euroGel 2006

On September 1, 2006 the first-ever euroGel will start in Copenhagen, Denmark. Short for “Good Experience Live”, Gel is a conference, and community, exploring good experience in all its forms — in business, art, society, technology, and life (link).

Who needs to design affective services?

Previous  posts on the Mobile Monday London group addressed the challenges that mobile operators face when they communicate  with their customers, and how the operators fail them. From the Posts it is  easy to notice how people addressed all the negative aspects to the mobile  provider, even when it wan not their responsibility.

Using  a mobile device often leads to attributing good values to the phone  manufacturer. But what happens if the use leads to bad experience? What if it  is difficult to hear well or something is wrong with the phone?

In  this case the blame would fall on the mobile operator. The reason for that is  that mobile operators usually connect their offering, the ability to talk from  almost anywhere, with the mobile device. Mobile  operators rarely enjoy the luxury of having their own tangible experience  connected to the main aspect of their offering. In rare cases, like in the  Vodafone simply, they can design a holistic user experience that can transcends  to the tangible experience and better relate to their users.

But  what if the company’s business is not in designing mobile devices?

What  if their business is all about intangible service? How  can they differentiate themselves then?

One  way they could take is to try and construct a successful relationship with  their customers.

By  designing a service that puts the focus on its emotional, as well as on its  functional aspects, companies would gain better brand recognition,  differentiation and loyalty.

Affective service, a service that addresses the customer’s emotional needs as well as the  functional needs, views both the customer and the company as elements of a  system which the product and the price are only parts of. Affective service  also addresses other touch points that customers interacts with, like the bill  statement or the sales rep, as points that impact the way that customers  perceive both the service itself and the company which provides that service.

Affective service encourages the creation of a relationship with the customer. As such it  aims, much like in real relationships, to sustain constant line of  communication between the different stakeholders of the system. This allows  early detection of friction points during the time the service is  provided, not only after customers decided to leave. This can be done by  creating touch points that periodically give companies feedback on the customer  satisfaction level, and give customers information about opportunities they  could benefit from.

Affective service looks at the way the needs of the stakeholders are met. Getting  paid for a service (company’s need) is a legitimate request. The way that it is  carried out can make or brake relationships.

Affective service offers the best service but also something more. Looking at the  functional side is important but it is not the only thing. Beyond functionality  comes the way that the service makes customers feel.

Affective service is proactive. It takes the initiative and offers customers real value  that extends beyond the product’s scope. Reward programs, like the one that  Mark Curtis wrote of, are one example for a proactive initiative that enforces  this relationship. As companies know more of their customers’ preferences they  could design these initiatives that meet different types of users.

Affective service looks at customers as beneficial members of the system. It involves  users in the service design and looks for ways that improves users’ interaction  and feelings about the service.

Designing  affective service is a challenge but also an opportunity to create a  meaningful relationship with their customers.   This relationship is something that companies can only benefit from and  customers are looking forward to.

For  professionals that work in this field, this can be an opportunity to think how affective service relate to their business and maybe even send their insights.

Did you find your Boda-Boda?

