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.

Outcome:

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Process

Step One: Ethnographic Research & Interviews

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Shadowing young families with children in their daily routine

Step two: Synthesis and interview material

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Several inhabitants of Umea have been sharing their journeys, they were invited for participation through interviewing, workshopping and co-creation
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Drawing out daily routines together with potential user
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The gendered landscape

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

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Preparing and testing a first version of the participatory workshop
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Workshop material: A real scenario was re-created, including a map, moveable items and persona’s
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Stakeholders from Umea commun, Rise interactive and Ultra are joining the creative process through roleplay and ideation
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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

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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.

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Journey to Independence: Building responsibility through routine and modular kit of aids, actionable planning tools
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Community Support: Creating social network and sharing experience to help children travel alone and grow in independence.

Step 7: Concept development & evaluation with experts

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Mapping out user journey, wireframing the companion, and the supporting app
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Evaluating first version of the concept with one of the potential users
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Feedback session with RISE Interactive

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.

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Inviting product designers to join the discussion/brainstorm
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Mom of three children relating the concept to her own experiences

Step 8: concept evaluation with possible users

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She thinks this is very exciting, she says that she could use this (mom translating)

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Prototyping shapes

Part 9: Designing final concept

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Redefining the companion
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Wire frames in development for the supporting app

The final design

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Mobility Justice

Mobility Justice projects from the MFA Interaction Design…

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