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Brief

Design a way to counter some of the alienating effects of remote working online.

Gain awareness of how humans senses shape human experience.

Demonstrate an awareness of materials exploration beyond the digital.

Partner

Team

Winnie Wong

Pat Winyoopongphun

Tsz Hoi Lee

Ann Chen

DURATION

10 weeks

 

Our focus

Our focus is creating opportunities for remote workers to keep connecting, socializing and having fun together besides work.

Throughout our researches, we found that the biggest change from working in an office to working remotely from home is not about the work itself, but the lack of shared moments with colleagues. There’s no more coffee break, having lunch and happy hour, our conversations are heavily focused on work only. We end up losing the sense of presence and connection with our colleagues. Therefore, our main focus is to create informal sharing moments and involve more physical elements of remote working.

idea

“Sharmon” refers to “Share your physical moments through your monitor”. It is a mixed digital and physical team building toolkit tailor-made for remote working situation. Sharmon consists of a physical toolkit, a digital platform and a scanning app for uploading.

 

Sharmon is designed for a team with 4-8 people and we suggested to be held on every Friday for around 20mins.

 

How it works?

The basic concept of our idea is to send out physical toolkit to every colleague for some creative team building activities. At this moment, there are two kinds of physical toolkits open to subscribe. One is the Starter’s Kit and the other is a Co-creation kit. People have to download the desktop software and mobile app for uploading and sharing. In the digital software, it does not only provide the video conferencing for real-time communication, and but also creates a virtual collection space for the team to preserve their outcome. So as a tool, people can directly upload their outcome of each session through the scanning app to the digital platform.

 

Primary & Secondary research

User interviews, literature reviews and case studies were done in this project. We did the user interview with three types of users - digital product designer, physical product designer and non-designer. Moreover, we analyzed the Design Loop system of IBM. We listed the process that better done physically or can't be done digitally. After doing this research, we found out there are lots of senses that have been missing when people working from home. It inspired us to also look at the Home setting  VS Office setting.

Home VS Office

The user journey, encoding and decoding of communication and the AEIOU is quite different from home and office. It gives us three key questions to explore: What people do when working from home? How people connect with each other? And what things/ artifacts they use? 

We found that actually there are lots of digital solutions to help people work remotely, they can collaborate and work together online. However, to them, "work" is not just about work, people also care about their working experience. They feel more lonely and disconnected with their workmates and company when they are working from home. We found this is having more potential opportunities so we decided not to focus on enhancing workspace but rather choosing to explore the direction of helping people to keep connections and remote socializing with their workmates.

Prototyping 

For doing the prototype, we aligned the branding style and sketched the physical toolkit and storyboard of the proposed activities. After sketching, we made the physical prototype by using cardboard. Thinking through making! During the feedback loop, we quickly did the prototype and testing to revise our outcomes.

USER TESTING

We did storytelling and speed dating to get some user feedback on our idea. We explored "How people think about Team building?" and got feedback on our prototype. The finding is all users have positive feedback on team building. They said they would love to join if it is within the working hours. They are also curious to know more about their colleagues and to learn some skills. "Sparks Curiosity", "Competitiveness", "Sustainability" and "Physicality" are the key elements that we focus on after getting user feedback.

We presented our final design to IBM iX team in the Zoom meeting. It consisted of a demo of the digital platform and two physical toolkits.

As the world has been changing rapidly, in our design process, we also consider opportunities for different possible and future scenarios. We are considering the alternative when part of the team returned to the office or people have a big-time zone difference. We believe that alternatives could be made under our big idea to cater to different situations. Also, we see the opportunity to extend our design to other industries such as business by making some changes in our activities to fit their characteristics.

 

If you are interested to know more about this project, feel free to check out my blog. It documented the comprehensive process.

Also, if you are interested in Remote Working, feel free to check out my critical evaluation of Remote Working in UX design.

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+44 (0) 7874 740757 (UK) | +852 6352 9615 (HK)

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©2020 BY WINNIE WONG

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