Mary Ann Badavi
Mary Ann is a UX designer, content expert and noodle lover based in Washington D.C.

MAB does DT

Watching a design project take shape

Choosing three of the questions we brainstormed yesterday, we came up with some potential forms to answer them.

IMG_7674.JPG

I struggled with the first one, since I originally saw VR/AR as the form itself. However, to be more specific, I think this particular question could best be solved through an installation or experience.

Many people have tried to make public transportation easier to navigate. For form, I immediately thought of the most popular ways to do this: digitally, through websites or apps. However, I do think you could do something interesting with projection mapping in train stations to make navigation easier for passengers.

The last one was the least obvious to me. I was originally inspired to ask this question because of an article about the lack of accessibility in the DC restaurant scene (and I imagine New York has similar issues). Though traditional solutions would be through training workers and building in more accessibility ramps and tables, I think there is potential for experimental technology. There is already a whole world of wearable tech to make lives easier for those with disabilities: how can you apply that to the restaurant scene specifically? Similarly, how can you train algorithms to treat people with disabilities with more respect?

After switching forms with sectionmates, here is the question and form I ended up with:

IMG_7684.JPG

I didn't quite know what music deconstruction was, but decided to interpret it in my own way. Instead of explaining what I came up with, here’s the narrative for my project:

Jordan is a blind woman who takes the subway to work every day. She gets on the train at Franklin Ave, where there are several different lines. She hears the sound of a D major chord and follows it to her line, the 4 train. While she waits for the train to arrive, she moves to the center of the station, where there is a braille touchscreen she can use. She remixes the D major chord to form a song for the 4 train and submits it to the MTA, hoping maybe she’ll hear it on the train one day.

Once she gets on the train, she listens to the different chords that play at each stop. She knows the song that plays for Wall Street, which is her stop. As she disembarks and exits the station, she hears the other subway lines playing their own chords.

There are some potential sticking points with this project that I’ll have to think through. How do you make it so that people don’t get sick of hearing the same songs all the time? How do you account for sheer number of subway lines and stations in New York? How can you make it easier for people to remember which chords go with which stations?

These questions, though, made it easier for me to recognize the larger context of such a project, which you can see in my friction map.

IMG_7682.JPG

This project is exciting because it has the potential to help several different audiences. Blind people can use it, of course, but so can people who don’t speak English as their first language. Music is the universal language—well, that and math—so while it has its pitfalls to navigate, a project like this has the potential to be very useful.