7 Case Study & Early Prototyping
My case study for the early prototyping of the Public Gratification Palace Platform will be implemented on La Fontaine Park, located in Montreal, at which La Pépinière I Espaces Collectifs, a non-profit placemaking organization, holds placemaking presence in collaboration with the City of Montreal.
In practice, the implementation of such a platform is possible when the actors involved in placemaking work collaboratively, and that is the case between the city of Montreal and La Pépinière I Espaces Collectifs. The city and La Pépinière are in collaborations for over 17 different placemaking initiatives across Montreal, including La Fontaine park, as illustrated below. Additionally, the following figure shows the existing urban planning and design processes of La Pépinière, and how the Public Gratification Palace Platform can integrate itself in that current methodology.
La Pépinière I Espaces Collectifs understands and organizes public spaces in two layers: the built infrastructure and the social infrastructure with supporting examples, illustrated in Figure 18. The organisation and elements of interventions are directly emphasized on the process map. This allows for common concepts, vocabularies and building blocks for the learning, coordinating and collaborative opportunities of the Platform.
The following diagram shows an overview of La Fontaine Park with its different activities’ zones, speculated as potential zones of interest for the implementation of the Platform. It has a large surface area of 400 000 sqm of greenery. It is a multi-functional park with hiking and biking opportunities in the summer; skating and sledding in the winter. It has a diverse range of built facilities, such as two baseball fields, a dog park, outdoor tennis courts, outdoor volleyball courts, a large pond, playgrounds, wading pools, Theatre de Verdure, restaurants and so on. It also has a diverse range of amenities such as barbecue zones, changing rooms, drinking fountains, picnic area, snack-bar, and washrooms.
In considering my personal limitations (of not being in-situ), and the contact limitations imposed on the population of Montreal during the month of April 2021, I was able to reach out to six (6) residents of Montreal, who acted as my early adopters for early prototyping. I acknowledge that six participants can be relatively low in terms of sampling. However, at that stage, it was important for me to have meaningful and longer interactions with the 6 participants testing the usage of the platform, rather than focusing on the number of participants using the platform and its potential penetration growth rate.
I would like to emphasize on my decision of using “early prototyping” phase, and not the common association of the “prototyping” phase. The main reason is because my prototype is not programmed to be technically viable for early release phase of the Public Gratification Palace Platform, but it is an early release of the front-end layout, features, and parameters for user experience. My intention with this early prototyping phase is not to confront and analysis the technological progress of the Platform, but rather the experiential opportunity of using the platform for familiar and accessible civic engagement. The following figure illustrates a catalogue of screenshots of the data collected from the 6 participants. The screenshots are not exhaustive but comprehensive to the main inputs from the participants.
The inputs of the 6 participants are then organized and summarized under the following diagram. I focused on the simplicity of the layout and design, in the attempt to bring the clarity of its content’s foreword.
I organized and translated the inputs from the 6 early adopters’ participants into 3 Personas. Precisely, the personas are fictional characters created based on the interactions extracted from these participants, represented as coherent narratives to showcase the experiential quality of the Platform, if it were to be fully functional. It is a curation of the contents to represent the different qualities and levels of engagement a particular user can have with the Platform. The Personas and their narratives illustrate the range of interactions from the shorter engagement (up until “Usage” section) to the longer participation (completing “Co-creative” section). Hopefully, this gives a comprehensive insight on the Platform. Figure below is the presentation of the 3 Personas and their narratives.
Personas help to visualized and understand what the user experience would be if the Platform were to be prototyped. It allowed me to cover the different user groups within the target audience by showing the different age groups, the different levels of engagement and participation and levels of learning and progress expected from the Platform. Overall, the creation of personas promotes the user-center approach of the Public Gratification Palace as they help to better illustrate the motives, experiences, behaviours and goals of the target audience.