“Enabled by Design Platform”
8 weeks, Nov / Dec 2012, Team Project
with Josh Benjamin McDonald, Kathryn Hooven, Beatrise Nogina
Glasgow School of Art, Product Design Programme
tutored by Stuart Bailey
client: Enabled by Design
This project was a collaboration with UK social business Enabled by Design. From their website:
“Enabled by Design is a social business and community of people who are passionate about Design for All. We believe that good design can support people to live as independently as possible, by helping to make day-to-day tasks that little bit easier and in turn more manageable.”
Denise Stephens is the co-founder and the inspiration for the project, that won the first prize in the first edition of the Social Innovation Camp in 2008. After being diagnosed with MS, she was given a range of assistive equipment to help her to be as independent as possible. This equipment made a huge difference to her life, but she became frustrated as her home started to look more and more like a hospital; in this, Denise saw the potential for Design. Enabled by Design aims at improving providing information on existing products and services for independent living and on user hacks, and at raising awareness, especially to designers.
Enabled by Design was seeking help from GSA in building a platform facilitating the design, funding and sale of bespoke products for individuals with specific needs. This idea takes inspiration from the user hacks the website features: users are effectively becoming designers for their own sakes with these modified products that assist their independent living, but the results of these hacks could be used by many others that share the same issues. They are tailored products, but this doesn’t mean that they are suitable only for one person. We were asked to turn this insight into a Service Platform, that would bring together designers, users and manufacturers with the common intent of providing Bespoke Design for All, through crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.
The design process followed two separate tracks running alongside: we developed the Service, and at the same time we tested the viability of the steps of the service with a Case of bespoke product design for specific needs.
The outcome was a concept for a service that would work on a project basis: one designer works with a direct user in person and with indirect users online to create a product that responds to a certain independent living issue. Frances, who inspired our bleach bottle cap project, stars as herself in the proposed service user journey below.
Bleach Bottle Opener
This was the bespoke product that was designed following the service process. At one point of the project, the team divided tasks, and two designers began working directly with Frances to fulfill her need of opening bleach bottles caps on her own. The feedback session at the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living brought to our attention that mouthwash bottles have a similar cap, smaller in size. The result was a working prototype that helps the unscrewing of both kinds of caps, by exerting pressure on the sides of the cap (which is normally done by the person’s thumbs) so that all the user has to do is turn it easily.
This is a product that was born in response to Frances’ need, but can be of great help to everyone that has difficulty opening these kinds of bottles.