid. This paper directly addresses the question: “How can we make participatory design universally accessible?”

The second paper about representing users in accessibility research says that non-representative users are often selected for studies in HCI research, when selecting people with particular individual differences or disabilities would be more appropriate (eg. sighted users wearing blindfolds standing in for blind users). I can’t think of any papers that I have read that have actually done this. A lot of the findings in this paper seem obvious to me… it’s basically saying that you can’t make assumptions about disabled users or simulate disability. The biggest challenge that I have seen in papers I’ve read is that, often, only a small number of disabled users are tested. This is likely due to the issues outlined in the paper, including: small number of “truly representative users,” challenges around actually getting users to the lab, and the increased likelihood of significant individual differences between disabled users. The authors of this paper conclude by encouraging researchers to use a control group, to use caution when combining data from “standard HCI study participants” and participants with disabilities, and to describe disabilities more comprehensively.

Drawing Scenarios & Animating Sequences

One of the most important parts of drawing out a scenario is choosing what details to include, and which details can be left out. Some details will be worth including, leading to the creation of a believable system, while some can be filled in by the viewer’s imagination or are not important. After making a general sketch of a scenario, the next steps include adding more detailed transitions to show specific interactions, showing different options a user could choose, and showing the different scenarios that would result from going down those paths. I thought that this quote was particularly helpful for thinking about the narrative storyboard: “It uses a sequence of images to tell a more complete story about people’s interaction over time, where each image in the storyboard represents a particular event.” (p.167) The most important information being communicated is the environment where the interaction is taking place, engaging details about the people involved, and the other actions and things that make up the details of the interaction.

The second chapter about animation details techniques to create simple animations in PowerPoint. This seems like a powerful tool that could be used for “paper” prototyping as well as simulating a graphical interface for a system. The chapter recommends learning Adobe Flash if you want to do more complex animations… I wonder what people use instead in 2013.

Participatory Design: The Third Space in HCI

I really like the idea of participatory design and was delighted to learn that it came out of a political movement. It’s really neat to see how a strategy used for smoothing out power imbalances and creating a new space for different groups to learn about each other can also be used in the field of HCI. I was especially interested in the section about low fidelity prototyping being used to create the third space of participatory design. Muller says that low fidelity prototypes “bring people into new relationships with technologies” by asking end-users to “think about technologies or applications that they have not previously experienced” and to “use the low-tech materials to reshape the technologies.” (p.21) I have had many opportunities this semester to do paper prototyping, and it becomes a much more powerful tool when you view it through the lens of participatory design. Paper prototyping can improve group communication and understanding by “grounding discussions in concrete artifacts,” can lead to better incorporation of new/ emergent ideas “through the ability of participants to express their ideas directly” with the medium of the paper prototype, and can lead to “a sense of shared ownership of the resulting design” by being able to edit or co-create the prototype.

The section at the end of the article about unsolved challenges in participatory design was also incredibly useful, because it brought up many challenges about using PD successfully that I hadn’t considered before. The point about participatory design not being universally accessible because it often involves visual and hands-on interaction is an important issue for HCI researchers.

Principals of Contextual Inquiry

One of my favorite quotes from this chapter: “Articulating work structure and correcting design ideas during the interview gives the customer the power to shape the way designers think about the work.” (p.54) I really like the idea that by sharing design ideas, the designer can empower the customer. The customer starts to understand how technology can be used to address some of the challenges they are facing, and can then contribute to the design process. This mutual exchange of information benefits both partners as they teach each other about their own areas of expertise though the modified master and apprentice relationship.

I also found the tips to steer the interviewee away from summarizing and toward concrete examples incredibly helpful. Being in the physical context of the workplace and the temporal context of the work task will help the interviewee talk about ongoing experience, rather than a general summary of their experience. Talking about real artifacts and asking for specific examples will help the interviewee talk about their work in a concrete, rather than abstract, way.

It was interesting to read about the different triggers an interviewer should pay attention to so they know when to change the focus of their exchange with the customer. These triggers caution the interviewer to not dismiss strange ways of working as irrelevant, and to continuously question their own assumptions about what is really going on in the work process. “Using the customer to break your paradigm intentionally counterbalances the natural propensity to design from assumptions.” (p.64) As we are frequently told, “you are not your users.”

3D Seed Printing: Idea Generation and Evaluation

The first brainstorming technique I used was meditation. I was not satisfied with my first two 3D printing ideas, so I spent some time laying quietly and letting my mind wander. I tried to think about common problems around me physically and personally, and I let myself be inspired by books I had recently read (the sci-fi novel 2312) and new technology I had recently heard about (Smart Herb Garden). I felt that this technique was very helpful to me, because I was able to generate a lot of interesting and new ideas using it. It seems less reliable than other techniques I tried because inspiration may or may not strike you as you are meditating.

1. Printing grass, printing grass seeds

2. Take up dead grass, weeds, garbage to create new things like the printed seeds or printed soil/ nutrients

3. Printing out seedlings, saplings

4. Print living tree skeleton, that once it’s done being printed… apply water and sun and it starts growing!

5. App interaction… syncs with smart phone

6. Walks around on spider legs, uses its legs as probes and sensors

7. Can get small enough to be portable… its legs wrap around your arm and you can wear it like a bracelet

8. Maybe there are big ones that are really powerful, they can terraform the Earth

9. Assistive technology… What if you can’t lift a bunch of heavy soil bags or you can’t bend over to dig in the dirt so well? What if it’s just too hot to safely spend hours outside working in the garden?