In Cultures of Repair, Innovation, Jan Chipchase takes the reader to Delhi, Ho Chi Minh and other emerging markets cities and brings insights from recent field studies of local repair cultures. boda_boda22.jpgRelaying on their ingenuity, Informal social networks and the abundances of phones, repairers can sell or fix phones at low prices. As Jan Chipchase points out, these informal repair services are driven by necessity, as customers simply cannot afford to go to official repair service but consider them as an essential tool for their business. The Boda-boda (border-to-border) driver that Jan Chipchase brings as an example for such a customer is another interesting case for innovation driven by necessity.  The Boda-boda is bicycle driven taxi in South Africa. In the 1960s, the Boda-boda originated from the need to transport people across the “no-manâ„¢s-land” between the border posts without the paperwork involved with using motor vehicles crossing the international border(link). It is estimated that more than 200,000 men in Uganda were working as Boda-boda drivers, in 2004. boda_boda1.jpgIn many senses, computer applications may presents obstacles just like any no-manâ„¢s land. When people will attempt to complete tasks in an enjoyably way, they may encounter obstacles, distractions, misleading signs and dead ends. Some times, they may even find that some of their needs are not met at all. To overcome such barriers, people relay on their resourcefulness, their experience and on others to guide them through. Affordance, coined by James J. Gibson in 1966, refers to the property of an object that indicates how to interface with that object. By focusing on the Perceived Affordance, Donald Norman pointed out the peopleâ„¢s perspective in the interaction equation, making it a subjective model. It is important to look at peopleâ„¢s needs, desires, capabilities and constraints, as well as the properties that the object introduces. learning how people “ object relationship works and what are the flews in it, elevates the design scope and produces designs that is considers the context it is intended for. Exploring such relationships brings people closer to the design process, not only as research target but also as an active part in the design process. Using their experience, individuals understand at first hand the barriers they are facing and devise novel ways to overcome them. Emoticons are an example for such innovation driven by individualâ„¢s necessity. Emoticons are characters used on non-verbal communication to expend individualsâ„¢ expression capabilities, to define their social affiliation and express their uniqueness. Due to the lack of pitch, volume, and intonation of speech in non-verbal communication, emoticons are used to bridge that gap and extend the way people express themselves. As non-verbal communication became more popular in bulletin boards, e-mail, instant messaging, online chat, and Internet forums, the need for a solution such as the emoticons became apparent. smilyThe first emoticon appeared in 1979, when Kevin Mackenzie suggested the joke-marker -) on a message board. In 1982, Scott Fahlman suggested that “:-)” and “:-(” should express emotions.  Later on, many more symbols were added later on to this Paralanguage. :-] would express polite smile, XD expressed childish laugh and so on. Their popularity became evident to software companies that designed internet messaging software and internet forums.  Msn, AOL, Yahoo and other Instant messaging applications translated text based emoticons to graphical languages for some of the common symbols ( :-), 🙁 …). Motivated by their will to please their users, these companies started offering additional expression means such as shared background control, expressing emotions through sound and additional features. Looking how individuals come up with innovative solutions is a common practice in participatory design (PD) methodologies. Originated in Scandinavia in 1960s, PD aimed to involve the end users in the design process. PD aim was to ensure that the product meets the userâ„¢s needs, desires and expectations. In PD workshops, individuals took part in an early stage of the design process, suggest ideas and identify problems. Tom Erickson of Apple Computer suggested in1994 four dimensions of participatory design:

  1. Directness of interaction with the designers
  2. Length of involvement in the design process
  3. Scope of participation in the overall system being designed
  4. Degree of control over the design decisions

These dimensions also indicate the PD limitations. Individuals that are external to the design process have limited influence on the design process and eventually the design result. Observing how individuals improve products at their own surroundings can generate insights based on users needs in their context. This is the work of design anthropologists such as Anne Kirah from Microsoft or Jan Chipchase from Nokia. Using their capabilities to observe how individuals use the products, improve them and encounter barriers should produce authentic feedback crucial to design. When the first Boda-boda driver designed his bicycles, he did not think about the design process. On his mind was the need for survival in the harsh environment. He overcame the barrier using a simple device and altering it enough so he could offer a new service. When people used textual symbols in a non-verbal communication they did it due to the absence of a solution in the application they where using. Learning from them allowed the enhancement of the existing communication applications.  Learning from users after the product launch there is as important design tool as learning about their needs in the initial stages of the design.

Do you have an opinion?

Do you have an opinion?
Sharing Ideas with strangers
Key words : Service design, Physical prototyping, screen prototyping,
Skills used: flash prototyping, user research, interaction design

The concept is to place digital whiteboards in interaction design institutes such as IDII, RCA, ITP, MIT and others. Located in high traffic areas in institutes, the digital bulletin board will serve the local users to express user’s ideas. Their ideas will be displayed in all the remote locations, which will enable individual exposure.
All users can place information bits on the board as long as they are close to it physically. This could mean liberation from social, geographical and financial limitation. As long as the user’s ideas are remarkable, people will pay attention to them. It’s not about being a status, budget, or appearance.

Contacting with unapproachable peers, constructing multidisciplinary discussions and provoking thoughts are few of the system benefits to the users as well as to the institutes.

