Jonathan Ponciano researches the legality and pricing for his team’s product. Photo taken by Lauren Merlini.

We finally made it to the next step: researching customer feedback and pricing of the product.

This week, my teammates, Jonathan Ponciano and Morgan Trachtman, and I solidified our idea. We want to create a book for special occasions that combines news and personal history. For example, for a wedding we would trace how the families overlap and how the couple met. We would then research historical news and events over the years and combine the two into a keepsake book.

We researched the product this week and couldn’t find any products that exist like this! We found a few news books, but there was nothing that personalized news for special occasions.

We started more in-depth research. We split our team into different categories to investigate more efficiently. Jonathan was in charge of looking into the legality of using information for profit and researching pricing for book printing. Morgan was reaching out to organizations that we could partner with to access their archived articles. My job was to find the easiest ways to find information, how to discover personal information and what we should or should not include in the books.

To find out more about the legality of this process, Jonathan contacted media law professors at UNC-Chapel Hill and read copyright laws of specific newspapers. For pricing, he searched for different book printing companies online. He then found quotes for different types of books. For example, he changed the number of pages, type of paper (glossy vs. matte), and other aspects to see the cheapest way we can produce the books.

Morgan contacted local newspapers and libraries to see what information is available and how to find it. She also researched if there is a need to digitize news. We tried to see if we could partner with newspapers to receive this information in return for digitizing their news.

I looked for online newspaper databases and resources to discover information. I found a variety of sources. The problem was how to filter through the massive databases. We discussed how, when we start making books, it will become easier because we can reuse information from certain cities.

Our group decided that we need to narrow our search to a specific occasion. We are going to start researching for weddings in Chapel Hill. My next step is to try to go through the process for this specific occasion.

We still have a lot of research to do. After we gather enough information, we will begin prototyping. I think prototyping will be the best step to help us grasp our idea completely.

It’s exciting to be able to get past thinking of ideas and researching desirability. Our group has been stuck at this stage for a while because most ideas we had already existed.

It’s also great to see the progress in one product. Our group has made huge progress throughout our work at the Lab, but we haven’t been able to reach the next step in a single product until this week. I’m excited to see where this leads us.

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