Re-design Goed Wijzer
Re-design a proof of concept for a smart tangible-digital product for primary education that teaches children within the age range of 7-9 years old multiple arithmetic domains based on Goed Wijzer. Main activities: conceptual design, material research, user research and the investigation of the production and product implementation.
B3.1 Internship at
Mitchell Jacobs (company coach); Matthias Rauterberg (teacher coach)
employees at Studio Tast;
various Salto partner primary schools in Eindhoven (de Driestam & de Bergen)
(educational design studio)
Mitchell Jacobs (creative
director Tast); Stef Verberk
(interaction designer Tast); Marieke van den Hout (didactic expert)
interior & experience design of meeting room Tast Lab and graphic design projects
A bit more about the internship company...
Studio Tast started as a start-up out of Mitchell Jacob’s final master project Goed Wijzer. Today Studio Tast is known as a small and modern educational design company, leading design consultancy projects; own initiated design projects and design thinking workshops.
"Studio Tast focuses on designing tangible learning experiences for all kinds of students to help them learning in their own way."
This because every human being learns, experiences and communicates differently. Therefore, the mission of Studio Tast is to get them all motivated to keep on learning and growing. In order to do this Studio Tast is creating products that evoke embodied learning and autonomous working. They want students to gain a feeling of autonomy over their work and learning process while using the products made by Studio Tast.
The company works with a holistic approach, which means that their employees are arranged to multiple projects based upon their skills. For me this entailed to be arranged to the Goed Wijzer project (main project); the redesign of their experience room Tast Lab (side project); and the design of BMV Hoensbroek Zuid’s corporate identity. Through these
projects I could apply my skills of conceptual design and user testing but also achieve my learning goals regarding designing for experience, research analysis, material research and graphic design.
Internship challenge, approach, methods, results & contribution
Goed Wijzer is a smart tangible-digital product for primary education that teaches children within the age range of 7-9 years old of group 4 to tell the time. However, Studio Tast wanted to research whether it is a feasible product for teaching multiple
arithmetic domains instead of teaching one, “telling time.” Therefore, my challenge within the Goed Wijzer project can be described as designing a proof of concept of the Goed Wijzer product that includes multiple arithmetic domains next to
“telling time.” For me, this implied the conceptual design of the expanded Goed Wijzer product, material research, user research and the investigation of the production and product implementation. All in all it must be concluded whether the proof of concept was feasible for production. The re-design and expansion of the Goed Wijzer product was carried out through four iterations, each ending up into an improved concept, building out to the final proof of concept.
In the first iteration an intuitive design process was carried out from my own perspective as designer with the focus on storytelling and creating an arithmetic learning experience around "telling time", "weight concepts" and "spatial awareness concepts" that was relatable to the children’s real-life situations. It was important to choose upon which arithmetic domains Goed Wijzer would offer; which physical learning tools were needed to design for that and how the interaction with those tools would be meaningful and motivational. Therefore, ideation played a big role. For me this meant ideation on how the physical tools together with the digital interface design could provide storytelling related to several chosen arithmetic domains. That is why the first concept includes arithmetic domains as directions, clock and weight. Furthermore storytelling was provided by the concept of 4 themes as pirates, jungle, woods and space that would be incorporated in the physical learning tools (e.g. “gold” to weigh on the base module) and as software themes. These storytelling thematic concepts were visualized and low fidelity prototypes of the physical arithmetic domain components were created.
The second iteration was meant to deepen the didactic foundation of the re-design, and to create a tangible learning experience that could fit different personalities & learning needs within the target group. This iteration was based on a more research focused process including desk research about the user and his/her context, making personas, researching and applying didactic principles, a second ideation and conceptualization phase, user studies and analyzing study results. Which resulted into a second set of low-fidelity prototypes combined with basic didactic content.
The third iteration went in detail about the design for transition between multiple arithmetic domains. The third iteration included a small internal study with employees at Studio Tast to validate various low-fidelity tangible designs made for the
transitions between arithmetic domains. Furthermore, this iteration set a more specific didactic foundation for the arithmetic lessons Goed Wijzer could offer in its digital application. Because of the determination of various learning levels within the 3 chosen arithmetic domains based on didactic models (handelingsmodel, model Marieke refereren) Goed Wijzer’s didactic value was deepened. The choice for these focuses in iteration 3 were based upon the insights from the two user studies at
Finally, the fourth iteration was meant to finalize the expanded Goed Wijzer concept into a showcase model, meant to demonstrate the intended personal and intuitive product experience. During this iteration the focus was on creating a complete product. Therefore, all components of Goed Wijzer as hardware, software, lesson content and context, storytelling, physical tools and contextual tools needed to become a whole. Moreover, the model needed to demonstrate its future possibilities, e.g. its product experience when even more arithmetic domains will be added. That is why formgiving and coloring (of both physical components as the interface design); material and production research and product implementation (through implementation journey tools) were important elements in this process.
