jive is an innovative experience concept designed to address
a social need.

The Development.

jive was developed over a 6 month period as part of Ben Arent's Product Design Degree. The product was based upon user centered design methods, and a main aim of the outcome was to create a physical outcome for the graduate design shows.

I didn't set out to create 'jive', instead refined design concepts and reviewed these against my dissertation framework, to create the best communication device for the late majority.

The Brief.

The design process started with myself having to pick my own brief. I wanted to focus my work on a interaction design piece, but knew I had to find a real user.

I the found information about an EU objective 2007.7.1 ICT and Ageing. This is a objective to fund €27M of funding to increase personal independence to prolong active participation in the society.

Most of this research currently addresses the immediate and more important issues such as fall prevention and telecare. I wanted to address the social aspects and tried to have more fun with the serious chosen brief.

User Research.

jive come with a 'one plug router'. When jive is purchased all setup details are embedded into the router. This means that the user just plugs that router into the phone, plugs in the power and flicks the switch.

plugging in one plug router

Cultural Probes

As part of my user research I sent out cultural probes to great understand my target audience. This included a diary, digital camera and notepad. The probe has instructions of certain thing that the user had to take photos of. The picture to the left is a a photo of something 'social'.

A day in the life of.

a day in the life ofAnother part of my user research was to live like a 60 year old. I visited Chichester and spent the day trying to go on with my normal business. A major insight was the amount of technology that is already prevalent in the lives of these people. You can view the full set on Flickr.

Visiting Age Concerns computer group. Enfield.

a day in the life ofAnother part of my user research was to live like a 60 year old. I visited Chichester and spent the day trying to go on with my normal business. A major insight was the amount of technology that is already prevalent in the lives of these people. You can view the full set on Flickr.

Experience Prototypes

Below is a range of 3 experience prototypes that were used during the development process. The concept of an experience prototype was inspired by Bill Buxtons 'Sketching User Experience'. The mash up of a video was a very productive tool to show the core concept of a new and novel product innovation.

First Concept

This first video is a short stop frame animation using a paper interface constructed onto a real photo frame.

This gave me the chance to propose a brand new concept of using physical objects to retrieve data from the display.

Filling out concept details.

This video starts to outline the surrounding product experience. In the beginning it highlights the importance of the surrounding installation experience.

The second part of the video highlights the magnetic user interface, and starts to explore possibility of the design.

The production is supposed to be loose to allow comments on the core concept and experience instead of creating a higher fidelity experience.

How betty will change your life.

The final experience prototype outlines the importance of the communication experience, and not just the individual product.

This final video was used to inform the more detailed interface and hardware design. These strong foundations helped build a solid design foundation.

YouTube Feedback.

As part of user feedback I used youtube as a feedback mechanism. This video was a reply to geriatric1927's campaign to get more elderly users online.

Hardware Development.

Blurb Blurb Blurb

Water Jet Casing.

a day in the life ofThe outer casing was designed in two parts and cut on a water jet cutter. A water jet cutter allows for rapid cutting of complex shapes. The casing was made out of 1mm steel.

Bending the Casing.

a day in the life ofUsing a range of conventional bending techniques the outer case was formed to enclose the hardware.

The same construction for the router.

a day in the life ofThis same construction technique was used to create the router. The router dimensions were designed to be the same proportions as a UK phone socket so users can more easily understand installation.

Testing the hardware tolerances.

a day in the life ofThe internal hardware is a hacked up Del Latitude, the laptop has been stripped and has been left with only vital components.

Hardware development.

a day in the life ofThe hardware and tangible user interface was made using Phidgets. The device uses three Phidgets magnetic sensors to trigger the events in the program. This allows for the tangible interface.


a day in the life ofThe detailing was completed with the aid of the water jet cutter, several layers of paint were applied to the exterior of 'betty'. Orange foam highlights were used as this is a color that is associated with socializing.

Rfid and Rfid reader development.

a day in the life ofEach friend pass is embedded with a radio frequency identity tag, this is used to link a persons digital life to a physical object. The current development of betty has to have a separate RFID reader, but future generations would have these RFID antennas built into the monitor.

Tangible user interface development.

a day in the life ofThe tangible user interface took a lot of development to get the sensor to work. The code and examples are available on my blog, and I shall be posting the full code here soon.

The nightmare of new interactive product development!

a day in the life ofNormally BA Product design students will just create a design concept, and not have anything to work. As I knew I was going to exhibit jive I wanted to create something that everyone could use, the development process takes a long time, and even my product got the blue screen of death!

In all this product took 6 months to develop from multiple concepts to the final one you see here. If you are impressed and are looking to hire an interaction designer, please get in touch.

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