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an augmented reality platform that connects people across generations & distances.

 

 

THE PROBLEM

Globalization and urban migration has led to larger number of families that live away from each other. This raises issues particularly for the elderly population as they deal with both loneliness and depression. On the other hand, childhood depression is also on the rise, with youngsters today spending almost double the time on screens as they used to in 1965.

 
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The US has a growing elderly population, of which >40% report being lonely

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in 2017, children had over 6.5 hours of screen time a day

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Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of decline in health and death

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Childhood depression is on the rise

 
 

 

Section 1: Research

To analyze and understand my users better I dove deep into research, both primary and secondary. I also did a thorough competitive analysis and evaluated all the products that were in the market currently.

DESK RESEARCH SUMMARY

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PARALLEL PRODUCTS

I looked at other products that serve the same need: inter generational communication. Some of these are apps, others are physical products and some are services.

EVALUATION METRICS

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I created a set of evaluation metrics along with an order of importance to help me figure out my priorities, both when looking at existing products and when selecting final ideas. These are rated on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the most important.

PUGH MATRIX

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Grandparent talk (flash cards to help start conversations) and Iyagi (a student project that allows for storytelling) came out on top on this matrix because of the active nature of the communication and the how easy these products were to use.

INSIGHT 1: ACTIVE VS PASSIVE

 
 
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If we look at analog vs digital as a snapshot across time, a majority of the platforms tend to club together in the passive communication section of the matrix. While the number of people we are communicating with has increased, the quality of the communication has dropped. There is lesser scope for the development of personal relationships. Social media allows one to communicate with a lot of people simultaneously, but the communication is only in the form of likes or comments. The medium has more breadth than depth.

other theories

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CHANGE IN LEISURE TIME (1965-2013)

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While there has been an overall increase in leisure time from 1965- 2013, all of that growth has been primarily in time spent on screens. The only two segments that have seen a decrease in time spent across all age groups are socializing and reading.

 
 
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primary RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

Primary research done at various phases to understand the target demographic.

 
 
To me, technology has become the babysitter to many kids. Social media and unfiltered content is exposing kids to many things most current adults were never exposed to at their age.
— A K-12 teacher
Societal norms, life education, laws, education systems, typical parenting styles, etc etc etc have not kept up with the ultra-rapid evolution of the internet.
— A parent of 2
In the last few years before I retired, I noticed a trend of kids coming in and not knowing how to use the mouse or keyboard because they were so used to iPads and touch screens.
— Elementary school teacher
Parents either don’t care and want the quiet an iPad or cell phone brings to their kids, or they’re working their asses off just to put food on the table, and don’t have many options for babysitters.
— Babysitter
 

PRIMARY RESEARCH INSIGHTS

 
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Insight 2: Children + Technology

While there is a perception that children are good with technology. That might not necessarily be the case. Children primarily access content through apps and it is the UX that makes it easier. Added to this, children have larger attention spans than adults and are more likely to stick to a problem till they solve it.

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Insight 3: Society + Technology

Access to the internet and technology has resulted in children growing up faster. Technology has had a marked effect on society and the way we interact with each other.

 
 

 
 

Section 2: synthesis

To synthesize my insights from the primary and secondary research, I used various synthesis tools to understand my users better and eventually come up with some How Might We statements to ideate upon.

PERSONA MAPPING

 
 
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JOURNEY MAPS

 
 
 
 

HOW MIGHT WE?

 
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Connect Grandparents and grandchildren across distances

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Help Grandparents share their experience and skills

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Create a space for child led play instead of structured activities

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Create a platform that grows with children

 
 

 
 

section 3: Ideation

EVALUATING IDEAS

From multiple rounds of brainstorming, I plotted various ideas on a Value Horizon Matrix to determine which ideas to pursue. I was aiming to target an idea which had disruptive potential and pursued a concept that was a big bold idea and had a high customer value.

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INTRODUCING MELD

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Meld is a mixed reality platform to help connect grandparents and grandchildren. It provides and interactive platform that facilitates communication and allows the two generations to do activities together remotely.

The grandchild has a companion Iffy that they take care of through a tablet app. Any changes the child makes around Iffy are projected on to Iffys’ house. The activities that the grandchild can do include redecorating, baking, gardening and building furniture amongst other things. The grandparents help create these activities and monitor progress. The systems works by breaking the structured play paradigm and creating a space for child-led play in a safe environment.

Projection Mapping

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A projector projects onto the house, creating an augmented reality environment that can the child can customize with wallpapers, changing colors, adding photos etc.

Here’s all the things that the child can do

what an average week with meld looks like

SECTION 4: Development

USER FLOW - APP

LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPING

Low-fid Prototoype

WIREFRAMES

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SCREENS

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Sketch Link

 

 

DEVELOPMENT OF HOUSE AND CHARACTER

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MODEL MAKING

 
 
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exhibited at KRANNERT ART museum

 
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