Faculty, students and researches share information as part of their normal work process. Coffee talks, meetings, calling over the phone or cell, send mail to their peers are common methods to express options. Writing comments on paper, using post its walls in brain storming process, handing posters on walls and exhibiting their work in public are few of the methods they use to display their thoughts and receive feedback. On line digital tools are used frequently both to retrieve information and to post it. Vortals and portals, web zines, dedicated weblogs and forums are used to search for information and to post problems online. Users can post opinions and ideas on news groups and mailing lists. Recently even messenger’s identity has been used to publics a mood, event or requests. Other set of digital tools used in local shared spaces are the digital whiteboards, projectors, plasma screens and touch screens.

The communication methods can be segmented according to several qualities. A method can have a direction, domain, duration, visibility and complexity.

The information can be channeled in one direction or can have interaction with the recipient. The tool can be used in the digital Domain, the physical domain or both. Information bit have duration period, which relates to its appearance time. Information bit can be visible in a private or a public domain. Each tool allows different level of complexity in the displayed info bit.

bulletin board @ IDII

Experience prototype
Interacting directly with bulletin board is a unique experience. Related domains are art of graffiti – the rebellious act of placing ones thoughts on other people property and the white board, which is used as a tool that enables users to display ideas to their peers.

The prototype was designed to check how users use a bulletin board in real life. I have placed a bulletin board in a high traffic place – near the coffee machine. In order to provoke their attention and start a conversation I placed a controversial question on top of the board. The question was misspelled and used terms in a way that raised questions about its meaning. Two markers were hanging on and near the board and the board was monitored for a week.
After the first week I have placed new sheets and provoking article, for additional analysis.

After one week the board was covered with writings. People were writing about the sentence, about the syntax and misspelling and about other people comments. Some even placed items on the board. Using markers with different colors people.

Time navigation

The Public Digital Bulletin Board was designed to show users thoughts and stimuli for participation. It was composed of a large projected screen, touch pad that can respond to finger writing, and digital pen writing, a blue tooth connector, a printer and a web cam. The UI was divided to camera display area and information area.
Users could read articles and other people comments and respond with handwriting,
on the board. Their writing was associated with article they were commenting
about, time of the writing and place. If the anted to add digital information
they could approach with a blue tooth enabled device, connect and add their ideas.
As each information bit was labeled according to date relevance and place, users
can return, look at their comments and see if some one replayed to their thoughts,
and print the screen/ article if needed.

Time navigation
As each day pass, the information item disappear and becomes smaller. This provides room for new thoughts to be displayed. In addition, this action stimulates users to check the new items.
Users can use the bottom slider to navigate by time. They can go back day by day and increase the number of days to b displayed. A user can go back and look at information items that were presented for the duration of three days. This navigation is done by touch. The search display is temporary and local, which means that only the searching user see his requested. This is done in order to keep users privacy.

The camera display shows the different activity in the remote location. Its main goal is to attract people to participate and interact. In order to keep users privacy the displayed image is blurry and details cannot be identified. The software does not record the captured image.

Prototype Movie


Intel web site
Designing for the on line community
Key words : web design , multimedia, content creation, information architecture
Skills used: graphic design, Flash web interfaces, Illustration, Game design
Intel Israel’s web site is a vibrant, content rich and constantly changing place.

The site reflects Intel’s view that the company is a part of the community and should show its commitment to it.

The site provides information about computers and computing in ways that help its readers to understand the technology better and to be able to decide on the best solution for their needs.

It presents various issues, for various target readers: latest products and technologies, home computing, future plans, career opportunities, education and more.
A team was set up to build the site and to make sure it will remain exciting, interesting and updated for its visitors.
During the five years I was the site’s creative director, active member of the concept team and head of interactive programs, we tried to come up with innovative and exciting methods and means that would help people and technology to get closer.

The Education Center

Intel Israel’s web activities had a unique agenda: Promoting technology education.
Ever since the personal computer was invented in the late 1970s, there have been concerns about inequities in access to this new technology, while increasingly; technological fluency has become a prerequisite for getting jobs and participating meaningfully in our society. This is a problem that Israel, as an immigration country, which is socially, culturally, economically and technologically diverse, has to face.
Trying to contribute their share to solving the digital divide problem, Intel has set up and funded three “Computer Club-houses”, an afternoon activity for inner city children, which its goal was to enable participants to learn to express themselves fluently with new technology.
Another way to approach this problem was to establish the Education and Technology center as part of Intel’s web site

The users
We defined two groups of users to this site

  • Children aged 10-16
  • The educators of those children

Each group was approached separately and has a dedicated section in the site.

