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Branding, Data Visualization, UX Design, User Research, Concept Development, Prototyping, 3D Modeling, Schematic Development

As the leader of a diverse team in the VCU da Vinci program, we undertook the task of designing and engineering a mobile jump rope station for Sports Backers in Richmond, Virginia. With a $500 grant, our goal was to create a theftproof and vandalism-resistant station called “Upswing” that would provide a safe playing environment for inner city children. Through careful observation, data analysis, and over 100 hours of dedication, our team developed a unique mobile jump rope station. Our efforts received recognition from various sources, including Virginia Commonwealth University News, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Channel 6 WTRV, and a supportive tweet from Mayor Levar Stoney. We successfully conducted user tests, refined the design, and presented our final prototype to the client, leading to the production and launch of five Upswing stations throughout Richmond, with hopes of expanding to other major cities in the future.


SportsBackers RVA


Aaron Ni’jai

Owen Thompson

Susanna Seabourne

Gary Portillo


Executive Report

Jump Rope Handle Design and Prototype

Vinyl Signage

UX Research

Product Schematic

Brand Elements Research

During our initial meeting with the client and mentor, we gained a thorough understanding of the project requirements and expected outcomes. We established a timeline using a Gantt Chart and encouraged each team member to sketch three structure ideas for the upcoming meeting. To ensure consistency, I created a brand standards document and shared it with the team. After evaluating the sketches, we selected three ideas to develop into prototypes and detailed sketches. I delegated tasks to team members, maintained organization through GroupMe reminders, and utilized Design Thinking exercises such as rapid prototyping. We presented our initial ideas to the client, recorded their feedback, and reviewed it with our mentor. Our first user test at the Richmond 10K event involved assessing colors, patterns, and the prototype’s appeal to children. We created a rough prototype, conducted over 100 tests, and discovered the challenge of designing a handle suitable for both individual and two-person jumping. Additionally, we gained valuable insights into color preferences. At Fairfield Elementary School, we conducted a second user test, engaging with over 40 students and collecting data on their jumping behavior.

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