Thesis 3, Week 12

This week certainly feels like a milestone. All of my deliverables are complete. My book is at the printer. My site is done, everything is printed or mocked up, photographed and documented. My presentation and video seem to be in their final states. I have worked hard over the last couple of weeks.

When I started on my thesis, it took me awhile to wrap my head around all of these little deliverables. I knew that I had a lot to do, but now it seems like most people create a few really large things while I created a whole bunch of smaller things. Creating this work has been hard enough, but managing it all has been a completely unique challenge. Making sure I had stuff to printers on time, making sure my visual system was being applied, and even checking colors to see that they were within my brand standards all became part of my routine for getting things done. I do feel that because I have so many “things”, it has lengthened my presentation and video because each deliverable gets mentioned, sometimes twice, depending on if it is used in one or two kits. I had a lot of redo during this process, but I think that the results are overall good.

I have learned a lot from people about how their personalities and demeanors can affect how they interact with materials, be those materials physical or digital. I have also learned a lot about how casinos really do bring people pleasure, regardless of the fact that casinos prey upon weakness. I have also learned that not everyone falls prey to addiction; Some people can just casually gamble for fun and have the ability to stop willingly.

I took a couple of years off during my thesis to take some other courses, so it was interesting jumping back in. It definitely changed in many ways, although to be quite honest I think that my earliest visual system was more successful. Regardless, it feels great to be closing in on completion and I have benefitted immeasurably from this journey.

Thesis 3, Week 11

It has been an amazingly productive week.

• After redoing my website in Adobe XD, I made further design refinements to it, including globally shrinking my text sizes.

• I linked my live site to the XD prototype.

• I photographed all of my printed deliverables. There are a ton of them. I had to print some at the last minute as well, and some needed to be re-shot. Two separate photo shoots happened.

• I further tweaked my thesis book in many ways, including adding and describing all deliverables including sequences of the videos and mockups of every web screen. I also made some typographic tweaks in the book.

• I re-recorded the video sequence of altering a poster. This needed to be done.

• I made some moderate changes to my presentation, including adding all deliverables, some new images and breaking up the script a bit.

As of now, I need to do some more work to get my video tight, and I still need to create my motion graphics. Plan is to get the book to the printer by Tuesday at the latest (aaagh!)

Thesis 3, Week 10

The end is getting near! A bunch of updates this week:

I made some changes to my slideshow, adding additional content about the future of Defy Chance.
I started on my motion graphics. These really should be done at this point, but for now I have a rough cut of the first one.
I made a whole bunch of changes to my book, to tighten it up. It’s in pretty good shape. This upcoming week I need to photograph all of my deliverables. That will help with everything else a lot.
I redid my website!!!! It is now an Adobe XD project. So the design looks much better and fits into my system way more successfully.
Still a lot of work to do; This upcoming week will be a busy one.

Thesis 3, Week 9

I reworked my thesis video this week. Completely re-recorded the audio, and redid the stop-motion sequence of showing my deliverables. I also included my new Marketing Kit box, just made today. T-shirts came in and my lawn signs are scheduled to be done on Tuesday. That will conclude the physical part of my deliverables. I am adjusting my slideshow, which still needs work but is making progress. Next week I plan on photographing everything if I can get to it before I go away for Easter.

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Thesis 3, Week 8

I definitely did not get as much done as I would have liked this week. I did not touch my process book, although I have good feedback for it. I did, however get a start on my slideshow (also not where it needs to be at this point) and have a rough cut of my video. I also wrapped up my three interview videos and put them on YouTube as well as my site, ordered t-shirts and ordered a vinyl label for my marketing kit.

T-shirt fronts

T-shirt fronts

T-shirt backs

T-shirt backs

Thesis 3, Week 7

This has been a long, tiresome, frustrating, yet rewarding journey, and there is still a lot of work to be done. My thesis began as something very personal for me, as I was involved in a local movement to stop a casino from coming to my town. I got to know some local activists and was asked to do the branding for the movement, which was known as SAVE Saratoga – Saratogians Against Vegas-style Expansion. When we were successful, I though about the role of design in the organization, and how visuals had an impact on our behavior and image. At the same time, I questioned how our organization might work in other places, where community-involvement might not be so strong, or government leadership might not be so willing to listen. My visuals were based on the idea that oppressed groups often use the language of guerilla marketing to get their points across, and that tactics such as this, while often dismissed as unprofessional, can equally gain attention to causes. Hence, my materials were designed with grassroots protest in mind and were influenced by constructivism and graffiti while giving a slight nod to the cheesy glamor of casino.

There is still a lot to be done; Since I have so many visuals, they all need to be tightened up and made to look consistent. I still have some writing to do, as well as some mockups and video editing. Speaking with my users has been invaluable, as it has shown me not only the things that need improvement or addition to my suite of deliverables, but also the ways in which people’s individual personalities play a role in determining how they approach certain products. It is clear to me that not all design work speaks the same language to every person, even within a shared demographic.