10. Collecting, saving, using dew and rainwater or condensation from A/C window unit

The second brainstorming technique I used was Rolestorming. Marie and I thought about user groups like individuals, local governments, big businesses, and users who would use the technology for good/ would abuse it. We also thought about the physical scale of the technology and how size would change who could use it and the kinds of things that could be done with it. I really liked this technique because, when putting yourself in the role of different users of your technology, it felt easy think creatively and come up with ideas that are bigger or more wild than I might have otherwise come up with.

11. If you say, I want tomatoes, and it says… your soil sucks for that, but you could grow lettuce

12. Personal gardner / robot / 3D seed printer

13. Can dispose of the weeds and turn into compost/mulch for the yard

14. Could set it loose on your neighbors yard with either good or evil intention: good: mow the whole block – bought by the city, evil – plant prickly grass

15. City pays for it to beautify

16. An alternative to 1-800-flowers, instead of sending your loved ones dead flowers… send your printer to their garden and beautify

17. For plants that take forever to grow – just print it as whatever part of the life cycle you want

18. Don’t like to weed but like to prune? sure. adjust the settings….

19. Customize the settings and having it tell you things about your garden/ yard based on the sensor readings it takes

20. Depending on the area you live in, it can be smart enough to know that it can’t turn a deset into an oasis but it can make your yard in Baltimore a little better

21. Plant forests, then cut them down for lumber, then plant them again

22. Enrich the soil by constant monitoring and attending, so that plants grow much faster

23. Print nutrients… need more nitrogen?

24. It knows how to prevent/ cure plant diseases like blight

25. It should also eat bugs and slugs and such

26. It doesn’t use pesticides… it needs to live in harmony with nature, even though it’s a robot/ 3D printer

The third brainstorming technique I used was Mind Mapping. I thought this technique was most helpful for getting into the details of the ideas I had generated so far. I found myself writing down very specific ideas and then going into more detail on each main idea. It felt like a very appropriate third step in the brainstorming process, because this technique led me to focus on specific ideas and think about them more deeply.

27. Print seeds by collecting them from the environment around gardener robot, saving, “printing” at the right time

28. Collect parts of plant to combine when seed needs to be printed

29. Has ability to preserve seeds or seed parts for long periods of time

30. Saves seeds for appropriate seaons, user needs

31. Promotes diversity of local plant life because there is no need to buy seeds from other sources

32. Can trade seeds with other gardener robot users to obtain plants you are not able to get from your own yard

33. Gamify gardening… gotta catch all of the local seeds!

34. Let your printer scout around public green areas for additional printing materials, without letting it take too much

35. Release seeds to the wind/ to insects if you don’t need them

36. Let seeds mature inside printer, then print seedlings

37. Print organic scaffolding for plants


User/ Task/ Environmental Analysis for Assignment 2

Product: 3D Gardener

A 3D printer that prints seeds, seedlings, and saplings as well as soil and nutrients. It will have probes and senors to detect the state of your garden, monitor it, make repairs and improvements. It will be able to take in dead plant material, weeds, garbage, and unwanted insects and transform them (by composting) into the raw materials it needs for printing. It will be powered by the sun.


The primary users of this product are people who want to garden successfully and in a sustainable way, but do not have the time, knowledge, or ability to do so. Secondary users are those who will enjoy the benefits of an improved or new garden/ yard, like family members and/or neighbors.


1. A user would first sync 3D Gardener with their smart phone and then let it loose in their yard. GS would first determine the boundaries of the area it should work in and check with the user for confirmation. Then it would assess the yard with its probes for soil quality, air quality, insect population, areas of sun and shade, temperature, and damaged areas. It would report its findings to the user and make suggestions for improvement and maintenance. From this stage, the user could optimize their growing area and then give 3D Gardener specific tasks such as “print 3 rows of 3 sunflowers” or “print a small tree in this corner of the yard.”

2. Users will be able to choose to print seedlings or saplings at different stages of growth. This feature would be useful in situations where a certain type of plant (like lettuce) grows better when planted as a seedling, rather than a seed, or for times when the user can’t plant seeds at the optimal planting time for their location. Also, users will not have to wait as long to enjoy the beauty and shade of trees that often take much longer to grow than smaller plants like grasses, flowers, and vegetables.

3. Large 3D Gardeners could be used for city-wide beautification and maintenance, as well as variety of larger scale farming tasks. They could also be used to address the challenge of empty lots in urban areas by improving the soil quality, or preparing the area to be developed in a new way.


This product will be used outdoors in personal gardens and yards. It must be able to withstand heat and cold, be waterproof, and be durable enough to spend most of its time outside without becoming damaged.


The motivation for the creation of this product is increasing interest in similar products that use technology to help people garden more successfully. For example, the Smart Herb Garden on Kickstarter uses sensors to make sure that your herbs have enough water, nutrients, and light. The creators of Smart Herb Garden asked for 75,000 dollars and received nearly $400,000 from almost 7,000 backers. Another motivating factor is that gardening is often done by people who are skilled at gardening, are passionate about it (so they make time for it), and are generally physically able to do it. Otherwise it is outsourced to professionals, which can be expensive, or it is not done at all.

Assignment 2

3D printed goods in nature, especially in situations where there is no electricity and you can’t leave anything behind. For example, events like Burning Man or large outdoor music festivals. Printing survival goods, printing art materials, construction materials, and entertainment items.

Printing… in 3D? Print art you create or art created by others on any object- any shape, material, size. Express personality, creativity, customize everything around you. Used by Hipsters at home.