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Alexandra Visconti Spring 2012 201.788.2561

The Process Reseach, Synthesis, Prototype and Test make up the standard practice for each of the projects that follow. Although some rely more heavily on different steps in the process, each step is considered throughout.









Design research requires

Synthesis is making sense

Develop a concept that was

Testing involves using the

gathering qualitative data with

of the qualitative research

informed from synthesized

prototype in a real situation

a human centered approach

gathered through abductive

research into a model or

and oberseving how the

which focuses on empathy and

thinking, visualizing

system that is able to be tested

user interacts with it. This


information, and sorting

and observed.

new reserach informs

data. This process allows for

new iterations and future

generative thinking.



Contents Exploring Learning and Communication in Heatlh Care


Historical Timeline of Education


PLUS Project Concept


Imagining a New Library Space


Visual Biography



Exploring Learning & Communication in Health Care

This project was a partnership with the Penn Medicine Healthcare System. The design team was charged with exploring learning and communication within the health care system. This focus allowed the team to conduct design research through interviews to gain an understanding of the culture at Penn Medicine. After this research we were able to host workshops for employees to use the design process as a new method of solving problems in their daily routines.

Alexandra Visconti



Interviews The team conducted about forty contextual interviews while documenting them heavily.




Cultural Probes The team developed the concept of using disposable cameras and designed small workbooks to get employees thinking about their jobs with the right side of their brains and to give us a visual cue into their routines when we weren’t present.

Alexandra Visconti




Quote Cards learning



“Place quotes here...”

Position | Entity | Interview 00


the square

Quote Cards were designed and used to capture the exact words of the employees and their views. The use of module cards allowed the team to group quotes into themes to gain an understanding of the collective voice of the Penn employee and draw conclusions about the employee experience at Penn Medicine.





Interview Documentation understanding the user Typical Work Day

Use of The Square Pilot

Description: This is not a typical day.

Computer Access

Not Pilot

Feedback/Description of Use:

On most days she attends various meetings for various groups. She is a liaison for research analysts.

“I heard about The Square at an IT session.”

Knowledge Link

No Access

Minimal Access

Moderate Access

Full Access

Feedback/Description of Use:


Strongly dislikes it. She expressed much frustration with Knowledge Link. She even mentioned there was a joke about people

She has access to the internet almost always, has a desktop in her office, a blackberry, and a laptop that she can take around with her.

“going Knowledge Link (like going postal).”

Interviewee 00 Learning Style Interview Location:

General Observations:

Collaborative Work Yes


Prefers visual or hands-on learning. She enjoys the SIMS center and HR courses which facilitate hands-on learning.


Uses various tools including e-mail, iPoems, Shared-Point sites, a nursing website, and a nursing blog.

Use of Social Media Yes

Ideas and Needs




Description of Use:

She has a LinkedIn and Facebook account but she rarely uses them.


“I believe you need to tell people something ten different times in ten different ways.” She mentioned several times the difficulty in introducing new technologies into the system. She acknowledges there needs to be recognition of the different types of technological skill-sets within a health care system.

Interview Synthesis

Alexandra Visconti


Profiles were designed as a way to capture the infomation collected in interviews into a comparable form. Each team member presented the profile of the employee they interviewed.


Workshop The workshop was designed as a way for the team to teach the design process methods to the employees in a structured format. Using our research, the employees were walked through our process to explore and develop prototypes as potential solutions to problems they face in daily interactions.



A Timeline of Education

This project was completed as one in a series of timelines exploring how historic events impacted different world issues. My group explored educational history through the lens of cultural, technological and legislative acts. The back of the timeline shows a line graph of different enrollment rates by race and gender in both primary and secondary schools. My responsibilities involved designing the mini explanations about each event.

An Exploration of Education in America Between 1900 and 2010

Enrollment in Higher Education by Gender

Kelly Babcock, Tian Cai, Alex Visconti | GRID 604 Methods I | Project 3: Social/Economic Milestones


Compulsory School Attendance Laws 1905



Education Funding in the South 1912

By 1900, thirty-four states had compulsory schooling laws, four of which were in the South. Thirty states with compulsory schooling laws required attendance until age 14 (or higher). As a result, by 1910, 72 percent of American children attended school.



