My final bachelor project went into the topic of office vitality. As office workers spend most of their day sitting at work, plays their posture a huge role in their wellbeing and health but is often difficult to improve. Mo is an interactive mannequin which directly mirrors the users posture through movement and sends out “reminders” to sit right through the LEDs on his back and via mail. The user can also see his/her posture of the previous days and choose how fast they want Mo to remind them to sit upright that day. Mo allows the user to improve their posture before back pain or health issues occur.
Within this project I took on a more hands-on approach and explored ideas with prototypes, sketches or by acting them out, rather than analysing pros and cons and then building one final prototype. This made me realize that you do not always need to follow the same design process. You can also choose to focus on your own development and let that guide the process. In the end, my users liked my product and its aesthetics and I got to challenge myself to learn new things, such as spending more time on coding and electronics.
Within my internship at Korein, I worked on a design that could help pedagogical workers do more technical or multimedia activities with the children of their after school care locations. The main goal was to really understand the pedagogical workers and design something that would help them understand and accept these new activities. My design of StartKind (an interactive website) gave the pedagogical workers all the resources they needed to do an activity, so that they did not have to explore themselves or take much initiative, everything would be ready for them. There was also a page where pedagogical workers could exchange locations for a day in order to make use of everyone’s talents and help change up and encourage others to try out new activities as well.
Through questionnaires, co-creation and observing, the issue and requirements became more and more clear. And in the end I was able to create a design that was desired by the users and the company. This made me realize that even complex problems with varying user groups and different stakeholders can be solved, when listening to everyone involved.
In the USE learning line engineering design I together with a multidisciplinary team had to design a design that would promote sustainability. Within three courses focussed on the user, the design/feasibility and market, we got to develop out idea into a minimal viable product and work out a strategy to get it onto the market.
Our design was focussed on improving awareness over water consumption during showers, as showering shorter can easily save a lot of water and thus also money on the long run.
During the last course I developed myself the most in regards to knowledge about business strategies and what goes into setting up a start-up. I for instance took on the task of looking for potential investors and in the end even had ‘voor de wereld van morgen’ (a platform from the ASN bank that helps sustainable start-ups with knowledge and starting capital) interested in our product. Because there was much more time to spend thinking about a good business plan and market strategy than in a regular course or project, this course was really insightful. This course has also helped me understand my role in a multidisciplinary team and the strengths of a designer. For instance the user focus and business aspects were quite difficult to grasp for the others, but we as designers are more versatile. Our strength is that we know things about the entire design process, not just programming or calculating. This has really made me appreciate and become aware of the development I went through the last years.
In this research project, we looked into the dynamics of group work in an online environment. Online meeting of course differ from live meetings and an effective group composition is even more of interest. To examine this, the following research question is evaluated: How does the composition of personality types in a group influence the dynamics and effectiveness of an online co-creation session?
After doing a few co-creation session with in total 30 participants, allocated to groups according to their personality type, does the quantitative data shows that the homogenous groups (EEE (all extrovert) and III (all introvert)) groups have the most positive results working together.
Although this was not the most standard design research project, as it was more research about design, it did help me understand more about doing a thorough research project and for instance analyse large sets of qualitative and quantitative data.
I got to learn about co-creation within this project and learn how to set up these sessions well. Seeing the results that can come from even short sessions of 45 minutes, I was impressed with the power of stimulating creativity and helping people envision and think outside of the box. I learned a new tool that could provide me the user insights and connection with users that I felt were lacking in projects thus far.
Aesthetics of Interaction “The Marble Alarm”
During this project we had to create an alarm clock that would be a shared experience between two people. The interaction with the alarm had to be rich and suit the aesthetic of the clock. During this course I struggled with thinking further than functionality and feasibility. However, after making a lot of iterations and different prototypes, we landed on an alarm clock that would connect an artist with his/her public. The public could put coloured marbled in the see through sphere clock. These in combination with the water in, light under and movement of the sphere would show all different kinds of moving colour patterns on the ceiling when the artist would wake. This could then be used as inspiration for a next artwork.
