Sandqvist Case Management System, strict Participatory design

From physical to digital

During a course in Participatory design me and three fellow students conducted a study at a bag dealer and one of its shops in Stockholm during the winter of 18/19. Our goal was to find a problem in a physical environment and conceptualize around a digital solution, luckyli Sandqvist was in need of a solution for their claims and repairs.

Exploring through contextual inquiry

For starters an observation was conducted, an approach for getting a grip of the situation at hand. After analysis of notes and photographs taken we mapped out a flow chart to get our heads around the company’s process for handling claims and repair errands. This process was to be our reality for the coming weeks.

A Sandqvist store with bags on the walls, students and employees discussing by the cash counter

Future workshop

Staying true to Participatory design a future workshop was conducted, this time to get the employees opinions gathered. Of course, trying to get the participants to relax and write down crazy ideas was a tough one, but in the end we managed just fine. This step resulted in some key points guiding us in how a digital solution would help out handling the claims and repairs.

Yellow and orange post-its on a table, students and employes around it

Prototyping with the participants

Not only did we prototype, we conducted prototyping workshops with the employees in the Sandqvist store trying to get some insights around design of the digital solution. By only using pen and paper we hoped to get a lot of sketches and also get around feelings of pressure. The workshop resulted in detailed sketches of a UI and key insights around interaction with the system.

Employees making sketches of interfaces

Critique phase

After analyzing sketches made by the participants, a number of digital prototypes was made, each one using different important elements found in the sketches. By paying a last visit in the store a critique session was held. The critique of the digital prototypes helped us pick key elements for a final prototype.

Students and employees gather around an iPad with a interactive prototype displaying on it

Result

The final prototype was made out of insights of all workshops, also by staying true to the design school we did not add features not explicitly expressed by the participants themselves. With the context in mind, an iPad UI with complex tasks made easy to use was developed by using concepts of best practice and hierarchy of information.

Surrounds, User centered design by standard means

Participation in shared spaces

During the fall and winter of 2019 I’ve been a part of the evolvement of Surrounds, an interactive prototype for controlling the music in a bar setting. This project was initiated to elevate the feeling of participation amongst people in a shared space meanwhile following the standards of user centered design.

Brainstorming on space & spatiality

This design process started by some rules being set, the theme for the course it took place in was stated ”space & spatiality”. With this in mind, idea generation took place through structured brainstorming, critique phases and dot-voting. The aim was to create a solution for the widespread feeling of lack of responsibility in shared, public spaces. The concept started out with ideas concerning gamification and different tools to encourage people to take responsibility and get involved in their shared spaces, but soon shifted into co-creation as a means to bring people together.

Post-its clustered on a whiteboard

Iterative prototyping

To avoid designing for the wrong environment and to make sure the design would suit the end-users, we early on made contextual observations and interviews in a bar in Stockholm, a setting which is considered shared and has a lot of potential for human interaction. Through observations the music played a large social role in the bar.

Later we started to sketch on different concepts and ideas of how a system could allow the visitors of the bar to influence the music. This process consisted of low-fi prototyping different interfaces on paper and whiteboards, to more complex prototypes on digital platforms.

An interactive prototype on ReactJS was developed in parallel with the UI sketching. The whole process was iterative, where we continuously made drafts and tested them on users as well as evaluating them within the group. The prototype slowly moved from a very functional and accurate way of interacting with the music through a minimalistic UI, where the user could choose the exact number of energy they wanted, to a more playful and interactive interface where the user had to match their desired mood to a moving gif.

Collage of low-fi prototypes

Wizard of Oz

The interactive prototype used Spotify Web API to analyze songs, and based on the user input, filter them after energetic the songs where analyzed to be. Due to restraints in the API, the system needed a moderator to actively push the play button after the songs had been filtered through the voting. The tests therefore resulted in an almost literal interpretation of the Wizard of Oz technique, where one moderator sat in the back-room of the bar, monitoring the system and playing songs when needed.

Surrounds, a digital prototype on an iPad in a bar

Result

The results of this process I’d say consists more of insights of the actual process rather than a well shaped UI. You'll be the judge.. And if you're interested in helping out finishing the development the project happen to be open source.

iPad mockup with the final interface