African American



The “separate but equal” doctrine insured separation but not equality in education: the average expenditure of states and municipalities for the education of white students was far more than that for black students, and blacks were in essence prevented, through much of the country, from preparing themselves for certain occupations readily available to whites.

Women Granted Suffrage

African American Teachers


By 1900 more than 30,000 black teachers had been trained and put to work in the South, and the literacy rate had climbed to more than 50%, a major achievement in little more than a generation.

Theme Regulation and Legislation Culture and Society Technology


Segregation 1930s

Millions of veterans needed to be reintegrated into civilian life following the war, so Congress passed the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act to give servicemen training and education as well as loans to buy homes and start businesses. By the time the original G.I. Bill ended in July 1956, 7.8 million WWII veterans had participated in an education or training program and 2.4 million veterans had home loans.

Progressive Education

Following World War I, there were strong government movements toward peace and anti-war sentiments and the need to avoid further wars. On method was to focus on internationalization of higher education. For example, in 1920, the Belgian American Educational Foundation instituted a program with over 700 students, in which American students went to study in Belgium and viceversa.


Progressive education has been used to describe ideas and practices that aim to make schools more effective agencies of a democratic society. Although there are numerous differences of style and emphasis among progressive educators, they share the conviction that democracy means active participation by all citizens in social, political and economic decisions that will affect their lives.

Instructional Media


National Organization for Women 1966

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 1972

The National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded by women who wanted their voices to be heard, and one of their top priorities was education. They fought against the injustices of sexual discrimination throughout America. NOW’s activist agenda called for equal opportunities in all fields of education, including women’s roles in higher education.

The National Defense Education Act

Youth Art Month





The first catalog of instruction films appeared in 1910 and in 1913, Thomas Edison proclaimed that, due to the invention of film, “Our school system will be completely changed in the next ten years.” This dramatic change didn’t occur, but instructional media were introduced into many classrooms by 1920 in the form of slides and motion pictures.


NAFTA 1994

NAFTA was signed by the US, Mexico and Canada to form a trilateral trade bloc. By signing this agreement, the countries agreed to eliminate certain tariffs on imports and exports. NAFTA is argued to have economic benefits as well as detriments. The agreement has raised awareness by all parties to address the facets of higher education as a force to investigate business practices and free trade.

No Child Left Behind Act 2001


No Child Left Behind Act was created on the belief that setting high standards and measurable goals and can improve individual outcomes in education. The controversy surrounding this Act revolves around funding, “teaching to the test” practices and inconsideration of students with disabilities.

Bullying in US Schools 2010

The awareness of bullying’s impact on the education system was felt in 2010 as a series of suicides and internet based incidents revealed that the issue needs to be addressed. The public placed more of an emphasis on the school’s role in controlling bullying.

Federal Government Shut Down The Berlin Wall that separated communist East Germany and democratic West Germany, was the barrier between two wolds. In 1989 it was announced that citizens of East Germany were allowed to travel freely but the wall was not officially removed. For the next couple moths after the announcement, citizens hammered and chiseled to physically remove it.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a United States federal law that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to age 18 or 21, in cases that involve 14 specified categories of disability.


The government shut down of 1995 - 1996 was caused by disputes between democratic present Bill Clinton and the republican Congress. The two parties could not reach an agreement about the spending on Medicare, education, the environment and public health issues. The shut down meant a furlough and suspension of nonessential services.

IBM Personal Computer



Head Start was one of the most important programs of the Economic Opportunity Act, passed by Congress in 1964 as part of the effort against the War on Poverty. Head Start was established so that children of the poor would have the opportunity to enter the educational system on equal terms with children from better economic backgrounds.

On April 16, Congress creates the National Science Foundation (NSF),which is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.