In the end, I learned that there is much more thought behind interaction and interfaces than I thought. Even though it might seem small, every placement and choice can make a difference to the functionality, usability and the way it is perceived. This was a valuable insight for future project as I looked deeper into my choices on for instance interaction.
This project was done in collaboration with an elderly care facility Tante Louise and data science company Bright Cape. They were trying to introduce a care robot into the dementia departments of the care home. However, the residents did not really like the robot or were even scared. Our solution was to humanify Sara with clothes and let her first be a good listener before she would eventually start talking. With the interactive clothes, Sara could sense when a person was near and start ‘listening’ by saying “mmm”, “ah ha”, “that is interesting”. This allowed the residents to get familiar and bond with Sara before the more “scary features” would be implemented into the robot.
Within this project, the main development was in regards to user and society, as this was quite a complicated user group to develop for. Empathy, understanding and reading between the lines, were very important to gain insights into the problem and desires. I also tried to work on coding the electronics of this design, but could not achieve much without guidance from teammates. However, I did code the sound triggers in Processing, as this was something that I already explored during my B1.2 project and was able to do already.
This project was about improving the mood of office workers. We came to the conclusion that small breaks in which you do and think about something completely different, is the best way to improve that mood. Rocky Fact is a game you can do on your own or compete with colleagues, in the form of boxing light controlled disks. After the physical refresher, you get rewarded with a mental refresher in the form of a fun fact. For instance “Did you know that a crocodile can’t stick its tongue out?”. This can also be used to start conversations with your colleagues to improve the overall mood of the workplace. Rocky Fact will punch you trough your day!
Within this project, I focussed on many different tasks, from interviewing experts to coding the facts screen in processing to working on the wooden prototype. At first the process was a bit unstructured as nobody took the lead, however after seeing the need to structure and guidance, I took on the leading role and helped everyone stay onto their tasks.
From Idea to Design “YOMU”
This project was about helping dyslexic people read better. Yomu is a completely customizable e-reader to suit the preferences of the reader. All kinds of dyslexia are different, so that is why the customizability is key. Yomu has an audiobook function that will adjust to the readers speed. Our goal was to stimulate dyslectics to feel comfortable and happy while reading, so they would grow up without the stigma surrounding dyslexics; that they cannot read.
Within this project, I mainly focussed on the aesthetics of the design and the interaction. Through exploring materials, forms and interactions, we were able to make a demonstrator that explained some of the interactions and an aesthetic demonstrator that would explain the feel and look of the design. This was a challenging project in regards to learning about the design process and teamwork. But I am positive that it laid a good base and understanding for all the projects that were to come.
Overview Courses Taken
In collaboration with Stichting Move.
During this project were we, a group of Industrial Design students, connected to a primary school class. We would help guide the children through their very own research and design project in which they could fix or organize something in their neighbourhood. Our class chose to help combat litter by making it more attractive to throw away your waste.
As a communications coordinator I was responsible for press and communication, for instance announcing the opening of the new bins in the neighbourhood paper and online.
This project taught me that with the tiniest nudge and encouragement everyone can design something cool and worthwhile.
In collaboration with Grensverleggers
The goal of this project was to connect different people within society, as our group noticed that people not often talk with people outside of their bubble of ideas and ideals. Therefore we organised 5 different sessions in which we invited people to join and talk about a topic either discrimination and racism, feminism, education or sustainability.
I noticed that the conversations were actually quite deep and people were not afraid to share their opinions and experiences. This was exactly the environment we wanted to create.
From this project I learned to communicate with all different types of people and to be less judgemental about for instance looks. People can surprise you, so you should give them the chance to let them. As long as we are all willing to listen to each other, I think we can all learn to live and respect each other and their views.