Sometimes it's difficult to find and decide on an activity in a new or unfamiliar location.
Our primary users in this situation would be young adults (ages 18-35) or travellers who are visiting cities, towns, or even rural areas who are not aware of the local attractions or even lesser known activities that exist. These users' goals are to have a fun day alone or out with friends, but to not be burdened by the time consuming task of decision making, either by spending time finding things to do, or spending time breaking out of the paralysis of too many options.
Our users are present all over Massachusetts. Many can be found in the Boston area, either wandering around the streets or deciding what to do. We also have a campus (and several neighboring campuses) filled with young adults who don't always have the time (or know they have the time) to escape into Boston. We are also looking up activity centers in Boston, and will see if we can ask for permission to interview some of their participants, since the service they provide is a physical solution to help with a problem that is very similar to ours. We don't foresee any issues with the ability to give consent since our target user group is old enough to travel or live on their own and should have the ability to go out into the city alone.
A preliminary solution to this problem consists of a UI which asks a user for their interests, budget, number of people, and when they have time for activities. Based on these inputs, the software will suggest places or activities which are open, fall within the budget of the user, and hopefully match their interests. If we get it right, the software should be able to give related places based on the user's rating of that activity. If they did not enjoy the activity, the software will learn that the activity suggested, while it may have lined up with their written interests, was not what the user wanted and suggest a new activity or preform a new search. Our justification behind this iteration of our design is mostly based on our own assumptions since we are young adults, as well as educated guesses as to what the populace at large might want. Currently, with search engines like Google, if you enter something you want to do, it takes time to sort through all the options to find the ones that satisfy the price, proximity, and specificity requirements that are unique to each individual. Our iteration hopes to take the effort out of manually sorting through a veritable internet full of search returns in order to make it much faster and easier to see what can be done. We took a brief look at what is currently provided for the Boston area, and the websites are very focused on sightseeing and tourist activities, but we want to look beyond the tourist hotspots into more general activities with which to divert oneself.
Our team consists of four aspiring designers, Gwyn, Mike, Michael, and Jing. We intend to tackle the problem of decision making. We believe that many people struggle when deciding what to do in a place they are unfamiliar with. Our team structure is as follows; Gwyn will be our Documentation Manager, with competencies in organized writing and programming – some of which is within the web space – and a desire to improve her user interaction skills. Mike will be the Group manager, with skills in organization, design, and a high comfort level when talking to users. He will also do his best to help with programming, but that is not his forte. Michael will be our evaluation manager, as he is familiar with the shortcomings of potential interfaces, and will be able to point out flaws in the design that might otherwise go unnoticed. In addition, he is well-versed in user communication, so he will be able to find and interact with users in a way that will provide a wealth of information. On a more general level, he is organized, a relaxed worker, and on top of things, so he will make everyone around him feel comfortable. Jing will be our design manager, as she has some background with graphic design and is very interested in coordinating the design aspects of the interface. She has a desire to improve her design skills and hopes to bring her previous design experiences to the table.