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 Intergenerational Communication

overview

A twin communication device which allows users to send messages through a tangible user interface. The blue blocks are used to record a message, once securely fixed down into the station the message is shown in real time on the twin object by the orange side panel. The orange side panel pops up a centimetre each time an incoming voice message is sent. These messages can be played by pushing the panel back down. Once the blue blocks pop back up to original state the sender gets a visual that their message has been listened to.

BRIEF

This was my final project of my masters. It was a six week project and all self directed. I wanted to concentrate on intergenerational connections, looking at the relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren (aged 5-9). These are the two generations not using smartphones. One generation do not have the time to learn how to use smartphones or do not want to learn and the other generation are too young to own a smartphone.

SECONDARY RESEARCH

Before starting secondary research the areas of interest or common links to be made needed to be defined. From the secondary research gathered in this project there was no other work found that tackled the same questions I was trying the answer. However the areas of interest helped gather valuable insights and themes which helped frame the project and narrow focus in each step.

Areas of Interest Researched:

Intergenerational schemes/programs

Grand parenting

Care taking

Game Play

Long distance relationships

Communication

Tangible interfaces

Interactive objects

 
Long distance relationships page from my Design Rationale

Long distance relationships page from my Design Rationale

Interactive Tech page from my Design Rationale

Interactive Tech page from my Design Rationale

Durrell Bishop marble answering machine is considered as one of the first tangible user interface.

Durrell Bishop marble answering machine is considered as one of the first tangible user interface.

Primary research

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Interviews were conducted with professionals such as childminders, teachers and elderly carers along side mothers, grandparents and aunties to gain a range of insights and themes; all crossing paths. Observing and play dates were also conducted.

Observation page from my Design Rationale

Observation page from my Design Rationale

Key Findings:

Children don’t notice miss match in capability, they like to share their news with everyone.

Children want their grandparents to be as involved as they can even when a task isnt for two people.

Grandparents do anything to keep child happy and entertained but can fall short of energy quickly.

A shared imagination through play, story telling and general conversation is clear between the two generations.

Tasks shared are solved quicker and easier.

Personas

Personas page from Design Rationale

Personas page from Design Rationale

STORYBOARDS/ Scenarios

Double page spread from my Design Rationale

Double page spread from my Design Rationale

Concepting

Looking at 3 possible concept routes. Live chatting, Recorded messages and ambiguous messaging.

Looking at 3 possible concept routes. Live chatting, Recorded messages and ambiguous messaging.

Rapid Prototyping

Functionality

Functionality

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User testing

Human centred research approach to solving problems. Allowing the user to get involved in the design. As this project involved grand parents and children I needed to see first hand their capability of use and movement. This was achieved by using walkie talkies, blue foam and roleplaying.

Test 1: Walkie talkies; What type of conversations will arrise?

Test 1: Walkie talkies; What type of conversations will arrise?

Test 2: Fun functions? Expanding concept acceptance

Test 2: Fun functions? Expanding concept acceptance

Test 3: Tangible messaging blocks or toys?

Test 3: Tangible messaging blocks or toys?

Test 1.0: Covered walkie talkies; Should the object be static?

Test 1.0: Covered walkie talkies; Should the object be static?

TEST 2.0: What is the reaction to messages being filled up?

TEST 2.0: What is the reaction to messages being filled up?

Findings:

  • Child controlled conversations

  • Grandparents needed to be closer to listen to message

  • Excitement over wobbling and sticker placements to represent messages

  • Tangible message blocks were the most effective when testing.

iterations

After gathering information from the user testing I revisited aspects and functionality. What happens when When asynchronous becomes synchronous? What limits do I need to factor in or control? Stakeholder involvement; what role does the parent play? The point of this project is to give control of conversation and connection to the grandparents and grandchildren alone but what if messages aren’t being sent or received? Design for the mismatch in energy levels present.

My wall in studio

My wall in studio

USER TESTING 1.0

Two variations

Two variations

Top piece was removed and used separately

Top piece was removed and used separately

MAKING

Once I sketched out the iterated model with the top piece to be placed on the side I started making the final model. I used the CNC machine to make the shell, 3D printed the mechanism of the pop up messages (this was iterated and tested three times) and make the blocks by hand.

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INteractions

Push down to listen to received messages from twin object

Push down to listen to received messages from twin object

Push button down while recording message

Push button down while recording message

Speak into bottom of block

Speak into bottom of block

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