Archive for the ‘Designing’ Category

RepRap: Be fruitful and multiply!

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and  multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over  the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living  thing that moveth upon the earth”

Genesis 1:28

I’m not a religious person at all, but this quote from Genesis illustrates very nicely the awesome powers that were bestowed by “the dude upstairs” upon that couple of naked people living in his garden: Usefulness and Self reproduction!

This gave way to the opportunity to get more of these  naked people to walk around, do some cool things which could help themselves and others and eventually create some more naked people of their own to keep the ball rolling.

Well this amazing power is exactly what the guys behind the RepRap project gave to their open source rapid prototyping machine. That’s right, it’s a SELF REPLICATING RAPID PROTOTYPING MACHINE! it creates useful things for us and has the ability to create a copy of itself so that others can take advantage of it too. How awesome is that??

New year, new decade, new job, new city… and I get to play with robots!

It’s being a pretty hectic end/start of the year. As of last Monday (11th of January) I started working as Interaction Designer at VanBerlo Studios, the biggest design studio in the Netherlands and an important player in the European scene of product development.

As a consequence and after 9 years of my life spent in the little and picturesque town of Delft I had to move to Eindhoven, a bigger city down to the south of the Netherlands, very well known for being the headquarters of technology giants Philips and home of former European champions PSV Eindhoven (I guess I can never wear my Ajax jersey in public around this town).

The city is not as charming, but the work and the company is absolutely fantastic so far… and I get to play with robots! One of the first projects I’ll be working on deals with robotics and therefore today I paid a visit to the mechanical engineering department of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

Sustainable packaging? Bring out the popcorn!

Another way of 'recycling' packing peanuts?

For my first post of the year I received the inspiration from a Christmas present my sister received while I was visiting her.

I’ve always had the habit of keeping the little styrofoam packing peanuts of any package I receive so that I can reuse them whenever I have to send something out myself. It saves me money and I ensure that the material is used at least once more. Sadly though, I’m sure that this is not something that everybody does and undoubtedly most of these peanuts end up in the trash after a single use, contributing to our waste problems.

But what’s the alternative? Well, as I mentioned, my sister received this gift during the holidays which I thought was brilliantly simple and a very nicely thought alternative. It was a little box with shower and bath soaps which used POPCORN (!!!) instead of styrofoam.

Novility HELP: A hospitality training system based on motion tracking

Novility HELP

NovilityRelevant keywords

Motion tracking, Hospitality training, Gamification, Ergonomics, Agile development, Start up, New product development

Design goal

Create a Kinect based training system for the hotel industry that teaches housekeepers the correct procedures, ergonomic movements and required English language skills to perform their job efficiently, effectively and free of injuries.

Specific role & contribution

  • Product owner in charge of defining all mayor features from the very beginning
  • Part of the project planning and management team under an Agile development, including set up of bi-weekly sprints and monitoring of progress
  • Head of the design team, leading analysis, conceptualization and styling of product features
  • Lead for design research activities, such as observational research, interviews and user testing
  • Direct communication with developers
  • Art director for all graphical communication material

Sapiens: Solutions for deep brain stimulation

Relevant keywords

Brain surgery, Medical software, UI design, Workshops

Design goal

Analyse the product offering of Sapiens, to identify the design challenges faced by their new brain stimulation products. A special emphasis is laid on the design and styling of their medical software for brain surgery planning.

Specific role & contribution

  • Organization and execution of workshops with medical experts 
  • Analysis of collected insights
  • Mapping out the brain surgery procedure in order to identifying challenges and opportunities
  • Assist in the analysis of current product
  • Assist in the conceptualization and wire-framing of the planning software
  • Assist in the implementation of the styling to different screens

Atag Magna Series: User interface design for a Combi Steam Oven

Atag - Combi Steam Oven

Relevant keywords

User interface design, Kitchen appliances, Observational research, Focus group, Prototyping, Workshops, Red Dot Award

Design goal

Development of a touch interface for a new line of high-end ovens for Atag. A user centred design approach was used to ensure that the features available would be in line with what people actually want to use in their kitchens. The product should be able to support the experienced cook while at the same time guiding the novice.

Specific role & contribution

  • Project planning and management, including preparation of quotes and direct communication with client
  • Organize and facilitate the research activities. Analyse and draw results from research
  • Responsible for 90% of conceptualization
  • Art direction, including the creation of detailed styling mock-ups
  • Planning and execution of a qualitative testing protocol for usability testing

Promesso: Touch screen UI for an office coffee machine

Relevant keywords

Office appliances, UI design, Prototyping, Usability testing

Design goal

Development of the user interface for a new line of self service coffee machines. Personalization of your drink was to be a key factor for the user’s experience so several proofs of concept were developed to explore different possibilities.

