KATE BRANDY

TOT THE TRAVEL BACKPACK

Pain Point: We all have seen "that kid" screaming and squirming around at the airport because they are bored and tired of waiting. The parent usually looks annoyed with no more entertainment energy to give. Both parties are unhappy with no solution in sight.

This inspired me to investigate what gives children joy and delight when they wait so that everyone can be happier when traveling.

WHY A BACKPACK?

I needed to identify what items were already brought along and when could be transformed to me a waiting tool. The goal was not to add wait to the travel but enhance.

RESEARCH

I needed to get inside kids heads. I needed to see first had how they interact and play to better understand potential solutions. 

METHOD: A Kid Workshop

 I visited Pinecroft elementary school in Rhode Island to teach workshops in backpack design. The ages ranged from 5-8. 

METHOD: Survey

I sent out a survey to parents of the Pinecroft school to learn from their perspective what makes it difficult to travel with their kids and what helps them be entertained. I surveyed 10 families.

FEEDBACK:

  • The TOT backpack although compact needs a easy interaction with luggage to carry with ease.
  • Great for children's lap in airplanes, cars, or at home. 

THANK YOU FOR CHECKING OUT TOT!!!

A semester of material exploration through shoemaking. The focus was learning classic shoe and boot construction with a final that challenges the boundaries of material, and form. The designs were to use reclaimed upholstery and recycle material to see a new life and use. The boots are angel wing inspired and the loafer a classic flat with a play on the front seam design.

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INSPIRATION

My design is rooted in my interests in play as an adult and where play can come about in unexpected ways. I’m interested in contexts where play is usually not employed to activate a space or facilitate interaction. This piece allows movement and discovery while engaging more than just the person using it. My inspiration is from the first type of animation called phenakistoscope or zoetrope. A simple cylinder that has illustrations on the interior and the only way to see in is through little slits on the side. When its spins the illustration magically becomes an animation. In my scaled up version, the cylinder or drum is not load bearing and is attached to an aluminum Lazy-Susan for a smooth turn. I plan to have a “top” to the zoetrope that acts as an upholstered ottoman. This piece will be made of  1/8 in bent ply for the spinning drum and the rest will be a mixture of sold wood and ply depending on what is being upholstered. I plan to create slots for each illustration so the are removable. I will start with a spider animation to pay homage to little Ms Muffet. 

PROCESS

Preliminary Design

Final Draft

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Dwellbeing

Caring for your home, made simple

Dwellbeing teaches new homeowners how to care for their home through a personalize task plan, step by step instructions and a central place for home information. 

PROBLEM

New homeowners constantly struggle to keep track of maintenance needs. There is to much to learn, let alone find time to do. Leaving most aspects of their home in danger of braking and causing serious damage to their house and their wallet.

Company: Solaria Labs a Liberty Mutual Endeavor

My Role: Lead UX Designer

User Research 

Over this year our team conducted hundreds of interviews and online surveys. The goal is to uncover the most impactful pain points so we can focus on solving for those. Interviewees range from plumbers to new homeowners.

 
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Insights

What we found is that people tend to struggle with knowing what they should be doing to best maintain their home. Often they are reactive to when things break. But this is causing unnecessary costs and increasing risk for damage. People wish they had something could plan for them. Because let's face it, dad can't help you with everything.

We found that learning home maintenance tasks is hard for more than just the new home owner.

When you buy a house, it doesn’t come with a manual. There is just so much to keep track of!
— New homeowner
I have a job and kids at home. I just don’t have time, so tasks get put off.
— New Homeowner

User Personas

I’m recently widowed and had to learn how to take care of my home by myself. It was overwhelming.
— recently widowed homeowner
I really only do 1 to 2 tasks a week for my home. If that.
— 33 yr old Homeowner for 2 years

Ideation Session 

Ran a design studio to brainstorm ideas around storing home information and learn about home maintenance. The main pain point was around homeowners not being able to keep track of everything in the home and when it needs to be prioritized. The results were synthesized into actionable features list to test.

 

Initial Wireframe Flow

 
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Dashboard Interaction

A "score" of user's home was a key aspect of dashboard to give a sense of how well they are maintaining the home.

 
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User Testing

We also conducted online interviews and user tests to get a larger groups feedback.

 

Insights

We first started with a quick but quite lengthly onboarding. In testing the feedback was that is was too much just to get on. So we adjusted to by 30% of the original and make the rest part of getting to know the site.

 

Initial Survey of Prioritized Features

With so many potential features and now long term plan because of the early stages we need to find a method to prioritize the most valuable to users.

