How can we empower teams to document the design process in their agile workflow when conducting research while out in the field?

Within the MediaLAB Amsterdam we identified that our teams, were experiencing difficulties when doing research out in the field. This had two main issues:

The first one was that since teams weren’t completely familiar with the methods they were using, they would fail to prepare properly for the moment they would do their research.

The second issue was that while out in the field, the teams would be focused on doing the study and not necessarily on documenting, which could lead to losing of materials, forgetting to record/film/take photos, taking lots of photos that they would later have to go through to pick the ones that were meaningful, etc. It was decided to help them by developing an app that would guide them through the process, and where all documentation would happen. They could then review the documentation on a computer and print out any materials they needed.

The app, starts the user by asking them to create their team, and invite the users to join. Users can create several teams with different team members. Users are asked to define their main design goal and define subgoals with clear deadlines for them.

The SCREAM app then uses information regarding similar public projects (based on team size, topics, and location) and recommends methods that can fit the project and goals. Although users are free to use any of the other methods within the app, the recommendation system is a way to get inspired and try methods that other teams have had success with.

The user could then pick up tasks from within the project based on the methods selected, create new tasks unrelated to the method, complete tasks and upload any material created, or assign tasks to one of their team members. The team could be reminded if there was a deadline approaching and they could track who was assigned to the specific tasks, and adapt their planning accordingly.

The tasks themselves would allow documentation (video, sound recordings, photos, text) to be collected on the field. This would allow the team to share the data sets easily amongst them no matter where they were located, and would allow them to collect insight easier.