This project is the result of a collaboration with Malmö Studenthus as a main stakeholder (management and tenants), which is the biggest private student housing unit in Malmö. Their particular services and location, along with the diversity of the students that live here, gives this place a particular ambient and interaction style.
Our team wanted to research this environment to come up with a design proposal, in order to enhance the social relations and interactions between tenants, their use of the common spaces in the house and their communication with the management, in order to create a more collaborative community.
Along with observing the common areas in the house, and interviews with the staff of the house, our research was based in design experiments and games to understand the engage interest of the tenants. This was also a good way of awakening curiosity for each other and incrementally for the activities we were proposing.
Among these experiments, we used methods like cultural probes so users could jornal their experiences of interaction, and we introduced the doodle boards in each of the entrances of the 12 buildings of the student house.
To trigger the design phase, we invited the tenants to participate in a codesign workshop to further identify obstacles in the way tenants socialize, between them and with the staff. What might be improved in the interactions?
Along with the observations and the experience using the doodle boards, we started a sketching and prototyping process, that used the methods och personas and scenarios, in order to explore how to take advantage of the shared spaces in the house, to intervene them and transform them into hubs of informations and interaction.
The main outcome was a mockup of Meeting point: A design concept of multimodal communication system, communitu managed, and accessed by the users both at some shared spaces at the house, and through a digital application. The system would also be connected to the already existing social media channels where tenants interact, but keeping the content exclusive to those that live in the unit.
Wizard of Oz, mockup and wireframe of Meeting Point, 2018.
This project had a significant exploration in politics of participation, which is an important aspect to take care of as social designer: Often these hyerarchic relations are not visible until we materialise them with products and services. In this sense, aesthetics play an essential role, and we have to pay attentions to how our design choices flatten or reinforce those politics. We found out that creative generosity, proposing ideas of easy appropriation, are a great resource to open up for participation in codesign processes.
Thank you to all the students and staff that participated in the process!
UX Researcher, design facilitator, designer with focus on concept develoment.
Interaction design, collaborative media, participatory design, codesign, design games, social interaction, politics of participation.