The Education Testing Service sets the foundation for standardized testing as the basis for admission to higher educationfavoring academic learning over progressive goals. This non-profit organization was formed to take over the testing activities of its founders, whose organizations were not well suited to running operational assessment programs, and to pursue research intended to advance educational measurement.


Fall of the Berlin Wall



ETS Testing 1947


Challenger Space Shuttle The Challenger Space Shuttle made an effort to connect the general public with the space program. In order to do this, it was decided that a teacher would be part of the crew. Christa McAuliffe was chosen and taught lessons from space that were to be broadcasted on PBS. Unfortunately, due to a malfunction the shuttle exploded a few minutes after lift off.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Head Start Program

National Science Foundation


The first part of Title IX was passed in 1972, protecting women in education from discrimination. The law states that, “No person in the United States shall be on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Title IX was a big step to creating equality in education.

Youth Art Month was established in 1961 by Deborah Fanning, Executive Vice President of the Council for Art Education, and The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI), a nonprofit organization associated with art material manufacturers. Youth Art Month is an educational program that promotes the value of a quality art education nationwide.

The National Defense Education Act, NDEA, is passed by Congress and heavily supported by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The act called for schools to emphasize science and math in the hope that children with natural ability in these subjects would pursue careers that would eventually aid the United States National Defense and thus outmatch the Soviet Union’s military, technology and research.

UNESCO, an “international agency for education to promote understanding and cooperation among the peoples of the world as a guarantee of peace,” was created to promote global harmony by encouraging dialogue among scientists, educators, and students. By 1945 American universities began to offer systematic instruction to foreign cultures, setting the cultural agenda of the United States and world.

1920 By 1900 educators argued that the post-literacy schooling of the masses at the secondary and higher levels, would improve citizenship, develop higher-order traits, and produce the managerial and professional leadership needed for rapid economic modernization. The commitment to expanded education past age 14 set the U.S. apart from Europe for much of the 20th century.


1945 The post-World War I baby boom led to dramatic increases in the numbers of students attending school and a marked rise in the demand for teachers.


Brown v. Board of Education Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation.



Internationalization of Higher Education



G.I. Bill 1944

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had begun a program to challenge segregation in the schools in the 1930’s. In the 1040’s they continued their efforts, seeking a court ruling invalidating segregated schools. NAACP cases such as Sweatt v. Painter (1949) set legal precedents that would culminate in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Topeka, Kansas decision invalidating segregation.

World War I Baby Boom

Women granted suffrage paved the way for the children of future generations by creating greater career opportunities for girls and women; as women gained a stronger voice, girls became more involved in the workforce and education and prepared for roles outside of the home.

Post-literacy Schooling



In 1912, the Southern States made of 34 percent of the United States’ population but received only 3% of the education funding.


Enrollment in Primary and Secondary Education by Ethnicity


Separate but Equal

In the Summer of 1980, and IBM representative talked with Bill Gates about developing an operative system for a new personal computer. In 1981 the computer was released with amenities such as a new key board and floppy disk drive. That same year Time Magazine named the computer “man of the year”.

Apple Macintosh with Mouse 1984

Apple developed the mouse with Hovey-Kelley Design (later known as IDEO). The Macintosh was designed to “achieve adequate graphics performance” and excelled where its competitors lacked. This computer made technology accessible to the public at a price and interface that was easy to grasp.


3 4 1 2






World War I was a major war centred in Europe that began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. It involved all the world’s great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies and the

Central Powers. A post-World War I baby boom combined with the Compulsory School Attendance Law influenced an increase in primary and secondary school enrollment in the United States.

Alexandra Visconti

Great Depression



The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until

the late 1930s or early 1940s. The Great Depression led to a slowing of enrollment for children attending primary and secondary schools as families were unable to afford the costs associated with sending their children to school.

Public spending on education also declined sharply, causing many schools to open understaffed or close due to lack of funds.


World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated as WWII or WW2), was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world’s nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing




military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised.

