Chloe Finlayson
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Notice @ Clearleft

NOTICE @ CLEARLEFT

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To replace mundane, text heavy planning notices, myself and two other interns at Brighton based design agency Clearleft designed Notice - an on-street communication tool that displays planning applications and other city notices.

I worked alongside Product Designer Chris Green and Information Experience Designer Monika Bansal to research, develop and build the concept down to a high fidelity prototype or a physical product and a linked mobile application.

The idea behind Notice is to allow the public to quickly and easily respond to planning notices - a process that was once far more complex. This modern and simplified method of communication will increase public engagement in city development.

Research

Our project started with over a month of intensive research to try and pinpoint an area with which we could design for. After reading through minutes from council department meetings, carrying out an online survey and running workshops with staff and friends of Clearleft, we identified a broad range of areas to delve further into, such as disability, tourism, infrastructure, waste and transport. Upon further research in to these areas, we narrowed them down to a group of areas that we felt were the richest. We then dot-voted internally to narrow down again to three research areas, then finally one - city planning.

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Design

Moving into the second month of our project started ideating within our defined problem areas. Together, we came up with over 200 post-it note concepts within each area, narrowed them down to our favourites, then diverged again, coming up with another 100 more low fidelity concepts. After repeating the diverging and then converging process multiple times we began to flesh out some of the best ideas we had. Eventually, it came down to two - a cycling hazard mapper or a digital planning notice alternative - and we picked the latter knowing how desperately it needed a design involvement.

We launched into designing a digital planning notice alternative. We felt that the product we were designing should be linked to a website featuring a map interface, where every planning application was pinned, and the products would be on-street representations of these pins. While Chris and Monika began to design the physical product, I went to work creating a brand and wireframing the responsive website and then the app.

Build

Progressing towards the building stages of the project, the team discussed the products form and functionality and then split up to cover separate aspects of the project, with Chris developing the CAD renderings of the models, Monika wiring up and coding the electronics while I got to work designing the interfaces for the application and the website and creating interactive prototypes in Axure.

Summary

Working on Notice was an absolutely invaluable learning experience. Not only did I have a chance to work alongside many hugely talented designers, but I became far more confident with running workshops and presenting ideas to large groups of people. I feel as though my time at Clearleft hugely progressed me as a designer.