The Old School
The Old School is part of the University of Sydney campus, in the inner city suburb of Darlington. It was originally the Darlington Public School designed by George Allan Mansfield and built in 1878 in the Gothic Revival architectural style. The building was transferred to the university in 1975 and renovated in 1978 for use by the Department of Music and as a theatre workshop.
We set out to understand the usage of the courtyard by observing and interviewing people using or passing by the space. We immersed ourselves in the environment at different times of the day to understand its changing dynamic.
The data was analysed to devise different themes of problems, which were then combined to form the problem statement and the objective:
The Old School courtyard lacks aesthetically pleasant elements of relaxing ambience and clear signifiers of its accessibility.
How might we use playful interaction to extend the relaxing atmosphere of Cadigal Green to the Old School courtyard in the evening?
As the theme of this project is Playfulness, we use Playful Experience (PLEX) framework in this project. It involved using a set of cards representing playful elements to discuss and choose the ones to be used in a project. This approach fostered our further understanding of playful elements that work for our specific location, together with what we wanted to achieve with the solution. These aspects were then to be integrated into our usability questionnaire.
As our concept is around wind chimes, we named our project in Chinese to reflect this cultural inspiration.
Floathink - 浮 想 | fuxiang |
thoughts or recollections flashing across one's mind.
Testing & Findings
Testing setup with participants and results will be updated soon.
This project is the last major project I had in 2017, and it ended with satisfactory results. Going from having no idea how to build a prototype with Arduino in August to finishing and testing a complex prototype is a significant achievement for all of us. In this journey, I have learnt and reaffirmed two lessons:
1/ The combination of complementary skills is vital to success to a team project. We need people with a visionary view to push the boundaries of concept, hands-on skills to build design, and project management skill to plan logistics and keep everyone updated of progress. Everyone in our team had a diverse set of skills and excelled at one domain. We did a mini project for around 15 minutes and felt that three of us are a good match to tackle problems. This is my favourite approach to form a team.
2/ The finishing of the project is as important as the concept. In this project, we balanced well the complexity of the concept and the complete details. We did struggle in the beginning to scope the project, and this paid off in the fact that we finished the project on time.