Online behaviours:

creating friction


As a society, our relationship with technology is frequently becoming problematic, rather than being a tool to free our time, it can become the thing which consumes all our attention. This phone case turns our easy digital functions like scrolling, refreshing and liking into physical functions which cause friction. The physical scrolling is stiff and slows the user down depriving them of full control of speed. To refresh a page the user pulls down on the side level; it mimics the pull down digital function but the physical action makes the user more aware of their actions.


This project brief was about our growing ubiquity of computing in our modern age and how it has led to a proliferation of technological actors in our lives. It was a two week project looking at how we can imagine ways of helping people change their online behaviour through emotional design.

I knew I didn’t want this project outcome to be screen based

How might I discourage constant mobile use in young adults/teenagers through manipulating the aimless functions online and causing friction in use.

Constant scrolling -- Refreshing

Digital to Physical


For this project I looked at my sisters (14 years old) online behaviours; using her actions as my case study. I wanted to concentrate on the younger generations online use as they are the generation who are consumed with online ‘living’. I also was made aware of how I myself behaved online. It is clear it is infuriating for those around when someone is constantly glued to their phone.

Endless scrolling was one factor I found needed to be looked at. Many just sit there scrolling; scrolling; scrolling; and don’t take in any information. Countlessly refreshing pages waiting for new content to be posted. By making these actions turn from digital to physical it in turn causes friction and frustration to the functions and the user.


Design principles helps to explain your design vision while also being a check list while designing. If a project starts off with a clear list of design principles that were tailored from briefing and research but ends up falling flat the design fails.

My design principles for this project: Unbalanced and Awkward

Obtrusive and Bulky

Talking point and Social

Unapologetic and Friction


Once the sizing was worked out I drew it up on illustrator and imported it into rhino to make a 3D model of the case to be put into the CNC. By using the CNC I was able to only have two halves making the final outcome look clean. I chose to use a high density cibatool over wood as I planned to spray it colourful and eye catching.


Colour Illustrations

Looking at colours before spraying

Looking at colours before spraying


Three simple yet frustrating functions. An import for iPhone 5/se; a conveyer-belt scroll track and a lever to refresh applications and news feeds.



Slows down mobile use

Makes user rethink actions

Refection on time wasted before use

Creates conversation around use

Isn’t convenient to use in public spaces

Allows for social interaction with others

Hero image of child enjoying mothers company over using her phone.

Hero image of child enjoying mothers company over using her phone.