AT&T Foundry


AT&T Foundry came to a group of iDiploma members with challenge. That challenge had them gathering user-based insights on the ideal way to surface video content to customers. Through multiple modes of empathy and discovery work, the team distilled insights and discovered patterns that helped them ultimately create a high-rez prototype for their client. The team pitched their prototype to ten members of AT&T and of the Foundry and were met with high praise: “This is better than a lot of the $100k market research projects I’ve seen come in.”

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Redesigning the Future

By Abigail Emerson

Records Officer

In Innovation Diploma, we were given the chance to choose our next design brief. I felt strongly about partnering with AT&T Foundry, thus three other cohort members, including Maqueline Weiss, Brady Vincent, and Bryce Jones, and I took on this design brief. Our client, Mrs. Twersky, tasked us with the idea of connecting TV with mobile usage. AT&T had just then recently bought DirectTV so they were also hoping for a way in which to surface this content to their users and possible users. Using the idea of context-based-content, which is content surfaced to one via one’s past likes/dislikes and online history, we began to dive deep into this design brief, by discovering more about our task, empathizing with our users, experimenting with our different ideas, and producing a final product.

When beginning, we really tried to discover who our client was and what they were currently doing in order to get a better grasp of the design brief given to us. After discovering a lot about the client, we then went on to empathize with users. This phase is where we ended up spending the majority of our time. In order to empathize with users, we did over 75 interviews!! These included 1:1 interviews, intercept interviews, and expert interviews. For the 1:1 interviews, we would meet with the students and faculty of our school one at a time, while for expert interviews, we would interview experts in different fields that pertained to the design brief, such as experts in the field of communications and information technology. The questions included what programs the users used to watch content, such as movies, TV. shows, and videos, how their mood affects what they watch, how the time of day affects what they watch, and how they feel towards context-based-content. When interviewing we came upon our first fail-up moment, where we learned that the questions we had created only prompted tip-of-the-iceberg answers. Later on, we began doing intercept interviews, where we would go out to shopping areas and randomly sk strangers if they’d be willing to answer a few questions. While there, we became surprised with how many people agreed to let us interview them. However, we also found that not everyone would agree to be interviewed. Having people decline interviews allowed us the chance to grow in resilience. 

As we neared the final meeting, we took all of the insights we had gained from the interviews and crafted our V.1 prototype. After getting feedback on our first prototype, we went on and created a V.2 prototype, which was a more refined version of the first one.

Finally, it was time for the meeting! For the meeting, we ended up going to the AT&T Foundry office and presenting our insights and our prototype. Overall, the meeting went really well! Our client was blown away with how deeply we dove into the empathy phase.

Throughout this design brief, I gained new skills and strengthened old ones, including but not limited to observation, interviewing, leadership, and presentation skills. I’m ecstatic about the future because of how much more I can grow in the skill sets I’m currently developing.