according to Gerda"
User-Centered Product Design
ART C166 Project
Emily Gui, Angela Liu, Kartikye Mittal, Monika Kiss
User research, interviews, ideation
‘The world according to Gerda’ is a hyper-personalized object that allows Gerda Schonefeld, the subject of this project, to step back into a very important time in her childhood while still engaging with the object in a way that compliments her interests and quirks today.
Through rounds of in-depth semi-structured interviews, the beginning of this project started with us getting to know our user, as well as us aiming to identify any pain points in her life. Given a broad brief, sharp interview skills were necessary at this stage.
Here were some insights we collected during our initial rounds of interviews:
Touch seemed to be a very important sense for Gerda. A small activity that she does is running her fingers through rocks to feel the texture. Engaging with her senses was something that was pleasurable for her and brought her joy.
Gerda has a stuffed toy named Maddie (a lizard) that brings her a lot of joy. She starts to become more conversational and joyful when she is around Maddie, and particularly enjoys the texture and feel when the stuffed toy lays on her body.
Gerda has a small plate of aromatic oils that she occasionally smells to engage with her smell senses
Gerda recently suffered from a fall, and has struggled with a number of health issues recently. Daily activities such as changing, have become very difficult.
We found out that her book of stories was written by her all on a typewriter in a writing room. This seemed to be a very important aspect of her life. She wrote till 2014, till she was 95.
When she hears music, which is another form of sensory engagement, Gerda does a ‘piano playing’ finger movement in the air. She loves music and listens to a huge variety, although classical piano is her favourite.
Through discussion, ideation, and further interviews, we were able to narrow down potential topics about Gerda's life that could be used for this project.
1. Sense of touch: Gerda felt a sense of companionship and joy around her stuffed toys, especially Maddie.
2. Music: Sera (her caretaker) will often play different music genres for Gerda to engage with her hearing senses, however, classical music seemed to be a more popular genre.
3. Writing: We found out how much she enjoyed using her typewriter and writing.