The outcome of the Goed Wijzer project is a low-fidelity tangible showcase model of the re-designed components to learn "telling time", and the newly designed components and transition sheets to learn about the concepts of "weights" and "spatial awareness". Moreover, a 3D rendered showcase model of the expanded Goed Wijzer design and its physical components, including the base module and 6 tactile tools, was made. These deliverables were supported by a user insights document; material and production research document for those physical components; and a business plan showing the feasibility of future production. However it could be concluded that more production and material research was needed as well as another iteration on the physical tools to make Goed Wijzer financially more attractive. Moreover I delivered a realized redesign of Tast Lab’s meeting space, evoking an interactive experience representing Studio Tast’s corporate identity and vision. Furthermore, the outcomes include an InDesign document containing the designed corporate identity of the BMV Hoensbroek Zuid information document in which all content could be placed easily.
Why I loved this internship?
I loved a lot of things about this internship. But especially the fact that this was my first opportunity to put my design skills into practice, within a company team, and within the company's network context, that was really valuable! I had always worked in project groups but now I was responsible for three projects at once. That made me learn a lot about professional communication and planning & organization.
I loved working within such a small company, with about four "fixed" employees and four interns. In that way I knew every member of the studio and every intern. This made it easier to ask for help, learn from each other and allowed for close collaboration with employees working on different design disciplines (as technology design, media design or strategic design).
The user tests and design evaluations with the children at various primary schools made this internship fun and into a great learning experience. My preparation back then was not always optimal, which I learned to improve. Furthermore I analyzed the user test results so deeply that I could not easily explain the results, let alone translate them into further concepts. That was a big learning point for me, that I had to work on my analysis skills and insight communication / visualization.
Expert sessions with the didactic expert (Marieke van den Hout) were very valuable in terms of my professional attitude, preparations and getting acquainted with didactic foundations for my design concepts. Especially when designing tangible tools for education it is important to be able to argument why on a didactic level these designs enhance the children's learning experience and learning abilities. I found it an enriching experience to deep dive into didactic knowledge, and really being able to connect didactic principles with the physical tools I designed.
Furthermore, due to Studio Tast's integrated workspace I could explore lots of prototyping opportunities which enhanced my ideation and conceptualization processes. Bringing concepts to life more easily, which also allowed for quick evaluation with employees and experts, which is very important within a "start up" company. Knowing early on whether a concept has potential or not is key when working with time related and financial limits!
SUMMARY OF REFLECTION
In the beginning of the internship I felt confused by the amount of work I had to do. Goed Wijzer was my main project so I wanted to prove myself as a designer within that project. Next to that I felt the pressure of the Tast Lab project since I only had one and a half month to conceptualize and realize the redesign of the room. Like my company coach Mitchell Jacobs mentions regarding the professional skill Planning & Organization I experienced difficulties in planning my work, setting goals and defining approaches regarding my projects. However, during the internship I learned to take control over my processes by creating a visual overview of them, planning activities in advance and by reflecting more often on my processes through switching from 3rd person perspective to 1st person perspective. I became more confident in doing so, taking my own well substantiated design decisions and planning in depth user research. I believe my growth within the skill Planning & Organization helps me in my FBP to gain control over my processes and prevent confusion. Furthermore I believe this skill is substantial to be a professional designer.
Regarding my professional identity I agree with my company coach. He mentions that I applied and developed many different hard skills. I learned to make laser cut sketches and to use prototyping as conceptualization skill. I got insight in how to make a customer journey and its function in the product implementation. I improved my user study preparation,performance and analyzation skills. Moreover, I learned to make a business plan to show the feasibility of a concept. My growth in hard skills is useful in my FBP and as future professional and independent designer. However my main struggle was to understand my own professional identity as a designer. Yet I have grown in showing more control in applying my strengths and skills as designer, understanding what to do, but it has to mature over time.
Regarding my goal to get acquainted with designing for experience I learned how to define the intended experience; translate user needs into design decisions and to make material, formgiving, color and production choices to create a product that feels complete. These insights really contribute to translating my vision into designs. This has also been noticed by my company coach who mentioned that I realised the complexity of going from vision to design decisions. He believes first steps in professionalising the vision are taken, but again it needs more time to mature to understand its values in context.