Grant-funded by the Mesa Arts Center, I led a team of seven people to build five ideaPortals for the first Main St. Prototyping Festival. My original vision was to measure how people felt in various parts of downtown, and to encourage them to share ideas for making it better:
Once we won the grant, I started refining the design and realized two things:
- It was likely that few people would take the time to write their thoughts down. We’d need to reduce friction if we wanted higher engagement rates.
- By using electronic buttons, we could report the data on a public dashboard!
From there, we pieced together the final prototypes:
And placed them throughout the city, among the other prototypes:
Each ideaPortal contained question prompts in two languages (Mesa has a large population of Spanish-speakers that I wanted to include), five “emoji buttons,” a chalkboard, and—most importantly!—an IoT-connected hardware setup to relay the button data to our interactive web portal displaying the results:
We also built a website and marketed it to people across our social media networks:
One of the visitors during the 3-day Prototyping Festival was none other than the Assistant City Manager of Scottsdale, who contacted us to request ideaPortals at the upcoming Scottsdazzle festival! Needless to say, we were absolutely thrilled and promptly submitted a proposal which won us not one, but TWO opportunities to put the ideaPortals in action:
At the end of each event, I put together a detailed report of the data: