WNM700 Module 08

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 | Module

Design Project Two Kickoff!

Okay, now it’s time for a longer design project. Design Project Two will follow the same format and process as Design Project One, but this time, you have six weeks to frame your own design challenge. This project is an individual project.


Activity: Mind Map

We will kick things off with the Mind Map exercise. This will help you examine your world and see how you might be able to effect change with your design abilities.


Find your Topic

Search for topics you would like to move into possible development for Design Project Two, so you can frame your own design challenge.

How will you find your topic?

Look for:

  • A people
  • A community
  • A habit
  • A theme
  • An idea 
  • A direction
  • A trend 
  • A category
  • A problem
  • A need 
  • A niche
  • An opportunity
  • A family
  • A group

Bias towards:

  • People who are different than you. We don’t want any projects for/by art students.  
  • Find close-knit communities that have unique verbiage, values, and habits. Find self-identifying groups. It could be a profession, or something else.
  • The unserved. There are more people on this planet than 18–34 year olds with expendable income. The unserved need your design. Urgently.
  • The unknown. The more you’ll have to find out, the better. The fresher you are to the subject, the less bias you’ll have, and the better your design will be. All you need to start is “Socrates” and a pencil. 

A word on scope

You’re searching for a topic that’s not too big, and not too small to ideate on.

Too big — If your topic requires a team of people to execute the design properly, or is not testable or provable without a ton of support, it might just be too large. Additionally, if you propose dozens of avenues for change (“feature creep”), it may be too diffuse. You are searching for one unique solution, and then you want to iterate until it’s really great.

Here are some examples of topics that are just too large in scope without being broken down into subtopics: 

  1. Global Warming/Climate Change
  2. Airlines
  3. Medical 
  4. Software Applications
  5. social networks

Too small — You’re also looking for someone you can help with an end to end system of design, not just a website or app. The topic you are searching for should have real people you can help in the real world, and you should consider all of the ramifications from the beginning to the end. Some topics can then be rather limited.

Simple goods transactions, basic micro-interactions, or topics which result in an informational website are often too small.

You know, stuff like:

  • Recipe Books
  • Coffee/Tea stuff
  • Menus


  • How big is it? If it’s a market, how large is the market? 
  • How niche is it? 
  • Who’s involved with it? Which people? Where are they? Who are they?
  • Who is the top expert/s in the field of the topic? Who is the top practitioner, or who “wrote the book” on the topic? Who know the most about the topic? Who know the least?
  • Anyone around you that you know who’s involved? In this city? In your class? In you social network?
  • What’s unexpected about your topic? Any preconceived notions that you think might be false?

Create a list of potential topics in your journal. 

Vote for your favorite with the following criteria:

  1. Personal interest
  2. Unfamiliarity (the more unfamiliar to you, the better)
  3. Perceived needs/priority
  4. Strongest Community

Next, get a friend or trusted person to evaluate your list of topics. Have them vote too.

Narrow it down to 3 potential topics.