Arttu-Matti Immonen – Kyoto Institute of Technology
The Draw project is a study on the subject of cross generational communication. It is a concept that relies on the natural communication tools between the young and the elderly.
Arttu-Matti Immonen – Kyoto Institute of Technology, graduate student of product design
In an era marked by profound generational gaps, geographical separation, and digital lives that create a barrier between kids and their less tech-savvy grandparents, this design bridges many gaps. It uses technology to create a simple, compelling interaction between children and their distant older relatives that places technology in the background and creates an accessible conduit for engagement and affection. The simplicity and overlay of meaning attached to the colors makes this a compelling design.
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
I am really interested in finding out natural ways of doing the chores of a daily life. In this project I wanted to see if it’s possible to challenge the existing methods of wireless communication. The target group was set to be the seniors and their grand children. I wanted to find a simple and easy to understand form of interacting. Drawing is an universal communication tool that especially children take great pride in when they succeed in creating a picture after tirelessly putting a lot of effort in it. This will to show and share their original works made me think of a way to bring the hobby of drawing to the 21st century’s wireless world.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
As the brief was self-initiated there weren’t any real borderlines or targets set for the project. Originally I set off to solve the problems related with communication tools for elderly. The theme soon evolved in to including the grandchildren as well as I arrived to the conclusion that their grandchildren are the main hobby for the recently retired seniors. The idea of bringing the generations and the whole family closer to each other no matter the physical distances makes the concept quite interesting and fresh in my opinion. Also to support this approach I decided to design the user interface as simple as possible, which means that there aren’t any buttons to press. The frame part of the three part product is nothing but a photo frame while the transmitters for pens are nothing but accessories in the eyes of the children.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
This project was done in an idealist atmosphere where the whole design work was done keeping in mind only the target users’ needs and lifestyles. From a more marketing or capitalist point of view the aim was to create something completely new that would have never seen before. The point of the design was to find a real need and answer to it in a natural way by creating a new project category on the existing markets.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
As the submitted design is a very conceptual project that revolves on a very simple theme with quite simple technical solutions not much of a research on the design work itself was not conducted. The guidelines for the design work itself were created by studying the livestyles of the potential target user group. The problems in the daily communication between families spread around countries worked both as an inspiring force as well as a framework for the concept in production.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
The Draw project earns its place in the world through the emotions it awakes in its users. The joy of sharing and the joy of receiving are probably the most important feelings that the Draw can offer. The possibility of being a part of your own family’s daily life and seeing your own kin grow up is a rewarding experience. The Draw can easily become the main tool in achieving this very thing effortlessly as it doesn’t require anything other than just living your life as they normally would even from the children.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
Of course if the recourses would have met my ambition I would have wanted to have a chance to create a simple working prototype of the product and see for myself if it would really work in a way I would imagine. In addition to being able to check the technical problems, having a simple prototype would allow some limited user testing. Seeing the real user group testing the design in real life would possibly change something in the design as well no matter how simple it would have been made to be.
One thing in the design itself was the uncertainty of the need of interaction between the two user groups. As it is now the Draw concept works like a broad casting service, showing the grandchildren’s drawings and texts to the grandparents. Would the role and value of the design change radically if it was made so that the seniors could also voice their joyous stories and concerns to their families?