Grad Projects, One Month

Presentations by fourth year Emily Carr University Industrial Design students after their first month of initial research. Instructors Tom Becher and Jim Budd. Live-blogged from the classroom. All notes below paraphrased (at best) and interpreted by me.
Michelle: Secrets of eating habits. Research books (Richard Buchanan’s Rhetoric, Humanism and Design, Hungry Planet, (un)popular Design from Dunne & Raby) presented and her probe package, which is comprehensive and is like a gift to her subjects, who fill out a variety of probes and somewhat abstract associations and questionnaires.
Jhon: Urban gardening in Bogota and other urban environments, as well as research and interviews with experts in Vancouver. Report in Vancouver about food risk and insecurity form main focus of the project now. In contact with three lower-income families who will be co-designers throughout the project. This research conducted and shared with peer Emily L. Feedback: look into BC illegal grow-ops.
Jim Budd (Instructor): Demonstrate how your research changes your direction, use your data to inform your direction and make sure to validate yourself at every new piece of information that could potentially do this. Now fiddling with projector.
Josh: People eating away from home and restaurants, i.e. non-eating-designated areas, and how they eat their food once they get there. Focus: the objects they use and the process of eating and transporting. Questionnaires not working. Interviews with digital recorder, yes.
Raneen: Psychology of displaced people. Inspired by family, the ‘refugees’ from Syria at personal home, and by a visit to Palestine. Realize: no way to approach the topic in a tangible manner. Nomadic objects to preserve cultural identity. Probe package, four parts, diverse range of activity. Example: sketch a floor-plan of the home you’re currently using. Ex. associate an emotion to a body part: this will help inform what the designed object will be in the end.
Michael: fastener to improve on Velcro. Interviews with us (and Catherine, the soft-product instructor) to understand fasteners and what the user experiences. User trial conducted where users interact with a variety of existing fasteners. Functional engineering and user satisfaction pov. Contact with arthritis society of BC. Target research audience: pre-hormonal adolescents. What’s next: broaden scope, materials research.
Sandy: Children’s furniture. Research online, set up a blog. Project title: Bob. Opinions from consumers via local designer furniture stores. Focus: storage furniture that is more friendly and inviting for kids to use. Tom: the idea that children clean up comes from the milieu, the environment that is set up. You may need a product service system. Jim: changing your original focus from child’s perspective? More focus on parents now?
Chie: Problem with umbrellas in the city. How to increase the value of the object (so many discarded). Demonstrates umbrella use. Identified large user group: middle-age women. Why don’t people spend a lot on their umbrella? Presents plotting of data compiled so far, and images of umbrella use.
Hamza: Food Design (slide of him Googlin’ it) Other designers: hands-free lollipop. Cupcakes as pie charts depicting ingredients. DAE example of toast patterns. Food quote he doesn’t agree with: food designer should know how to cook, too. Food Charrettes with peer Michelle: weekly cooking under prescribed constraints. Ex: make dinner with only hands, no tools. Fell into the trap of the Gaver Probe.
Ame: Project on stress in the workplace. Three locations downtown for research, asking what people do to release their stress. Questionnaires. Encourage people to relieve their stress. Tom: Workplaces are designed for creating stress; there can be positive stress: it gets things done.
Jackie: temporary furniture for nomadic students. Disposable but not bad for the environment. Questionnaire to UBC students. Feedback generally low, though validation in the fact that students live in at least three different places during their degree. Still haven’t found a focus, though original assumptions challenged and changed. Focus: well, people love their beds. Where’d you get the furniture? Most popular: pre-furnished.
–Online sharing tutorial–
Emily L: Improve small living spaces. Discovered one-person community garden. Account of sources: professionals, users, etc. Research: interviews, experimenting in her own lifestyle. Validate and justify the opportunity: provide people with concept to improve lifestyle with compromise.
Amanda: Guerrilla Gardening. Richard Renolds, NY, hipster secret gardener, first result in google. David Tracey, literally wrote the second book on the topic. Interviewed him in Vancouver. Did his masters on garden in Vancouver. Other public interventions: graffiti. What form language speaks garden to people? Pitchforks, kneepads, flower boxes, handmade aesthetic. Vancouver a centre for this kind of stuff. Seed bombs. Flickr groups.
Emilie M: Dreams. What REM does. Brain working out problems. Dreams are the brain making sense of randomness and putting them into patterns. Inspiration, not information. Making a probe kit: put your dream in plasticine. What is magic? etc.
Lydia: title: Basic – Oxygen Delivery. Hospital in Uganda. Low low budget. One big oxygen tank to many kids. Lots of questions about capabilities of Uganda, esp. for manufacture. Inspiration: old medical equipment.
Danielle: Bringing fashion to more affordable and accessible point for more customers. High end fashion. Mentor a store manager who goes to fashion shows to buy lines she’s interested in. Responses from mailing list of supporters for herself, broken into eight pods of expert and non-experts.
Nathan: Interior / micro architecture (architecture of furniture). What do people consider personal space, and derive comfort from. Focus: component-based system to customize your environment. Semantic differential survey, plotted averages between people’s actual and ideal environments. Full scale prototypes will test if people’s expressed wants match what they ‘actually’ want.
David: BC Parks picnic table redesign. Unchanged in 50 years. Problems with current design. Questionnaire. Surveys. Plug data into spreadsheet. Evidence? Seats too low for kids, hard to get into with many people, seats wet after rain.
Jennifer: Interior spaces of the Skytrain. Not enough space. Types of cars, comparison to other cities. Still need to focus on specific cars (there are different cars for different lines).
Tina: Long Distance Relationship Survival Kit. Personal inspiration. Stats on LDR in the US: lots. Research demographics and communication channels. What’s next? How do you deal with the relationship alone, or say, in public?
Anna: Emotional relationships and bonds with objects, and promoting lasting relationships with things or more proper disposal on an emotional level. Focus on specific roles an object plays in a person’s life. Recording peoples interactions in an intentionally ambiguous probe.
Jonathan: Internship in Philippines. Title: Developmental Tactic Series: design activism. He is Philipino-American, so visit for first time was powerful. Urban/rural, poor/rich. Housing focus. Video presentation of work in Philippines.
Cindy: Ambient lighting in small spaces. Focus: a sustainable flashlight that is used for more than just emergencies.