"Put a stake in the ground."
Defining what you are designing is critical, and in some cases, that can be the hardest part of any project. What exactly is this going to be, and for whom? Finding a your north star can be a confusing, chaotic, magical, and sometimes arduous process. However, there are many tools you can leverage to make the process more efficient.
Working with the amazing Abby Covert, IA genius extraordinaire, I produced a continuum map to define the direction of my thesis:
Starting with the creation of continuum "buckets," I mapped where my work lies along the scale. Where has my work been? Where is it now? Where do I want it to be?
Will it be "social" or "solitary"? Instinctually, I strongly believe that developing products which integrate, or encourage, social interaction will be the winner. This has been evidenced during field trials conducted on my current designs, and the mechanics of gamification.
"Speculative" or "market ready"? Presently, I am more inclined to develop speculative ideas. In the past I have played it safe, and steered the direction toward market-ready products. In the future, I would like to find a balance between the two.
"Interactive art" or "consumer products"? I believe that this decision is one that effects myself and my users' experience. I'm bored by consumer products; I think my audience is too. I want to make some art.
-Michael Lee Kenney