Specific role & contribution

  • Assistance in planning the project’s approach
  • Organization of workshops with client and stakeholders
  • Assistance with the users & system analysis, and product requirements
  • Direct communication with client
  • Responsible for 50% of conceptualization activities
  • Responsible for interactive proofs of concept
  • Production of a mid-fi interactive prototype
  • Drafting of qualitative usability testing protocol

Nefit Easy: User interface design of a smart thermostat

Relevant keywords

Home appliances, smart home, touch thermostat, User interface design, GIO Award 2013

Design goal

As part of the latest trends of smart home appliances, Nefit commissioned VanBerlo with the design of their newest smart thermostat, the Nefit Easy. The project included the design of the user interface in terms of logic and styling.

Specific role & contribution

  • Direct communication with the client
  • Created the styling proposal for the UI in association with the industrial designer in charge of the hardware
  • Early prototypes of initial ideas
  • Conceptualization and final screen mock-ups

JFTOT: User interface design for industrial lab equipment

Relevant keywords

Laboratory instruments, User interface harmonization, GIO Award 2013, American Good Design Award 2013

Design goal

PAC commissioned VanBerlo with the task of performing a portfolio-wide harmonization of their user interfaces, based on the design and styling developed during a previous project. This harmonization was to be started with the design of JFTOT, the newest addition to their growing family of industrial lab equipment.

Specific role & contribution

  • Project planning and management, including preparation of quotes and direct communication with client
  • On-site visits and direct communication with developers
  • Initial analysis of the benefits of a UI harmonization
  • Conceptualization and wire-framing for JFTOT’s UI

Langen: Creating UI guidelines for industrial packaging machines

Relevant keywords

Industrial machinery, User interface guidelines, Packaging

Design goal

In an effort to bring together the user interface developments of both its European and American branches, Langen Group commissioned VanBerlo to develop a new set of harmonized UI guidelines for its products.

Specific role & contribution

  • Project planning and management, including preparation of quotes and direct communication with client
  • Organized on-site visits and workshops with the client for an in-depth analysis of the product
  • Responsible for all conceptualization and styling activities
  • Direct communication with developers and support during production phase

VIDA Density Meter: User interface design for industrial lab equipment

Relevant keywords

Laboratory instruments, user interface design

Design goal

A more user friendly interface was required as part of the latest version of the VIDA density meter, in order to support the less experienced users that PAC is targeting with the new design of the equipment.

Specific role & contribution

  • Project planning and management, including preparation of quotes and direct communication with client
  • On-site visits and direct communication with developers
  • Conceptualization and wire-framing
  • Overseeing of styling activities

TomTom: Internal structure and UI design for in-car navigation system

Relevant keywords

In-car navigation, Touch screen, Android, User interface, Flowcharts, Agile

Design goal

TomTom commissioned VanBerlo to assist in the design of their new android based in-car navigation system. The main focus was laid on defining the internal structure of the system and designing the destination selection and settings screens.

Specific role & contribution

  • Working on-site with TomTom software engineers as part of their Agile team
  • Definition of system structure and internal navigation
  • Conceptualization and wire-framing
  • Creation and styling of mock-up screens

Pontual: Design of an Amsterdam ferry-catching app

Relevant keywords

Android app, Cycling time, Ferry, Logo design, UI design, Interaction design

Design goal

Assist in the concept development and design the branding, interaction and user interface of an Android app that allows people in Amsterdam to know exactly when to leave a location in order to catch their ferry on time.

Specific role & contribution

  • Assist with concept development
  • Define interaction flow and initial wireframes
  • Design and implement a branding and styling proposal concept

I’ve still got it a bit :-D

I recently discovered the newest version of Sketchbook Pro (2010) and I have to say “oh my freaking god! this is the coolest sketching program ever!”. I absolutely LOVE the simplicity and elegance of the software’s interface and I’m also very grateful that they follow the KISS principle very nicely (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) without cluttering the program with a whole bunch of tools and features that you seldom use.

Just for kicks I made a few sketches to add to my portfolio (pretty sketches sell VERY well on an industrial design portfolio, even if that’s not what you want to focus on) and I was very positively surprised that I still have it a little bit in me to come up with decent results. So here are a few underneath… What do you think? would you hire me??? :-)

5 principles of service design thinking

I’ve been in contact with Marc Stickdorn ever since my MSc. graduation project, as he is an expert in service design. Well he is now working on a new book project along with some of his colleagues in which they will deal with basics, tools and service design cases.

The interesting part of it is that the project is getting the service design community involved as co-authors of the book so to speak, and as such the book is meant to be a reflection of what “the scene” thinks.

In order to get some feedback on the first sneak preview of a few pages from the introduction of the book called “5 principles of service design thinking“,  we at SusaGroup worked together with Marc and his colleagues in arranging a special Panoremo setup which could be used by service designers to give their feedback on the content and the layout of the upcoming book’s sneak preview pages.

If service design thinking is your thing, I suggest you drop by at to give Marc your own feedback.

TEN: 10 years of Design & Emotion (Workshop Part II)

TEN workshopA while back I wrote about the workshop organized by the Design & Emotion Society to celebrate their ten year anniversary, and I said I would make a second post explaining the rest of the workshop and the results… well, after finally making some time to sit down and go through it, here it is!

If you haven’t read the first part, I suggest you do so here, because that will make the coming lines much more clear to understand.

so, here it goes….