Target: Recent Homeowners of 5 years

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Design and Build Phase

 
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User Testing

We had over 200 users testing the product in its initial prototype. The feedback was positive around the idea, however, users were confused by the home wellness score. They took it really literally and were annoyed that they could figure out why it was the score it was. The problem was that it was out of 100% and it was base on number of task complete and safety elements in their home which inherently wasn't straight forward. 

Desktop Version

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In-Home Interviews

6 interviews in the Massachusetts area. New homeowners, landlords, people with young children, and recently widowed. Although very diverse group, all found value in the tasks they were given. This helped refine the task page to follow order of operations. Emphasis on the benefit of the tasks to motivate users.

 

Graveyard of Home Wellness Score Designs

This is a lesson of no matter how hard one tries to visualize something, it will never make sense if the math behind it doesn't make sense.

Next Release

To make maintenance tasks assignment even more simple we plan to integrate calendar views and have more task per month visible at a time. This is a result of the users' behaviors to be more monthly planning rather than weekly.

 
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Responsive

 

 

Insights Moving Forward

After creating our first prototype we started to notice a big drop off. People would sign up be assigned a task and then leave. Only to maybe come back the following week to see if there were more tasks. The problem was that even though they may only do 1-2 tasks a week they like to see whats coming next. People want to plan. 

Behavior Change

We designed it in a way so that it would feed you tasks each week. Inherently organizing the platform by week. We learned that people would rather plan their month out when it came to home maintenance. This is counter to many applications that schedule appointments or create fitness plans because they are more of day to day event in people's lives. And how people recieve reminders is really dependent of their phone. Every user we talk to would like push notification

Motivation

A key problem people have with home maintenance is motivation to do it. Through our research we found that people responded well to understanding the benefits to doing the tasks. If they save money, extend lifespan of appliances, increase efficiency by doing the task now or if they are keeping their home safer from possible fire damage they are more like to do the task assigned.

Motivations is realized in this application through multiple avenues. On the tasks themselves and as ongoing tracking on the status page. Gamification and other stats to show users are currently being explored.

Journey of Learnings on Process 

 
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And Being sure to adding delight and reward where I can

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THANK YOU!

Want more? Check out my other projects!

FINDCARE

Find the alternative to the emergency room.

PROBLEM

America is misusing the emergency department causing overcrowding, longer waiting time, lower quality of care, decrease patient satisfaction, and even higher rates of mortality. (- American College of Emergency Physicians, ACEP

 Taken at the Rhode Island Hospital Emergency Department

Taken at the Rhode Island Hospital Emergency Department

RESEARCH METHOD

Contextual inquiry, user and stakeholder interviews, shadow doctors, nurses and technicians. in E.D. (Emergency Department)

In advance of site visit, I created a diagram of what I thought a patient’s journey would be depending on their condition and had staff correct and add to help me better understand the patients' touch points with staff and with out staff. 

 

PROTOTYPE | TEST

Feedback: Users found that they wanted information first before they entered more about themselves. When in pain, patients are interested in where to find the best care fast and deal with medical history later. This informed my flow of the app to present information options first.

 

STORYBOARD

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SolariaLAbs.com

Innovation department of Liberty Mutual

Challenge

Redesign the old website and blog to better reflect what is currently going on in the lab. The main target is recruitment but also is used for internal employees interested in seeing what the innovation department is up to. 

Timeframe: 3 weeks in total

Company: Solaria Labs a Liberty Mutual Endeavor

My Role: Lead UX Designer

Original Site

 
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We made the switch to Medium

 

Problem: We were not seeing enough traffic to our blogs on our site and we were constantly behind getting members of the lab to submit posts.

Why we Chose Medium: Medium allowed our team to create an seamless submission, review, and posting process for our blog. We usually had to email multiple people for approval then they would edit and run through legal, this created a barrier for people to want to submit because the process would take too long and they no long felt ownership. My coworker and I presented this process to: alleviate posting delay, encourage more coworkers to submit and Medium was a great way to reach a larger audience that fit our human-centered, tech and design focus. With thousands of people seeing our posts on relevant content we are see a big difference in engagement. A little switch that made a BIG difference.

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Initial Designs

Both Desktop and Mobile friendly designs.

 
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Developing a Design System to Help the Lab Work Efficiently

This was also a great opportunity to create a public-facing resource— an externally visible brand book — that could act as a window into how we work as a lab. I worked with one other UX designer to create a DSM and shared confluence for the lab in a 2 day hackathon! Currently writing up a medium blog post detailing out the experience.

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