10 days, MFA
Sound, interaction and experience design
Group project together with: Zena Corda, Tim Schwarz & Lea Bachmann
Children are considered to be very carefree, but they also feel worries that can be stressful for them. For example if they had a fight with a friend or a change in the environment, like moving to a new city. Media and technology also often have a bad effect on kids. We wanted to help kids in those situations.
The best way to comfort a child is actually quite simple, it’s to spend time with them, listen to them and have daily routines. This gave us inspiration to design a concept that strengthens the relationship between parent and child and gives them a daily routine together.
We designed an experience where the parent gives full attention to the child and together create stories, using sounds in a relaxing way. We call the concept Sound Stories.
Sound Stories can be used as a trigger to create spontaneous and imaginative stories, which the parent and child can create together. It simplifies and improves the relaxing bedtime story telling for the child by giving the user inspiration of what the story can be about. Sound Stories provides the opportunity for the user to choose an environment, character, activity and object at the cubes for building a story. A story with sounds.
How can we create a moment of comfort and bonding between parent and child to cope with their daily worries, and to unwind at the end of the day?
Through our research we found out that nature sounds are the most relaxing sounds
The device consists of a dial with a built-in speaker and three cubes. The experience of Sound Stories is turned on by turning the dial, where the user can choose from a variety of ambient sounds which create the environment which the story is set in. The sound is played through the built-in speaker. Other elements, such as characters, objects or activities can be selected by placing cubes into the device while making up the story. When a cube is placed the sound of it starts to play in the background. As soon as the story time is over and it is bed time the parent can set a timer which makes all cube sounds fade out slowly. Only the environment ambient sound, which is inspired by nature, will continue while the child falls asleep.
The three key parts of sound stories
Daily ritual together
Parents use Sound Stories as an inspiration to create bedtime stories with their child. The cubes can also help the child to express feelings and to process the day.
A moment of importance
A moment where the child feels important and gets the opportunity to influence the story and build a world together with the parent.
An opportunity to relax
A clam experience where kids can relax to ambient nature sounds as they are about to sleep. The sounds reminds them for example of the story they just were told and gives them time to reflect and process the day.
How to make the sounds magical?
Interaction with sound stories
A longer click on the button turns on the product with a sound feedback. The sound is a three step rising jinder with an echo. Our aim was to make the sound feel magical, like to open a door to a magic world.
2.Setting an environment
Different environment sounds can be explored by rotating the wheel. The feedback is a light through the illustration of the chosen environment and the sound of it.
The sound from a cube starts when placing it in the board. When placing the cube or when touching it again after it’s placed the sound of the cube gets louder before it goes back to normal. A sound can be muted by placing the blank side of the cube in the board.
4.Setting the timer
When the story telling is finished and it’s time for the child to sleep the timer function can be used by clicking the button. The timer function fades out the sounds from the cubes after a while as the environment sound by itself is the most relaxing. After 30 minutes the product also turns off automatically.
We have tried to design Sound Stories as sustainable as possible with separable parts and a broad area of use to make the life of the product longer. It’s designed to fit both children and grown ups with a timeless and functional design.
Sound Stories is a concept that can grow with the child and be used for many years. The cubes can be changed to new, different ones and if the user for example doesn’t like stories anymore the product can be used as only a speaker, for listening to sounds when going to sleep etc.
Color material finish
The colors of Sound Stories are well explored. Through our research we found out that blue colors are the most calm, why we chose to use three, soft color tones from a blue scale on the cubes.
The product consists of one main board made of compostable plastic with a frosted glass on top of the rotation wheel , a wood piece and three cubes which also are made of compostable plastics. All materials can be separated which enables easy repair of a broken component.
Some children don’t want to sleep in their own bed
Children can have a hard time relaxing and cooling down
Media stress (kids get a smartphones earlier and earlier)
The child can experience another type of stress than what adults experience, which could be hard for the parents to notice
Parents can find it hard to know how to interact and talk with the child after a day without each other
Some parents doesn’t have the fantasy or energy to come up with their own stories
From the beginning of this project we only had the topic “Stress” which we directly changed to “Kids in stressful situations”. The first day of the project we explored this topic and what problem there are for kids, how they meet stress and what affects them. We sent out surveys to parents and did some interviews.
After that we could start brainstorming on solutions of the problems that we identified. This was where the ideation process started which was the biggest part of the project, and something we did together as a group. It took one week of ideation in different steps before we had the final concept and design.
1. The first stage of the ideation was a lot about brainstorming and defining the brief and what problems we wanted to solve.
2. All brainstorming sessions finally lead us to three different design directions, which we evaluated and did hours of user testing with.
3. After the user testing and comparing of the design ideas we took all good parts from each concept and created Sound Stories.
the crew behind sound stories
My role in the team
The first week we all worked together with the small research with interviews and surveys and the ideation process with brainstorming sessions, brief writing and decision makings. As well as with the concept ideas, mock-ups and user testing with evaluation
When the concept idea was clear, me and Tim continued with the design of the product. We did some sketches and tried out variations in CAD and Photoshop and presented them for the rest of the group to get their input before making our own design decisions
While Tim continued with the final CAD (based on our exploration and decisions), I created the product/operator sounds (on, off and timer) in the program Massive
The whole group was involved in the model making, working in shifts. Everyone helped with the sanding and to put all parts together in the end
Together with Lea, I choose the colors of the cubes and the product
I did all the color mixing and painting of the model by myself
Me and Lea made the editing and premiere work with the product movie of Sound Stories (where I’m also a character in the movie)
Together with Zena, I did both the concept presentation and final presentation
Sound design - how to make a sound board, create sounds, edit sounds and use Massive and Adobe Audition
Interaction design - by working together with two interaction designers I feel I have learned a lot from them about interaction design and also their way of working in a project
Experience design - how important sounds are in a product and how sounds influences the user experience with the product
To make a movie in Adobe Premiere and how to prepare for a movie shoot
I always learn a lot from working in a group as well, it fits me really good