Designing for Inclusion

May 31, 2015 · 5 min read

Part 6: Shooting a movie

We all have limits to our abilities — physical, social, emotional and cognitive. How can we design to embrace these universal things that make us human, but also create solutions that are highly adaptive to an individual person?

We as designers can help to remove obstacles, enabling people to participate in society no matter their individual challenges. Let’s imagine a future that puts human empathy at their design core!

The idea behind the movie

The idea behind Polo can be difficult to grasp by description or infographic alone. To illustrate how Polo works from a user perspective, we therefore decided to shoot a short movie clip, quickly making a point for the importance of autonomous, hassle-free grocery shopping for the blind.

Searching for a grocery store to film in

As we aimed for a live action movie instead of animation only, it was clear from the beginning that we need a supermarket for on location shooting as well as an actor or actress and a good looking prototype of Polo.

Scouting for locations to film at: Henrik is exploring a Biocompany store in Potsdam.

A Big Day out

On May 11th — about two weeks to the final presentation — we finally got to shoot the movie! We got up really early, working on a tight schedule for the day as we had to be done within only three hours. But thanks to careful planning beforehand, everything worked out pretty much unconstrained.

Shooting on location at a Biocompany grocery store in Potsdam. The actress is Elke who we first met for an interview and observation. We shot a Canon 6D, mounted on a shoulder rig or tripod with follow focus unit and 24–105/4 lens, using only available light. Ambient sound was recorded on a Zoom H2.

Complementing storytelling in postproduction

After shooting, we got down to work for extensive postproduction: cutting and editing, color correction, sound design and — most important — visual effects complementing the storytelling: we fully designed and animated the Polo app, mounted it into the moving picture as well as include visual indicators to illustrate the wristband giving directions through vibration and text to speech. See some still images as an example:

The final movie

So here it is, the final movie!


What is this about?

Inclusion is a relevant and up-to-date topic widely debated recently. The WHO revised their definition of disability, shifting it from a fixed attribution to a context sensitive consideration. We as designers can help to remove obstacles, enabling people to participate in society no matter their individual challenges. A human centered design approach with deep research and observation, rapid prototyping and cheaper yet more powerful technology can make quite an impact.

The designer behind the project

This is a project by Philipp Steinacher, Dominic Rödel, Laurids Düllmann and Henrik Hagedorn. We study interface design at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

Read more

The website of Microsoft Research Design Expo 2015 provides in-depth information on the overall project.


    Written by


    We are a group of interaction design students working and we are part of the Microsoft Research Design Expo 2015 on inclusive design.