The Children’s site: Intel Yeda
Our aim with the children’s site was to educate them (Yeda means Knowledge) about technology and its uses and benefits, by turning it into a source for fun and interest – A notion we wanted the children to preserve when growing up, and hopefully become active participants in the technology arena (And not intimidated consumers).
We designed the activities to fit both work in the classroom and in their homes.

The solution: Gaming zone
The way to approach children was by creating a stimulating and fun environment, when the educational content is interwoven with games and activities that make the experience enjoyable and worth repeating.
We looked at the site as a new and improved sand box, where children develop their skills, while busy playing.We filled the site with versified content: Contests, Trivia games, technological oriented mini sites and more.
We were competing on the children’s attention against TV, friends and other computer games.
We knew we had to come up with really good ideas if we want to win.

The Educators’ site: Innovation in education
The activities on the children’s site were backed up by an education portal dedicated for educators’ needs.
We knew that not all educators are proficient technologists, and that some of them may even be intimidated by it.
We had to find the way to reach the educators in order to get to the children.
We set goals for the development of the educators’ site:

  1. We wanted the educators to understand the importance of technological education
  2. We wanted to enrich the educators in technology related issues, and to supply them with project ideas and methods for working on those projects with the children, in the classroom.
  3. We wanted the educators to have tools to expand their understanding of technology and the possibilities it holds for education.
  4. Many educators connect from home, with low bandwidth modems, so the site has to be as quick to download as possible.

The solution: Virtual newspaper
The site was built as a newspaper and contained articles that explained technological terms in plain language, essays that dealt with education and technology issues, Class curriculums for different projects and activities, teaching aids and more.
Simplicity, friendliness and familiarity were the key concepts for the site.
To make the site accessible to wide range of users it had to be easy to use and navigate, the information had to be displayed in a clear, appealing manner and visual queues were widely used.
We gave the site a professional, clean look which implied that:

  1. We are serious in our concern about education
  2. We take you, educators, seriously
  3. We are focused on the content
The entrance screen was divided to three areas:

  1. The global header that contains links to other parts of Intel’s site
  2. The “Innovation in education”site content navigator that contains links to the site’s different sections and enables direct access to their content
  3. The main information area, which is a dynamically changing content area-the newspaper’s front page. It contains Intel’s “innovation in education” vision statement, links to recent projects and articles and highlighted topics of interest.

The articles

All articles in the site had to answer to the following criteria:

  1. Use simple, non-buzz wordy language. Explain everything.
  2. Make each page as light as possible, use Imagery only when necessary: bandwidth is low and time is short

The articles presented here demonstrate the intentional simplicity of the design.

Other topics discussed in articles: computer usage in class, how to build a web site (from goals definitions to hosting and promotion) and more.

Sample projects:
Here are some examples for projects displayed in Intel Israel’s web site:

Century of computing
This interactive product contains a comprehensive guide to a century of computing – “From the slide rule to Pentium 4”.
This product presents computing related artifacts which influenced the field for the past century. Objects like slide rule, diskettes or the Galena Crystal Detector- semiconductor first application.

The exhibits are divided to five main topics: calculation, processing, memory, storage and silicon, and displayed in chronological order.
Each topic starts with an introduction and then enables further exploration by browsing through the last century’s great inventions and innovations, and presents visual and textual information about each exhibit.
We enabled downloads of this product for use as a teaching aid in the classroom or as an exciting fact book for curious souls.
The Product was translated to English and displayed in’s main web site.

“The time tunnel” – Technological developments
This is an interactive module we developed as a supplement to the “Century of computing”. It enabled a comparison between global and Israeli technological developments, in the past 30 years.
As a local web site, and because Israel is the only R&D center Intel has outside the US, it was important for us to show that many of the significant developments were done here (and by this imply to the kids that they have the power to invent and innovate if they want to).
We designed separate arenas in which the user can compare developments in a specified time range.
To make the comparison, the user first chooses a date and then can view the technological developments in the world on the screen’s left side, and the developments which occurred in Israel on the right side.
The user can navigate between the different inventions in a certain era by clicking on the exhibit buttons.

