Service & UX designer
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HyggeSnakken: fighting isolation and creating opportunities among mentally disabled citizens

Period: fall 2017. Context: course project (ITU) and collaboration with CSBBActivities: research, concept development, prototyping, stakeholder communication

 

The brief

Identify and explore design opportunities related to "dependency" for the benefit of mentally handicapped citizens.

Field work

I collaborated with CSBB, a day-time institution and learning center for mentally handicapped citizens. There I did ethnographic field work with citizens and pedagogues. I came to understand that being independant enough to live alone can have a downside of social isolation. Having access to opportunities to socialize with people like themselves adds to the citizens’ quality of life. I also learned that many highly-functioning citizens have practically been forced into early retirement by the system. Yet, they yearn for responsibility and feeling needed, and they flourish in suited volunteer jobs.

Research in the field.

Research in the field.

Analysing data from interviews and observation.

Analysing data from interviews and observation.

Ideation process

Initially, I saw opportunities for interactive designs that citizens living alone could use to connect with each other. But through brainstorming, sketching scenarios, and pitching ideas, a combined opportunity arose. What if we could provide a lifeline for lonely citizens, while also creating citizen volunteer jobs? A concept emerged for a casual chat-hotline, operated by citizens, and supervised by pedagogues. I refined the concept through roleplaying, and through iterating on visual scenarios together with citizens, CSBB management and pedagogues.

Ideating design opportunities and solutions.

Ideating design opportunities and solutions.

Sketching visual scenarios to be discussed with users and stakeholders.

Sketching visual scenarios to be discussed with users and stakeholders.

The proposal

I expressed the proposal through a set of communicational prototypes: a script for a welcoming message greeting callers; an interactive prototype of a simple tablet app for volunteers; an interactive prototype of an administration and supervision app for pedagogues. Finally, to communicate the interdependent roles of the prototypes', I produced a video scenario.

 
Working out app flows.

Working out app flows.

Prototyping an administration/oversight app for pedagogues supervising the hotline.

Prototyping an administration/oversight app for pedagogues supervising the hotline.

Prototyping a hyper-simpel tablet app for citizens volunteering to man the hotline.

Prototyping a hyper-simpel tablet app for citizens volunteering to man the hotline.

 

I pitched the prototypes to CSBB management. They were impressed with the proposal, and they are now seeking to continue the project internally.

 
The collective set of prototypes. A traditional telephone was chosen as the primary touchpoint, as this is the technology most citizens are comfortable using on their own.

The collective set of prototypes. A traditional telephone was chosen as the primary touchpoint, as this is the technology most citizens are comfortable using on their own.

Video scenario used to communicate the proposal.

 

Looking back

Trust is important for ethnographic user research. When you are clearly not a member of the studied population, building trust takes time. For this project, a longer time frame could have led to deeper insights. Further, as the proposal became the concept for a new service, service design tools—such as journey maps and service blueprints—could have helped solidify the proposal.

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