Ebba: A Companion Towards Independence
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. Incorporated in this hybrid service-product are the values of helpfulness, responsibility and inclusiveness, which serve children as well as parents.
Step One: Ethnographic Research & Interviews
Step two: Synthesis and interview material
Step 3: What are we adressing?
After interviewing several individuals and families about their mobility practices, and observing their daily routines with them, a first iteration of a brief was created. This brief addresses current imbalances and injustices observed in the larger ecosystem of mobility in Umea in the context of the family.
Bringing independence to children and families
Step 4: Participatory workshops
Step 5: prototyping in the wild
After synthesis of the findings the core values for the design were defined. These values were then explored by creating quick and iterative prototypes that would elicit responses and interactions that held characteristics of these values from those engaging.
Eliciting a sense of community, trust and collective responsibility
Step 6: Sketching out the desired scenario
Through our experiments we pinpointed ways we wanted these values to inhabit our future design concept in a more tangible way.
Journey to Independence: Building responsibility through routine and modular kit of aids, actionable planning tools.
Step 7: Concept development & evaluation with experts
Based on the feedback of both evaluation sessions it was decided that the supporting functions of the companion should be made more abstract. Instead of using maps and arrows we looked into intuitive ways of navigation; shifting weight, abstract light, haptics and pulling sensations, just to name a few.
Step 8: concept evaluation with possible users
She thinks this is very exciting, she says that she could use this (mom translating)