Sarah A. Bradford

Creating contextual understanding amid information overload

 

Creating contextual understanding amid information overload

Graduate Thesis, Pratt Institute
Research & Proof of Concept

 

 

Design Challenge

While there is an excess of information available on the Internet, many people lack the contextual understanding required to grasp complex economic, political, and social issues.

 
 

Problem Description

During the early days of the Internet, experts theorized that unfettered access to information would prompt the proliferation of more democratically-minded communities. And while the Internet has certainly transformed the way we live and do business, why are some of us left feeling like we’re living under the tyranny of information? The Internet has created more voices than ever, fueling the constant feed of online information. And with this, our society’s notion of expertise has been turned it on its head; we no longer rely upon a handful of sources for information.

We’re living in an age of information overload, attempting to piece together bits of information into a coherent body of knowledge. Google and Wikipedia don’t provide a nuanced frame of reference for creating deep understanding. Digital tools have created new educational experiences, but it is difficult to grasp complex economic, political, and social issues.

 
 

Proposed Solution

Contexted is an online platform that relies upon subject-matter experts to create curated media experiences around complex topics.

 
 

Complex Topics,
Curated by Experts

Contexted draws upon the expertise of curators to decide which articles, audio, and videos are significant in understanding a topic. The platform makes use of motion graphics as each topic has a short overview or "snapshot" to help contextualize the other media they encounter.

 

Organizing Structures

Information is divided into four sections that encourage meaningful engagement with a topic.

 
 

Research Publication

 
 
 
 
 

Understanding Context

Strengths & Weaknesses

The Moment team worked with key stakeholders from the Hill’s team to understand strengths and weaknesses of Hill’s brand and digital presence.

Opportunity Areas

Our team identified five key areas in which Hill’s could provide value to pet parents: Save Time, Save Money, Build Knowledge, Be Delighted, and Connect with Others. These areas provided a framework for ideation as we generated ways that Hill’s Science Diet could

Competitive Analysis

Our team identified five key areas in which Hill’s could provide value to pet parents: Save Time, Save Money, Build Knowledge, Be Delighted, and Connect with Others. These areas provided a framework for ideation as we generated ways that Hill’s Science Diet could


User Research

Pet Parent Interviews

In order to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges facing pet parents, we conducted research sessions, interviewing two pet parents simultaneously for a more conversational format.

Pain Points Activity

Parents ranked common frustrating categories around caring for pets and recounted stories of when times were tough, as well as enjoyable. This helped us better understand our personas as well as the categories to explore in design.

Value Testing

Parents sorted product ideas based on their relative level of importance. This was an additional way for pet parents to recount stories of what would be useful for them and their pets.


Research Findings

User Personas

We discovered some of the key factors that influence a pet parent’s experience: shopping habits (either online or in-store), research habits, experience level, and preferred source of recommendations.

Key Moments

Based on user interviews, we identified key transformational moments that recur throughout a pet and pet parent’s life where they need confidence the most.

 


Ideation

Sketching

Our team generated common scenarios within each of our key moments, many of them pulled directly from user interviews, in order to provide a framework for sketching. Examples of scenarios included getting a new pet, finding the right food for a new pet, dealing with a food allergy or illness, shopping for food, visiting the veterinarian, and caring for an aging pet.