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Remote journey of four design teams addressing togetherness in the sense of values that are important to a specific community of practice with the help of participatory design methods.


This article was developed in order to describe the 10 week - remote project journey of 11 students in 4 teams, studying in the Master’s Interaction Design programme at UID in collaboration with Microsoft. In addition, this article contains digital ethnographic methodologies, which we developed and used throughout our journey.

Large parts of the world were forced into isolation of some sort, and in many places, this results in people depending on digital systems to continue their activities and maintain social contacts with others remotely. These projects focused on products/services that support togetherness in the sense of values that are important to people, other than the more formal contexts of productivity or efficiency in work and education. We aimed to improve togetherness at a distance.
How do we transition to something new? How can we shape the role of the digital in here? What does it mean to play, work, live together digitally? …

Anna Puchalska, Oliver Weglinski, Soh Heum Hwang

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Seam — seaming memory and love with inclusive technology

Seam is a product-service system to connect individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s and their loved ones through soft technology.

Both user groups can communicate with each other by creating a routine of exchanging memory through photos, videos and live video calls. As individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s suffer due to their decline in cognitive and physical abilities, Seam helps them to connect with their loved ones remotely despite of their difficulties in using technological devices.

Concept video

Download recipes for designers who love to co-create

Katharina Brunner and Inna Zrajaeva
Illustrations by Christina Bauer, Oliver Weglinski and Prithvi Ranjan

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Performing co-creative workshops remotely is very different from
our experience in previous projects. Of course we all had conducted remote
interviews before, but practicing participatory design like this was new.

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We documented and refined activities that vary from adapted versions of existing methods to newly invented ones, a bit like recipes. You can find these recipes in this catalogue, and put together your own menu.

If you want to use the Remote Workshop Guide you can download it here:

Inna Zrajaeva, Emil Kongsgaard Guldager

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According to WHO (World Health Organization), Traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) is an important and often underestimated health resource with many applications, especially in the prevention and management of lifestyle-related chronic diseases, and in meeting the health needs of aging populations.

Despite the wide range of applications, today, this health resource is often being overlooked and is not officially integrated as an active part of the health care section in most countries. …

Katharina Brunner, Prithvi Ranjan, Regina Gensinger

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Thea helps building a community of support for mothers, moms and parents to be, which leads to trust in between and in themselves.

With our project we aim to connect and support the growth of a community of pregnant women, expacting parent regardless their gender and care providers. In order to achieve this, we have developed tangible parts as the heart of our concept: an app, a kit and media appearance. This part is funded by the invisible background, which lifts the whole idea to an accessible service.


Trust Respect and Confidence

Within our ethnographic research we were able to discover different challenges and problems expectants face in their pregnancy journey. A lot of moms and dads suffer from information overload and over medicalization. …

The journey of four design teams addressing mobility injustices using participatory design methods


This design guide was developed in order to describe the journey of 12 students of the Interaction Design programme of Umeå Institute of Design. The project addressed mobility justice in the gendered landscape focusing on the city of Umeå. What are the underlying social norms and ethical concerns that are embedded in the way we use, travel, and understand urban mobility. The way we use public transport affects our perception of each other in the city. Who lives in the city? Who are the under represented or invisible users of the system? What are the gender norms? This mirror effect is at the heart of the power structures that are ever present in our urban infrastructure. …

Shibashankar Sahoo, Selvi Olgac, Yijia Tao

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A lot of the times urban mobility services seems available but not accessible to elderly citizens. This apparent information gap between the one who provides the service(s) and one who seeks the service(s) engenders a sense of injustice, eventually creating power differentials in democratic governance. In the course “Mobility Justice”, we apply traditional participatory design and ethnographic methods to disseminate and generate future projects for general users. We bring together multiple stakeholders e.g municipality, NGOs, students and elderly citizens, not necessarily to solve problems but to sensitize with the unforeseen issues, responsibilities, norms, and controversies. However, our urge to create aesthetic and inclusive public services provokes us to go beyond tacit engagement to controversial interventions, through socio-material artifacts in the ecology of end-users. …

Carolyn Wegner, Iris Ritsma, Minh Huy Dang

Umeå is expanding at a rapid rate, the local transportation system must accommodate these changes. The mobility justice project is based on a collaborative conglomerate of various stakeholders, including the Umeå Institute of Design, RISE Interactive, Umeå Kommun, and the local bus service Ultra. Throughout the project, students are involving the general public through facilitating participation and cooperative design as well as ethnographic research.

The project has lead to the design of a companion for children and their parents in order to help the child to become more independent in commuting by public transport. With our concept, Ebba, we want to give young children a voice in their road towards independence, as well as acknowledge that both parent and child are growing and learning together. We look forward to designing a service that facilitates interaction between user and digital-tangible product. …

Maja Björkqvist, Geert Roumen, Sebastian de Cabo Portugal

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The workshop where together with stakeholders the public transport system is redesigned with other values in mind.

This project focuses on making public transport in rural areas more accessible by transforming the role of the public transport company in Umeå. The role of this company will support the communities rather than imposing structure.

To involve multiple stakeholders we used participatory methods to define the design direction. We used future scenarios with different norms to make the stakeholders reflect on the current landscape and see how transport would look in this scenario.


Umeå Interaction Design

Stories from students of the MFA programme in Interaction Design at Umeå Institute of Design.

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