Virtual tour at the clean room
The clean room is the place where computer processors are being manufactured.
Almost no one is allowed to enter and watch this process, which is Intel’s core activity.
This sterile environment with its futuristic Sci-Fi look (white illumination, robots on the ceiling and on the manufacturing floor, people wearing special “bunny suits”, constant hum of the air filtering system) was about to be exposed to the public eye.
Being a success, has chosen to display this project in its main web site.
We wanted to show people what this place looks like, unveil some of the mystery which surrounds it, make them curious about it, and connect it to their world.
We went to Intel’s “Kiryat-Gat” Factory and prepared a virtual tour in the “Clean room” (using Quick Time VR technology).
We presented hi definition panoramic view of the insides of the production zone. The user could zoom in and out and turn the image 360 degrees, explore the clean room and obtain some understanding as to how things work. This was never done before.
To create an entertaining gaming experience we used strong colors, cartoon like styling, motion and humor.
We kept interaction method simple – to adjust to children’s abilities.
Our users faced “Teli”, the brainy humoristic talk show host for three rounds on the ring of knowledge.
Questions regarding the evolution of technology and computers were presented and our users had to come up with the right answerer’s or to face “Teli’s” witty tongue.
We collected all the quiz results and held a raffle amongst the smartest users.
Special project: Odyssey
The Odessey project is a huge repository of examples for ways to use technology in the classroom.
Project samples were collected from all over the world and brought together in an indexed form, in order to serve as a source of inspiration for educators worldwide, as how to use technology in their classroom in creative ways.
The Odyssey’s mini site included an Indexed archive and educators’ stories and testimonials regarding the success of these kind of projects. Educators were also encouraged to contribute new projects and ideas to the Odyssey archive.
Intel’s "looking differently at education" presentation
As a promotional activity for the “Innovation in education” site we created this presentation which was displayed in educational conferences and sent to key individuals.

It presented the site’s highlights and served as a teaser for educators to visit the site.

Viewing the presentation demanded the viewers to wear special glasses, which gave a stunning 3D effect that emphasized the concept that Intel has a different and advanced view regarding educational issues.
The viewers could link directly to the site from the presentation.


Visa web site

Designing for the on line community
Key words :web design , multimedia, on-Line branding, information architecture
Skills used: graphic design, flash web interfaces, illustration,


In 2001, CAL- one of the biggest Israeli credit cards companies (issuer of VISA, Diners and MasterCard) – was about to change its brand entirely.A new law allowing all credit card companies to issue all credit cards, has turned this market segment upside down, and caused many changes that these companies had to face.The brand change was part of a strategic plan that meant to keep the loyalty of CAL’s existing customers, while acquiring new potential clients.

The New brand

  • Enriching the individual’s possibilities
  • Smart choice
  • Credible and accurate
  • Enables the “good life”
  • No limits!

Shifting online

To create the online brand we outlined the company’s goals and expectations from its online activity, defined the site’s users and their needs, used the new brand’s definition and built CAL’s online presence accordingly.Company’s goals:

  • Position the company as a credible financial institute
  • Expose CAL’s new brand
  • Attract new customers
  • Expand the brand experience to the web
  • Create emotional link to the brand (the company)
  • Provide a local alternative to the international brand

Potential users

  • CAL credit card owners (looking for ways to monitor their activities, learn about benefits they can get from the company, looking for information)
  • Competitors’ credit card owners (Looking for information, comparing CAL to their current company)
  • Users range in their computer literacy levels (from computer savvy to novice users)

Our solution


We designed the CAL website as a meta-site that contained 4 components:
Main CAL’s website This corporate site provided the user support in this brand change. The user could read about the change, benefits and instructions for farther action. It also contained messages which increased the user’s reassurance on the brand and tried to convey the promise embodied in the new brand.

Credit card sites (Visa, Diners, MasterCard) Cal’s sub brands provided unique attributes in their content. Their look and feel was changed and redesigned to look as part of cal, with minor color changes. Each brand provided different information and offers which suited its audiences and values. Visa approached the family in general, and aimed to expand and change the family life style by offering wider financial capabilities. Diners aimed to the 40+ year old community, and offered entrance for “members only” leisure club. MasterCard dealt with the practical values of the card and daily activities such as shopping and bill payments. The differentiation remained mostly by context. Our image selection fro each brand tried to unify and bring them all towards Cal’s identity.Monetary tools and services where the users can perform actions in their account, supplying current customers with meaningful and useful ways to handle their monetary issues, and assessing the company’s credibility. These services included “Safe cal” software, “Cal Direct”, Personal status monitor etc.Promotional and Proactive features that would enhance and strengthen the link between the company and its customers. These features include: newsletters, presentations, downloadable screen savers and more


