Enhancing social engagement in a pandemic
The prompt: Design a product-driven solution that addresses the problem of social isolation in pandemic conditions, by enabling increases in meaningful social engagement with other people. The solution might include service, technology, application, and built environment features and should be suitable for use in household living circumstances.
My role: UX Designer
Teammates: Ellie Ward, Esther Tang, Chris Gradone, Hanna Vincent
What are some of the current limitations in relation to social engagement? What works well? What environments relate to social engagement?
Scooping the problem
We (of course) started with a very long brainstorming session, then we decided to divide the research work basing it on different social groups for potential focus. Our literature research included older adults, working from home young professionals and kids.
We already had a defined problem and so narrowing down the potential users was a way to scoope the problem and choose a direction for the project.
We had to narrow down the scope and so we decided to focus on young professionals
Getting to know our users
We conducted eight remote semi-strucutured interviews. We complemented the data we gathered from them with insights of six more informal (yet with our research questions in mind) conversations.
Most mentioned missing bumping into people at the hallway or at brakes
Feeling less engaged or less aware of what's going on in the company (outside their teams)
Many were tired of interacting with people through the screen all day
Most mentioned feeling frustrated with the everyday routine
Personas were particularly useful in this project to keep the team focused and on track throughout the development given that it was a multidisciplinary team.
Redefining the problem from our findings
People who are fully working from home feel frustrated about the lack of opportunities for casual interactions with coworkers in the current routinary environment.
How can we provide experiences supporting casual interactions? How can we help people to connect in new ways?
With our initial concepts, we conducted a debriefing session and try to identify which approach fitted best as a potential solution to our problem. Initially, we went for the smart mirror because we identified that it could provide an experience that would mimic real "casual" interactions.
We went back to our potential users and conducted eight interviews with the goal of refining our solution requierements
What we know
People miss "bumping into" their coworkers on the hallway
People are tired of the routine
People feel sometimes uncomfortable sharing their intimacy
Motion sensor activates device (two matching devices) to allow interaction
A physical interactive device for spontaneous interactions
Voice only system
Rethinking our concept
Testing with paper prototypes
Looking to define:
Need for button to accept/decline call
Crafting the product
CAD Model of LINX to be 3D printed
The product and a website prototype
As part of our materials, we crafted a promotional video for the product. Check it out:
We also curated a prototype for the product's website. Check it out here