Design is such a powerful tool and when used correctly can have an immense positive effect on society.
Throughout my time at University I have thoroughly researched and investigated problem areas using systematically chosen design tools in order to establish hidden latent needs within a range of different target audiences.
In the past I have favoured designing for users who have an obvious disability in an attempt to make their everyday life slightly less challenging. However, in my final year I wanted to test myself and solve a more universally emerging problem, the implications of technology on the social skills and abilities of youth.
Please tell us about your final year project
Texting, social media and gaming has created a connected virtual world which consequently has disconnected the real-world. Smart phones have faded the line between work and home life, making it easier to take the stresses of work into the family home. Tablets and game consoles have become an easy fix for an aggravated child and a parent that just wants 5 minutes of peace and quiet, this in turn creates an environment in which children learn and then believe that face-to-face conversations are broken up with rings and pings of mobile devices.
Research shows that on an average day parents spend roughly 44 minutes conversing with their children via face-to-face communication and my own investigation found that parents can spend up to 60 hours on their mobile devices per week.
My final year product aimed to increase the time and quality of conversation between parent and child by creating a designated space for story reading, working with exciting aspects of technology in order make the experience more engaging and memorable.
The dome shaped enclosure works with a mobile application allowing the environment to change dependent on the story being told through light and sound effects. At the end of each story the dome prompts questions related to the story which increases in complexity dependent on the number of times it has been read. The conversation between parent and child is recorded by the mobile device and stored within the application and the parent can easily retain the most treasured moments and personalise them.
The product encourages the use of physical books by forcing users to scan the barcode to activate the experiences. If the user does not own the physical book the application informs them of nearby bookshops or libraries in which it can be sourced, further encouraging face-to-face interactions.
How have you found your course/time at Brighton?
It definitely has not been easy. The work load has been a huge step up from previous years and a lot has been learnt. I have found Product Design interesting in the sense that progress is not always linear, it’s a mixture of feeling absolutely fantastic and feeling like no progress is being made. The main thing I’ve learnt is perseverance is key and failure is an integral part of the process. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to research, ideate, develop and launch my own product.
What are your plans after Graduation?
I am definitely ready for the ‘real world’ and can’t wait to start my career as a product designer. I am interested in working as a design consultant and love the idea of working with multiple different projects and clients. I am going to treat myself with a trip to Glastonbury this summer, I think I deserve it.