Thesis 3, Week 5

It has been a busy, busy week! I accomplished a few things behind the scenes this week:

1. I made some updates to my process book. It is nowhere close to where it needs to be, but it is getting there.

2. I interviewed a new user named Jerome McGriff. He is a former gambling addict who has lost 175,000 dollars to casinos over two decades.

3. I added branding and text to my kit box with some vinyl lettering I designed, and a stenciled logo.

4. I printed posters, postcards and stencils. I cut out all of the stencils.

5. I mocked up my red spraypaint can.

6. I updated my website with some new graphics and made some font changes.

7. I updated my video walkthrough with some happier music and redid the event creation sequence so that you can’t see the Squarespace interface.

8. I user tested my kit box with three users.

Jerome McGriff

Jerome McGriff

User testing provided some great insights today.


Thesis 3, Week 4

I finally got my website walkthrough video done this week. Also met with a former professional gambler who had decades of experience and was able to offer some insight into how casinos operate, and the tools that they use to get people addicted. It was a very interesting conversation that I recorded and I will be using some of it in my video pieces.

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Also, my gambling chips arrived! I have sketched a user journey for these that shows how they can be used in a casino (discretely, of course) to drive people to Defy Chance’s website. I have made some updates to my visual system, and begun laying out my process book. And I sent my postcards to the printer. Phew!


Thesis 3, Week 3

I had a nice interview with an audience member this week. She lives near a new casino and finds herself there a few times a week. She explained to me that she had to get a second job in order to help support her habit, but also to take up some of the time that she would normally be gambling.

Nicole Thomas

Nicole Thomas

I designed two more postcards, so my postcard deliverable should be a set now. Made some minor tweaks to the typography on my kit box, and also sent my gambling chips and two more sticker designs to the printer. Since I have so many small(ish) deliverables, I need to keep my eye on vendor scheduling. This week I hope to get deeper into my website production, as I am a bit behind on that.

Thesis 3, Week 2

I am considering redoing my image treatment with a simpler solution. The top version is my current image treatment, and the bottom is a grayscale version that I would like to explore as a possibility. It is less chaotic and addresses my audience more directly. These are two layouts from my kit booklet.


I started building my site and registered the domain - I also started one of my two motion pieces, which will be short animations showing casino statistics and info snapshots. I designed my postcard (three options) and also updated the design of my kit box. And my first round of stickers came!


Module 15

My expectations of this semester’s work changed greatly as the term started and the weeks progressed. The list of materials that I had planned on from Thesis 1 was as follows:

• Website (working, using template) 
• Posters (guerilla style for pasting up around town) (3)
• T-shirts (3)
• Lawn Signs (3)
• Protest signs (3)
• Stickers (3, small for bumpers and things like light poles and stop signs)
• Imitation gambling scratch-offs (3)
• Imitation gambling chips (3)
• Visual system guidelines (due Module 7)
• Motion design graphics will be projected in the environment to attract attention of the local community (3 designs)
• PDF/Downloadable booklet which uses images collected during the projection event, and includes instructions on how members can run their own event (12 pages)
• Fake Wayfinding campaign: Clocks, and signs pointing to exits
• Motion pieces (30 sec-2 minutes) using infographics/interviews to show how governments lie about casino profits and the effects on the communites vicitms, including compulsive gamblers and seniors (different design to the protest action videos) (3)
• e-cards based off the motion graphics (3)

As my thesis developed, a few of these deliverables changed. Some, such as the fake wayfinding campaign were deemed unrealistic. We also determined that there were better deliverables to explore, such as auto-generated email headers that would be created from an event on Defy Chance’s website. Two projects that took an unexpected amount of energy and time were the development of my visual guidelines and my UX. The visual guidelines were started early in the semester, yet I spent nearly the entire semester experimenting, sketching and exploring different treatments for my brand. Because it took many revisions for my guidelines to become somewhat finalized, the development of my design deliverables suffered a bit. In the meantime, I was spending quite a bit of time on UX development as well, more than expected early on. One piece of the puzzle that did get added was a task flow for creating an event on my site, followed by the ordering of protest materials. This task flow was user tested by a few different people and will likely need some tweaks. Needless to say, it was a very busy semester and although my deliverables changed and did not get the attention that they perhaps needed, I accomplished a ton and feel ready to move forward.

As we approach Thesis 3, I will be working on the early stages of my thesis process book. This will involve setting up files to be printed at Blurb, using my visual guidelines as a basis. I will also be gathering some of my video content and ordering some of the materials needed to create physical mockups of my deliverables. This includes lawn signs and my kit box. These tasks will help me hit the ground running once the spring semester begins.

