Nodefy

Timeframe:
Fall 2016
3 weeks

Role:
Prototyper 

Collaboration: Gautam Bose 

Advisors:
Austin Lee and Peter Scupelli

In this project, my friend and I a new way to keep track of your design projects in a way that is more aligned with the way our creative processes happen.



Problem Space—

When designing anything, it is critical for designers to have a record of their steps and thoughts for each stage of the process. This is so that they have a clear understanding of their next steps as well as a tool to communicate their work to others. In many student contexts, the staple visualization for process is a timeline, organizing the steps taken in chronological order. Though this makes sense at a glance, timelines struggle to portray the multidimensional aspects of process, highlighting order while masking the relationships between ideas.


The Timeline—

The timeline itself has many merits. If one wants to simply portray how a project came to be, chronological order makes the most sense. But unless it is a purely technical exercise, where the primary thing to be gained is the use of technics (yes, that is a real word), the true value of a project lies in the reason behind each step.


The linear timeline. Notice how time is highlighted, while flow of thought is hidden.


Nodefy—

I designed a system that traces the paths that come from ideas. Modeled after tree data structures, this visualization takes the form of a tree, with a root prompt/ problem space/ reason for project, parent nodes that lead to child nodes. This tree describes the true multi-layered nature of a project.


The tree diagram. Each branch is in chronological order, but the important thing is that the train of thought is highlighted instead of the order.

One can clearly see the way these prototypes and ideas emerged.
The Seamlessness between Working and Recording—

In my experience with recording process for projects, there is a problem when I have to pause in my flow to record what I just did. It is difficult to restore my train of thought, tempo, and it feels like I am doing the same work twice.

There has to be a way to seamlessly do the work and record the way it being done in a way that is insightful and clear.

While I’m working, I want to be able to make sure I’m in the right node. I want to have my last step/ current timeline/ set of goals directly accessible, so that I can keep my work justified.

This is me using a HoloLens. I was amazed by how seamless it was to convert physical things into digital memories.

This is why we thought it best to envision Nodefy to take place in Augmented Reality.


What I learned—

I learned a lot about the nature of design with this project. I thought and developed frameworks that describe why things happen. I developed a way to give definitive (though admittedly reductive) meaning to the experiences we have. I believe that design involves introducing and fighting for new frameworks for living, and giving people the agency to do life better. Design should focus on erasing life’s limiting reactants, focusing on the humanity behind the things we do, and developing tools that extend our physical, mental, and spiritual reach.

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