This Wednesday Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, got to try some 3D goggle- simulators from Oryx including a 360-view from the forestry cabin and after he viewed Umeå Institute of Design displaying a HUD, an application for taking in and out of the cabinet - and semi-automated concepts for driving.

How to talk to Royalty about design

A deep dive visit in to the Swedish forest industry from an interaction design perspective and a sudden meet with the Royalties, a.k.a — The King. The main design concept presented in Stockholm spring 2017 was the project “Alli”, conducted in collaboration with Mehek Sharma and Maximillian Herr.

Thanks to the cluster Skogstekniska Klustret and Umeå Institute of Design, this week I got a chance to represent me and my teammates interaction design perspectives on the huge Swedish forest industry at Grand Hotel. The hotel is an emblematic and grandeur building located in the middle of the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Our teams 15-week intensive forestry projects, with aim to motivate the industry’s declining load of machine operators- had given various results, and they were all displayed in the mingle hall. Then it suddenly happens- Swedish Royalty approaches.
Lukas Flynn presenting to the Swedish King (by photographer Patrik Trägård)

What was the impression of our design concepts? Well, in his majesties company he had the first ladies-in-waiting were an avid audience, and the majesty himself seemed impressed.

“ They spotted a more diverse image of the industry. Just imagine yourself us portraying a blond 20-something girl driving a machine and an AI talking in Chinese to you.

The reality today contains a male oriented- family / heritage type industry with strong abilities and amazing value, but it indeed has difficulty attracting the younger generation in to employment. Diversity is something that could help the industry, with great technology by its side.

Concept regarding feedback by me, Mehek Sharma and Maximillian Herr

His Majesty also enjoyed watching the Komatsu and John Deer machinery moving around together with the moving After Effects graphics in the forest representing a HUD- display guiding the operator to more accurate decisions and feedback using TLS scanning techniques of the trees. I know myself that it is amazing to see these moving forestry machines, even in video they do look awesome - and they are hard to control. Believe me, I tried failing attempts during field observations in deep snow.

The operators never get to hear “You did a good job !” , so we simply wanted to say that with design.

The machine feedback to the user- as in “You did a good job today!” is something the company thought was very much needed, when the worker is constantly harvesting in a rapid and stressful environment with a high demand focus. A forest operator is estimated to take roughly 16 decisions per minute, comparing this to a war pilot. You can imagine the cognitive load the user has to endure for a 12-hour shift in harsh and snowy environment.

After all, we are all humans, and we all seem to need that small bit of appreciation, no matter field were working in - as country manager or not. To conclude, I can only say -

“Presenting to Royalty about design works- if you have a good intention, and can endure displaying with a muted video.

Note: The design concepts referred to in this article are design concepts created in the course “Professional Product” held at Umeå Institute of Design during autumn semester of 2016 within the Master Programme, Interaction Design.