The visual guidelines we set conveyed the “No limits” and “Enriching the individual” concepts. A unique approach to the corporate portal was created to reflect the uniqueness of the company.The screen was treated as a limitless space, without definite borders, where navigational and content elements are juxtaposed on its surface, creating various compositions, which implied on the extensive opportunities the customer has when using CAL’s credit cards.
To emphasize the brand’s message we based the design on modular shapes (mainly rectangles) that would enable us to keep a flexible yet recognizable structure, without using a constant grid. The dynamic compositions were assembled from asymmetric elements and colored with energetic palette. The forms were floating on the white space, detached from the browser borders.The rectangles were chosen for their multi-purpose shape, and because they comprise CAL’s new logo.The message was that no rules apply when using CAL. Each person can shape their own world according to their needs and desires.

Quick tour around the site

Brand enhancer’s

Enhance trust: use “real world” insignia to support online credibility.
All the home pages contained Cal’s brands stamp to assure the user that there’s real, respected company behind this site.

Teasers and promotions:

We have supplied Cal‘s site with a section where they could announce important marketing information
  • As dynamic graphic teasers for the main promotion event
  • As a textual form, revolving upwards for the rest.

Promotional banners, both in flash and other technologies, were added through out the site.

Cal’s navigational system


Putting method to the madness, we devised the goal-oriented navigation system, which remained consistent all over the site.

This system included the top bar , side bar and icons (which used the square element from the logo).

The top bar – Global site navigator
The top bar is used for general tasks and navigating between the different brand’s mini sites – which was not a common task. Its secondary use was to remind the user of the brand’s presence and retain their trust in the brand.The side bar – Activities menu
The side bar is the actions bar. It contained each brand’s marketing and promotional information as well as Cal’s “Online services” section.The side bar slides down and opens to present the relevant links, every time the user chooses a category.Cal’s “Online services” is the marketing tool for promoting the different online programs (such as credit payment, credit reports), and is frequently used to view new and upcoming campaigns.From “Cal on line” the user can also enter directly to online services.

Example of an inner page

The inner content pages maintained the same look & feel and the rectangles/ No boundaries motive continued.

Cal’s Sub brands

A separate web site was created for each card type, assuring that each customer can find his or hers private place within the site.

Each brand had its unique attributes within the general brand. That was clearly shown at the proportions between the Cal and its sub brands logos as well as using components that were identical all over the site.

Each brand had its own teasers and information section.

Visa’s site

Visa’s was the most important of the sub brands’ sites.It had additional sales and marketing tools as well as various content areas,which were aiming to support the brand shift.Visa’s imagery leading motives were “dynamism” and “border crossing”, conveying the notion that Visa is everywhere, and is constantly on the move, to adjust to the user’s changing needs.

MasterCard’s site

This site’s aim was to introduce MasterCard to new users. We tried to deliver the message that MasterCard’s users are winners, and with the help of their credit card they can achieve any goal they set to themselves

Diner’s home page

Dinners had to provide reassurance to its users with excessive trust areas as well as promotional teasers.As a “high class” credit card, Diners strategy was to display the good life and promise a better, relaxed and luxurious future for its holders.

Online Services

Cal online services had two purposes:

  • One was to encourage card owners to join the extra net and to enjoy online services.
  • The other was to provide educational information on the different services.

The page was divided to introduction (1), which listed available benefits, gentle emotional promotional clip area (3) and highlighted “join us” zone followed by program details (2).

From “Cal on line” the user could also enter directly to online services. Here are some examples of online services:

SafeCal software

This software’s goal was to encourage Credit card holders to expand their e commerce activities (which will increase Cal’s revenue).

The software provided unique number to each e commerce transaction and by that solved the problem of providing real credit card number in e commerce transactions and protected the card holders.Our design was highly functional and customer-oriented. The concept was to resemble credit card in its look, and thus imply on the application’s functionality.The application’s appearance took after the look & feel of CAL’s credit card.The use was easy and intuitive, the application freed the users from the fear of being cheated.Trade rates increased, and CAL was able to give service that assess its credibility.

