2010-08-16 Interactionary HCI Design Challenge (Summary)

The CapCHI Interactionary 2010

By Master of Ceremonies, Michelle Gauthier, CAE Professional Services

The Background

An eager local CHI community gathered on June 17th, 2010, for an Interactionary event held by CapCHI. Four brave teams arrived to tackle a design problem within an insane time constraint, all the while working together in front of a live audience. Held at the Clocktower Pub on Bank St., this was a fun and interactive event that required participation not only from the teams but from the audience as well.

The Interactionary was so successful that due to overwhelming popular demand, the event will surely become an annual occurrence!

CapCHI Interactionary Master of Ceremonies, Michelle Gauthier...

The Teams

Team UCDC: The “Unbelievable Creative Designers Collaborating” (UCDC) of Macadamian were a powerful team of seven; Amit (The Anvil) Tungare, Barbara (The Bruiser) Spanton, Carley (The Claw) Treen, Ed (The Eraser) Sarfeld, Francis (The Fracture) Beaudet, Meaghan (The Mauler) Reinecke.
Team ACDC: From Carleton University representing Industrial Design and Engineering, this team of four flamboyant students was composed up of the following members; Anneliis “LiveWire” Tosine, Chris “Problem Child” Koser, Diana “Money Talks” Isaza-Shelton and the team captain, Catherine ”Thunderstruck” Campbell.
Team Use This!: Another group of students from Carleton University’s HOTlab, while the smallest team of the evening, don’t let their size fool you, they packed a big punch! They were represented by Seneca Brandeezy fo Sheezy, Lana “Left Eye” Lodge and team captain, Adam “LL Cool A” Freed.
Team IBM (I Build Mockups): And last, but not least, representing the IBM user experience team, come four experienced and crafty designers; Ron-“The-Builder” Gagnier, Danny “Handy Manny” Lee, Susan “The-Toolman” McIntyre, and last but not least, Steve “Heidi” Macko.

The Format

Following an entertaining and musical introduction, three teams were sequestered out of earshot and eyesight in the main dining area to enjoy some refreshments while one team was left to work on the design problem. Each team was presented the same problem (see Problem Statement below), with only 15 minutes to tackle it. They were given warnings with 5 minutes and 2 minutes remaining, and were given additional time to describe their solution to the audience. When each team completed its session, it was allowed to join the audience and encouraged to keep the heckling of other teams to a minimum!

The audience was tasked with scoring each team’s performance on the following dimensions:

  • Teamwork
  • Process
  • The Design

Following all team presentations, the audience voted for the team that met one or all of the following winning categories:

  • Most Creative Style
  • Best Team Presentation
  • Best Overall Team

The Problem Statement: “The Kitchen Recycling System”

The teams were provided with the following problem:

“The City of Ottawa requires that homeowners sort their garbage into various classes of recyclables.  This requires multiple containers, of different types, both inside the house and outside (because of snow and dirt).  It also requires that specific class of recyclables be collected on a rotating weekly schedule.

Your challenge is to design a kitchen recycling system that is effective, clean, easy to use, and promotes compliance.

The product priorities are:

  • May use some disruptive technology (e.g., smart boxes, IP addressable appliance, RFID chip, GPS, weight indicators)
  • Design for a single family home composed of a family of 5 (parents, young children and teenagers)
  • Must comply with the collection schedule

The Teams, The Designs

The four teams all threw themselves wholeheartedly into the spirit of the event, each with their own ‘dress code’ and theme music. We also saw variations in approaches to the problem, which is probably the feature of Interactionaries that most contributes to discussion and learning.

Team UCDC: The first team to tackle the challenge, UCDC! at Macadamia were ruthlessly organized, arriving with pre-made whiteboards for each step of the design process, strictly designated designer roles and a hard-nosed team leader that enforced a disciplined time-boxed approach. This focused and experienced team surprised many at the amount of smooth progress they achieved in such a short time.

Team ACDC: With a very charismatic and colourful style, team ACDC tackled the design problem with flair and creativity. As Industrial Design and Engineering students, they evaluated many possible solutions. Definitely creative, they spilled out of the box on all sides and came up with a design solution that met all user needs.

Team Use This!: The baddest bunch of usability mofos on the block, team Use This! from the HOTlab applied the “nastiest” design approach of the evening. A relatively inexperienced team, they made up for their lack of experience by coming up with an innovative design solution.

Team IBM: Team I Build Mockups applied their solid tools and rigorous process to tackle the problem. Soliciting active participation from the audience, they captured and validated user needs and their design solutions. This experienced and skilled team applied their well-oiled process to craft an innovative design.

The Winners

Voting was a difficult task as each team tackled the problem with professionalism and charisma. Each team accumulated many votes, leaving the final tally a close count. The results of the tally determined a category winner for all teams!

  • Style: Team ACDC
  • Presentation: Team IBM (I Build Mockups)
  • Overall: A tie! Team Use This! And Team UCDC.

Prizes included gift certificates for Chapters and imaginative trophies generously provided by the CapCHI executive committee. One large trophy will be designated with the winning overall teams – and will be used for future CapCHI Interactive events.

The Learning

To see other Interactionary events, or for information on how to run your own, see Scott Berkun’s excellent set of resources at http://www.scottberkun.com/essays/dsports/guide/.

Thank you!

I would like to give a huge “Thanks!” to all the people (and there were lots of you!) who put in so much effort, creativity, and a little bit of courage to make CapCHI’s Interactionary a success! It was evident that everyone had fun and also learned a lot.

Thanks also go out to CapCHI for organizing the venue, the people, the prizes, the materials, etc; to the audience for their active and enthusiastic participation, and – of course, the teams: Macadamian’s UCDC, the Industrial Design and Engineering Team ACDC, the HOTLab’s Team Use This!, and IBM’s I Build Mockups, who all threw themselves wholeheartedly into the spirit of the event.

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