A travel companion that helps children to become more independent
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.
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?
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!
“how might we support both parents and children on the road towards independence?”
5. EBBE helps to direct by a shifting weight
6. And has a biking mode
Ebbe navigates using a shifting weight, this way the user can keep their eyes on the road
If the child feels a little lonely they can send or recieve a "touch". This abstract form of comunication supports independence.
If the child decides to take a different road EBBE adjusts the route
EBBE instils a sense of community by showing relative locations of friends that are also travelling
In the supporting app parent and chilld can plan the journey and the profile of each child can be adjusted according to their needs
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
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.
Family schedules are complex as parents often have to drive their children to school and other engagements, whilst maintaining their own routines as well.
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
Public transport does not accomodate needs of young families. Taking the bus does require several items of responsibility, like a phone, wallet and creditcard
Percieved safety zones
have decreased over the past years due to social media, resulting in parents having a hard time letting their children go
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.
Journey mapping, Designing Interactions, Wireframing
User testing & co-creation with mothers
Concept evaluation with intended end user
"She thinks this is very exciting, she says that she could use this"
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.
The final prototype