Iris Ritsma

EBBE

A travel companion that helps children to become more independent

 
 

Introduction

Umeå is expanding at a rapid rate, the local transportation system must accommodate these changes. The mobility justice project is based on a collaborative conglomerate of various stakeholders, including the Umeå Institute of Design, RISE Interactive, Umeå Kommun, and the local bus service Ultra. Throughout the project, we have been involving the general public through facilitating participation and cooperative design as well as ethnographic research.

 

 

Challenge

How might we facilitate a service that gives both parent and child the ability to discuss and gradually grow towards a greater sense of independence and self-sufficiency through the lens of mobility?

Solution

Ebbe is a travel companion for 7-9 year olds that helps children to navigate independently. With Ebbe, children can plan their journey, learn about their environment, and explore alone, or with friends!

 

 

Details

University: Umeå Institute of Design
Year: 2018

Partners:
RISE Interactive, Umeå Kommun, Ultra

Conference:
Participatory design conference 2018

Interaction awards 2019 shortlisted

Team: Carolyn Wegner, Minh Huy Dang, Iris Ritsma

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Design question

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“how might we support both parents and children on the road towards independence?”

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User Scernario

 
 
1. Planning the route

1. Planning the route

3. Uploading plans to EBBE

3. Uploading plans to EBBE

5. EBBE helps to direct by a shifting weight

7. EBBE allows for exploring

7. EBBE allows for exploring

9. Send a touch when you can use a little encouragement

9. Send a touch when you can use a little encouragement

2. Adding friends and family to the journey

2. Adding friends and family to the journey

4. Activating EBBE

4. Activating EBBE

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6. And has a biking mode

8. EBBE is well integrated into the transportation system

8. EBBE is well integrated into the transportation system

10. See where your friends are too!

10. See where your friends are too!

 
 

Key Functionalities

 
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Abstract navigation

Ebbe navigates using a shifting weight, this way the user can keep their eyes on the road

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Communication

If the child feels a little lonely they can send or recieve a "touch". This abstract form of comunication supports independence.

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Allows Exploring

If the child decides to take a different road EBBE adjusts the route

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Community

EBBE instils a sense of community by showing relative locations of friends that are also travelling

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Suporting app

In the supporting app parent and chilld can plan the journey and the profile of each child can be adjusted according to their needs

 
 

Process

PARTICIPATORY DESIGN PROCESS

The focus of the process has been to involve the general public, through several interviews a target group was chosen. Together with the target group and other stakeholders the concept of EBBE was developed

 
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Ethnographic research

The process started by interviewing the general public. Through a process we called "snowballing" we contacted different people that came up during the interviews. During several interviews we stumbled upon complicated schedules of young families with children

The next step was shadowing some of these families in their morning routine; dropping the kids off at different schools, going back home for the car and then driving to work.

Based on the interviews, shadowing and roleplay we were able to investigate the problem and extract some problems.

 
 
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The problem

 
 
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Comlicated schedules

Family schedules are complex as parents often have to drive their children to school and other engagements, whilst maintaining their own routines as well.

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Gap towards independence

The step towards travelling alone and gaining more independence is big for both parent and chld. Children need support to become more independent

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Public transport

Public transport does not accomodate needs of young families. Taking the bus does require several items of responsibility, like a phone, wallet and creditcard

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Percieved safety zones

have decreased over the past years due to social media, resulting in parents having a hard time letting their children go

 
 

Participatory Workshops

Once we had selected a target group we organized several participatory workshops. In these workshops we had set out several scenarios that the participants could work with. We recreated the context; the map of Umeå with different locations that the parents and children have to travel to. We made persona's with different motivations and gave these to the participants. Through roleplay and discussion we initiated a brainstorm session. The participants were stakeholders from the municipality, Umeå kommun, ultra, rise interactive and the intended users themselves.

 
 
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Concept development

Journey mapping, Designing Interactions, Wireframing

 
When the concept of a travel companion was initiated we started by mapping out the  user journey , selecting the  touchpoints  for the companion and the app.

When the concept of a travel companion was initiated we started by mapping out the user journey, selecting the touchpoints for the companion and the app.

For the time being we used a blue camping light as "companion". Based on the touchpoints the interactions were designed and tested using the lamp. Developing the interactions was an  iterative  process, the interactions evolved from more traditional ways of navigating to a more and more  abstract  way of navigating. Several versions were tested with users and parents.

For the time being we used a blue camping light as "companion". Based on the touchpoints the interactions were designed and tested using the lamp. Developing the interactions was an iterative process, the interactions evolved from more traditional ways of navigating to a more and more abstract way of navigating. Several versions were tested with users and parents.

Simultaneously with the interactions of the companion the  wireframe  for the app was designed

Simultaneously with the interactions of the companion the wireframe for the app was designed

 

 
 
Feedback session with RISE Interactive

Feedback session with RISE Interactive

Inviting product designers to join the discussion/brainstorm

Inviting product designers to join the discussion/brainstorm

 
 

 

User testing & co-creation with mothers

 
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Concept evaluation with intended end user

 
Co-creating, how should the navigation work?

Co-creating, how should the navigation work?

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"She thinks this is very exciting, she says that she could use this"

(mom translating)

 

 

Form iterations

Through sketches, renders and low-fi prototypes I made the design for EBBE. The aim for the design was to create a friendly, comforting and joyful shape inspired by the compass. 

 
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The final prototype

 
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Movie making

 
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