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.
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.
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:
Long distance relationships
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
USER TESTING 1.0
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.