Week 3

For week 3 I focused on creating a project proposal and project management plan.

I looked into the three areas of the project: Sustainability, Changing Habits and Enabling Participation.

I began by brainstorming potential product ideas. I looked at different ideas in the ‘Sustainability and Changing Habits’ areas. After much thought, I settled on the idea of plastic bottles being melted or compressed into different shapes and sizes.

Brief

“My project will center on sustainability. While doing some initial research, I found that plastic is the hardest material to recycle. Plastic bottles and bags are often coated in a resin that is hard to break down and may emit fumes. I would like to create a brand that could turn people’s plastic into art. I will produce an app that will allow you to input the amount of plastic you have. Next, you will discover what you can make out of the number of materials. The customer will then send the bottles via a courier service. If the customer wants to donate their plastic, the charge will be minimal. If the customer wants to have the art produced, there will be a small labour cost.

I will mock up an app and an advert for this project. Based upon this, I believe my project will be based around media and informatics. I would like to explore options of creating things out of plastic, dabbling in product design but I am not sure this will work, as I may not have access to appropriate resources.”

When I began to do some in-depth research, I found that melting plastic may be easier said then done. The fumes that are emitted may be toxic to an individual that wants to melt and mould plastic independently. I concluded that the project would be too difficult and unpractical.

Upon realising this, I looked at another idea in the ‘Changing Habits’ area. For this, I created another brief.

Brief 2

“My project idea will centre on the budgeting of student finances for university students. I will design an app prototype and a mock-up ad campaign that will offer useful budgeting tips and services for students. The app will be centred on changing the habits of students that do not know how to budget. It will also manage the spending habits of the student’s loan. I know a lot of students struggle with managing their finances for the first year; this app will work on helping the students to become more responsible with their finances.”

This idea seemed more manageable. Personally, I prefer a waterfall method of project management where each phase of production takes place in order to develop a successful project.

From this point, I started my initial development by creating a mood board and a flow chart to start off my project. flowchart

Week 4

This week, I began some secondary research into my theme of student budgeting and came across some interesting figures. This secondary research allowed me to identify the main issues with student finance and Student debt as a whole.

My findings can be found in detail here.

My sources range from online articles to academic articles. However, the most influential secondary research I gained has come from an independent article that includes quantitative data from an insight report done on students: The Independent- ‘University Debts So High Students Are Suffering ‘Mental Health Issues’

‘Cant Afford Food” (Pells, 2017) helped me gain insight on specific things students are not affording.

Another article (Murphy, 2017) said:

“Student debt sales gives new generations a first taste of economic slavery…. The new private sector debt burden will amount to a sum of greater than government debt.”

This quote, although not from an academic source, really radiated with me.

After doing some initial secondary research, I created a mood board for students to help me visualise the different aspects of being a student.

 

Week 5

For week 5 I began my initial designs. I created some very rough layout designs for my application.

These lo-fi sketches consisted of three different potential designs that could be implemented and ideas for my logo.

I then decided to look at my potential target audience profiles. I want to make my application a gender neutral app that would appeal to all genders. I also wanted my app to be aimed at students aged 17-25 that are in the socioeconomic disadvantage where they would need help by student finance and therefore will need help in terms of budgeting.

I also looked at different logo designs, I looked at different types from blackletter to cursive. I also looked at dafont.com to help me envision different brand identities. I believe the logo is important to set the atmosphere of the brand and the brand’s values.

Week 6

For week 6 I started to create a Hi-Fi prototype based on my previous rough designs.

I wanted to sketch and outline what my application would look like using a sketchbook. I paired this with the logos I designed in my previous week. The brand identity started to slowly take form as I pieced together different sketches of my designs that will help me later on when I begin creating my app.

BGDAppsketch 1BGDAppsketch 3BGDAppsketch

This week, I also gained ethical clearance for my primary research.

I made a short questionnaire to gain quantitative data. There are many advantages and disadvantages for questionnaires. For example, it is hard to gain empathetic insight using quantitative data. The questionnaire may also have confusing wording or terms that may be misunderstood and therefore invalid. However, questionnaires are a cheap and easy way to gain a larger quantity of data. With this data, I could triangulate the results with other quantitative data to achieve a stronger hypothesis.

I asked participants if they rely on student finance and how it helps them, this ranges from ‘Student finance funds everything (maintenance, tuition, rent, food or luxuries including going out)’ to ‘Student finance barely funds my tuition fees or living costs’ or other means if student finance is not applicable.

I asked participants if they have a budget and if so, whether they stick to their budget.

The next set of questions was to find out how most people spend their money. I asked, “How much money do you spend on academic purposes roughly? From ‘very little (less than £10 a term) to an ‘extortionate amount (£200-£300 a term)’

The next question asked ‘How much money do you spend on personal luxuries? (Going out, drinking, clothes etc) I also asked people what most of their money goes on; going out (clubs, pubs and events) or going out (cite-seeing, days in town), academic purposes, travel, food shopping, utility bills, rent, clothing or health (prescriptions, appointments etc).

I also wanted to know what are the other means of gaining money such as parents/guardians, part time or casual job, full-time job, personal savings, overdraft, bursary or other government provided help, credit cards or payday loans.

I also wanted to get a feel for the participant’s mental health. I asked how the participants feel about their current situation ranging from ‘comfortable’ to ‘extremely anxious’

I also asked if the participant’s financial situation affects their studies and if so, to what extent. This range is from ‘Barely affects me’ and ‘affects me to an unbearably large extent’.

I wanted to collect more secondary data before I start handing out my primary research so for the end of this week, I handed out pilot studies and continued finding more secondary data.

Week 7

For this week I looked at some extensive examples of secondary research of my project.I also distributed my primary research questionnaire via Facebook, Twitter and Email.

More details of this secondary research can be found here

 

Week 8

This week I compiled my primary research that was distributed via Facebook, Twitter and Email.

The results and findings of this primary research can be found here

 

Week 9

This week I started my production phase of my project.

As I wanted to create a prototype of my student budgeting app, I found a website called ‘Invisige’ that allows you to make working prototypes of an application.

To make this app work well, I designed the pages in InDesign and transferred them over. This process took a considerable amount of time, considering I wanted every aspect to be appealing to both sexes and to be informative and helpful.

The rest of this week was dedicated to making sure my app looked presentable.