American Civil Rights Movement



The American Civil Rights Movement was a biblically based movement that had significant social and political consequences for the United States. Black clergymen such as the Reverends Martin Luther King and numer-

ous others relied on religious faith strategically applied to solve America’s obstinate racial problems. The movement sought to address and rectify the generations-old injustices of racism by employing the method of nonviolent

resistance which they believed to be modeled after the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Feminism and Women’s Liberation in the Work Place



As women’s rolls in the work place changed so did the trends in higher education. The push for more maths and sciences in public elementary and secondary schools can be attributed in the attitude change in the general public.

Women were no longer confined to the home and seen as somewhat equal in the public sphere through demonstrating their value as human beings. Women became part of the white collar workers of the United States. By 1988

female enrollment in higher education surpassed that of their male counterparts.

Immigration 2001–2011

Just as the first wave of immigration swept the United States, a recent wave of immigrants has a dramatic, but different, effect on the education system. Public school enrollment increases with the influx of illegal immigrants

but also pushes those native populations of students into the private school atmosphere. Not only are more children being enrolled in public school, the DREAM Act allows immigrants who came to the US as minors, graduated high

school, and complete two years of a higher education obtain a six year citizenship and federal financial assistance to pursue that higher education.


Apple Macintosh with Mouse 1984

Apple developed the mouse with Hovey-Kelley Design (later known as IDEO). The Macintosh was designed to “achieve adequate graphics performance” and excelled where its competitors lacked. This computer made technology accessible to the public at a price and interface that was


Immigration 2001–2011

States, a recent wave of immigrants has a dramatic, but different, effect on the education system. Public school

but also pushes those native populations of students into the private school atmosphere. Not only are more children being enrolled in public school, the DREAM Act allows immigrants who came to the US as minors, graduated high

school, and complete two years of a higher education ob to pursue that higher education.

Constructing a Graphic Secondary research into the education system in the US and throughout the world was done and synthesized into various forms that showed different world events and the effects on education within that time period.



PLUS Project Concept This project created a model for a series of community spaces that compliment each other. My role was to lead a team of four undergraduate students. The system encourages community members to interact with each other and take pride in where they live.

Alexandra Visconti


PLUS Project Concept



Building a Model


After pulling together everyone’s ideas about how to make meaningful actions within the constraints of products, systems, services, and graphics, we lead a discussion that revolved around creating a modular system for community development. We constructed a physical model as a prototype for each element of the community center blocks.



Imagining a New Library Space This project was completed in conjunction with the Free Library of Philadelphia. Our team helped the library create and run a community workshop of forty participants to gather input on what the community would like to see in the new space. The final event was the result of over a month of preparation.

Alexandra Visconti



Designing a Workshop After looking at how other libraries have been adjusting to their communities’ needs, we learned that experiences, the space and the services are three main ways in which libraries can expand. I co-facilitated and designed a workshop session in which participants used various tools to express how they could imagine the space looking.




Facilitating a Workshop The participants used post its for brainstorming and floorplans for drawing and spatially organizing the elements they wanted to see in the space.

Alexandra Visconti



Deliverables My responsibilities for the deliverables were in compiling and editing the images associated with the spatial section of a book which housed the ideas of participants. This book would direct the architect in which direction to consider when designing the new library space.



Visual Biography

This project was completed as an individual exploration in visually representing complex information. I chose to represent my relationship to various family members throughout my life. The colors represent different family members and their proximity to the center represents the closeness I felt with them at that time in my life. The research for this project included take inventory and inventing a rating system for my relatives.

Family Connectedness A graphic representation of the developement of familial connectedness over four stages of my life. As people move in and out of my life, they move through the circles surrounding me. The farther away they are from my center cirlce, the less connected I feel to them. ME 0 to 8

Immediate Family

ME 8 to 14

ME 14 to 18

ME 18 to 24

Grandparents Cousins Uncles Aunts Cousin Once Removed

Alexandra Visconti Methods I Project 1: Visual Biography 10.7.11

Alexandra Visconti











ME 0 to 8





Design Portfolio