DESIGNING INTERACTIONS FOR
CONNECTED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Connected product-service systems are one the rise. More and more companies want to explore the new market sector.
However it is difficult to talk about abstract connections between things and connected user experiences that don’t exist yet.
The focus of this project is the first meeting between designers and their clients. The project was developed in collaboration with the design and innovation consultancy Veryday.
The most interesting part for me in this project was to develop various experience prototypes to explore an opportunity area, to communicate a concept and to build a working prototype that can be tested at the client's side.
We interviewed parents to understand what is most important to them in the first month of parenting and to see their reactions to existing concepts for quantified self products for babies. Most of them were disturbed by tech-driven solutions of smart diapers and body suits with electronics on the babies skin.
Combining our research with a vision of a dystopian future we consolidated our findings into 3 pitfalls of quantified baby products. We then developed a concept inspired by a critical design approach.
The features of the feeding bottle, the pacifier and the app were not inherently bad design but should raise questions for the audience. We used a short comic to communicate a usage scenario in context. We showed our props to groups of to-be parents to validate our concerns in this design area. In a last step we derived guidelines for designers from the pitfalls.
In this project critical design was used to rethink a market segment where technology push has led to innovative products. A fictive product was used to identify pitfalls and derive design recommendations.
What if manufacturers of consumer goods would created business models focusing on open hardware and open software as ways to reach a growing community of tinkerers?
A user that could download compatible 3D printing files to assemble products at. Someone into tinkerer could modify both design and functionalities to create a version of the product that matches their needs. Modifications could be uploaded and shared with everyone. In this way existing products are improved by actual users and meet very specific requirements while being maintained by the community.
However creating modifications of complex device is not a task for a single one person. How will tinkerers communicate in the future?
When showing things to colleagues and friends in Skype, Facetime or Google Hangout we are forced to hold the objects in front of the camera. If we use our phone as camera, we can point in first person perspective leaving only one hand for working. Cameras – unless having a short depth of field – film everything in front of them. Some people prefer not to show their face or the whole living room when sharing stuff they create.
FIELDS allow everyone to create a portable, modular yet private chat window to discuss novel creations.
SAM Labs is a company manufacturing connected toys that teach coding and creativity.
At SAM Labs I was leading user testing & research. To improve the overall experience I conducted user interviews, usability lab tests and heuristic evaluation of software, hardware and website.
The experience was captured with short films and journey maps. Notes for all the tests were used for affinity diagramming to reveal high level problems.
In a qualitative study participants were asked daily tasks that were documented in a video diary. Probing questions were used to understand how they would use the product at home.
The most exciting part for me was to combine research activities that would lead to suggestions for improvements and prototypes in hardware interaction, UI and packaging while working in an agile process.
Many tourists want to know about climate impact research when visiting the climate impact research center in Abisko, a small village within the arctic circle in Sweden.
Resources for research are sparse, that's why the scientists don't have time to engage with the interested visitors. Sometimes it's even hard to visit all the remote sampling spots to do their research.
HikeLab is a service, that connects the needs of both and involves the general public in doing scientific research while learning about climate impact.
Activities developed for different levels of engagement allow hikers to experience elements from geocaching, citizen science and self-guided group safaris.
Connected sensors are well suited to enable the general public to engage in scientific work. By abstracting information on the sampling devices, the samples remain scientific accurate, while the user still learns about climate impact research.