This is a link to my final presentation PDF.

Module 14

My deliverables have changed significantly since my contract as I explored more thoroughly who would be using Defy Chance in what ways, and for what reasons. My general approach had previously been to document a protest event, and this has now shifted to focus more on generating the materials needed to

1. Market an event
2. Run an event
3. Market Defy Chance as an organization

This semester was vastly different than I had anticipated as so much time was spent on UX and branding guidelines; Development of deliverables seemed to happen late in the semester. My contract did state that I needed to work on motion pieces during the semester, but there simply was not time to, or I simply didn’t have the bandwidth to. Over the break I intend to keep pushing my deliverables, gathering content (including video) and collecting materials to create mockups.

Module 13

One thing that I think needs to be made very clear, based on user feedback, is that two types of users will potentially be using my site: The first type of user is someone who wants to market Defy Chance as an organization. The other user is someone who wants to setup a Defy Chance event by using the site and will in turn receive Defy Chance materials, both physical and electronic.

My task flow still needs some refinement, to be honest. But I think it is almost there. One of the most important things I learned is that users may be confused about their next steps once they receive materials from the site. Therefore, it is necessary for Defy Chance to continue to offer guidance about how to use the materials, whom to target, how and where to promote an event, etc. Additionally, there should be clarification about which materials for for events and which are simply for marketing Defy Chance.

Additionally, it seems imperative that users should have an account on Defy Chance’s site before they are able to create events and order materials. That way, the site has their contact info and profile built in.

Although I have made some progress on my other deliverables, they are still being fleshed out, and I will be working on them basically up until the last week of the semester.

Module 12

User testing!

5 things that worked:

1. Users felt that the overall simplicity of the interface was good.
2. My users were all over 40 and liked the large buttons. My audience would mainly be people older than their mid-30′s.
3. Users recognized the hamburger icon as a place to bring up navigation.
4. Users felt that the screens had just the right amount of text on them.
5. Users understood that there were three different DC kits to order and that each one had a specific purpose.

5 things that did not work:

1. Users felt that the creation of events needed to be more detailed and should allow people to contact the event organizer for more info.
2. Two users could not figure out what the graphic was on my home screen.
3. Users always wanted to be able to bring up the main menu again, or at least be able to go back home from any screen.
4. Some of the wording was not standard for current mobile sites. For instance, after editing an event’s information, the screen should say Save Changes instead of Create Event, which might make users think they are creating a second event.
5. One user stated that DC users should be given more direction after ordering materials, in terms of what to do with them once they are received.

Module 9

Lots of user testing this week! I printed out wireframes and met with Analia, Mark and Lindsay.

Home screen: Prefered home page version 2. The other versions had too much clutter and offered too much distraction. Mark said that version 2 felt like something that he would be ‘used to seeing’.

Task flow: Address selection screen should not say ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’. Instead, it should offer a choice. For instance, ‘Use this address’ or ‘use a different address’. The ‘Shipping’ screen should say ‘Shipping Info’ and the second cart screen should say the same thing, since it is displaying shipping information and not a shopping cart list.

Home screen: Prefered home page version 3 - as it is different and somewhat unique, but still usable and easy to understand. Less distratcing than the other versions, as it does not conflict with other content on the home screen.

Task flow: Process for resetting password should involve a code, not a reset password link. Need to look at how this is handled, either via an SMS or email. Also, need to have the option for selecting one address from a list of possible addresses when ordering materials. In other words, there need to be multiple addresses (work, home, etc.) available to select from when ordering from the site.

Home screen: Prefered home page version 1, but would like to incorporate  landing screen 3 with the menu from version 1 because the large buttons are appealing and easy to use. She also feels that it is important for the menu to be the only thing she sees, with no distracting content.

Task flow: It would be great to have two options to receive a PW reset code - both email and SMS. If a user is overseas, SMS will not necessarily work so being able to receive the code over email is necessary. ‘Email sent’ screen should be reworded to say that en email has been sent to the address on file. ‘Confirm address’ should say ‘Confirm shipping address’. On the cart screen, +/- buttons should be available to add and remove items. A screen needs to be added that reviews order details, allowing the user to confirm. The next screen should be a confirmation screen with order number needs to appear next.

Module 8


One of my wireframes uses the ‘hamburger’ icon to show a collapsible / expandable nav menu. This is something that could work well to save real estate if my pages end up being highly visual. The home page in my wireframes might need some attention, as right now it is purely visual. But maybe that’s OK? I went back to see some of my website pulls from earlier in the semester and most of them are pretty visual as well, with home pages that are visually enticing while the child pages have more text and informational content. I have treated my 'materials’ page as if it was an online catalog, since users will be able to select items and add them to a cart. This is a very standard way of ordering items online, even if they are free.