Personal status Monitor

This tool enables the users to control their financial status via the Internet.As another aspect of Freedom is control over one’s actions, the users were able to view their Credit card status online, audit their bills, and perform changes in their future debits.

Cal Direct: A money transfer application

Another important aspect of freedom (with regarding to money) is the ability to spend it at will. The next service we designed was a money transfer application called CAL Direct .

This program enabled the user to transfer cash from one credit card to another credit card!

Promotional tools

We supplied CAL with numerous promotional tools in order to market itself better to the online users’ community.


Creating a sense of community and nourishing the feeling that CAL cares about their customers, led us to the creation of this monthly newsletter.

Our goal was to promote new programs and ideas to Cal’s customers, while assessing CAL’s brand.

We designed a clean and light look and feel, consistent with the site’s look & feel, and delivered the feeling of excitement.

Here are few examples:


Promoting the use of Cal’s tools was not limited to the web. Targeted presentations were created and published to specific market segments, offering customized services.

An example of that was the “Business card” presentation, sent to CFO’s around the country, displaying the benefits of its use in a sharp and straightforward attitude.


Corporate screen savers

These screen savers were created as part of the process of implementing the new brand within the company’s employees.It’s content reflected the brand’s main messages.

Peek A Boo

Peek A Boo
surveillance use in intimate environment
Key words : Physical prototyping, screen prototyping, critical design,
Skills used: Physical computing, Flash prototyping, electronics,

Peek A Boo Prototype
Screen shoot of the parent view

Baby’s crib at the exhibition at Sandretto Museum,
Turin, 2004
Baby’s view

In 2004, Peek A Boo, Done In IDII with Collaboration with Hitachi , touched many issues that this project does.

The researches Erez Kikin-Gil and Oznur Ozkurt asked addressed in their research the thorny issue of the use of surveillance in the home environment, and explored the implications of pervasive technology on parent-baby relationships

The team designed a system composed of a web cam, speakers, a microphone, and motorized toy, all connected it to a web service that allows remote access and control over the different elements, including the motorized toys. This way, the system allowed parents not only to watch over their loved ones while they are remote, but also to “play” with them.

Imagine Francesca, a single parent, and her relationships with her infant child, Bruno.

Francesca works as a consultant, a job that pays her bills but keeps her at work or away from home for long hours. As she leaves for work each morning, she gazes at Bruno’s face and promises to come back soon. Unfortunately, too many times, has she looked at her watch and understood that it would be yet another endless day, where she would have to break her promise again. It was no surprise that she found “Peek-A-Boo” to her liking. “Be at home while at work”, the adverts said. She looked down at the brochure, and read aloud the slogan above the telephone number: “Don’t miss your son’s smile ever again”. She had the company technicians install the system the next day and she hoped it would work properly.

The following day, she got into her office and logged in to her “Peek-A-Boo” account. The first thing the system displays is a photo. Bruno’s face was glancing through the screen. Francesca took the microphone and started talking to Bruno. She could see him looking around the room, searching for her. He was reaching his hands anxiously towards the speakers as she contained talking. Understanding that he could not find his mom, Bruno started to cry. Francesca stopped talking and pressed the music activation. She could hear the music coming from Bruno’s room. Francesca moved the mouse towered the virtual joystick and started to play with Bruno’s mobile. As he calmed down and a big smile lit up his face, Francesca relaxed. Maybe it is not such a bad solution after all, she thought.

Will the ability to be always on and never alone deprive us from being together for real?

Will mediated connectedness convert life experiences in to superficial abundance?

This work was exhibited at the Sandretto Museum,
Turin, 2004

This work was done with the help of Hitachi , and IDII.


  • Faculty Lead: Walter Aprile
  • Design lead: Dave Slocombe & Natasha Sopieva
  • Prototyping advisor: Yaniv Steiner

Hitachi Design Center:

  • Peter Hohmann, design director
  • Mr. J. Watanabe, Hitachi Human Interaction Laboratory, Tokyo
  • Mr. Hoshino, Hitachi Human Interaction Laboratory, Tokyo
  • Sergio Paolantonio, interaction designer HHIL

Done with InstantSOUP and Wiring


The Link

Regain control of your social life, even when you are sick.
Key words : Service design, Physical prototyping, screen prototyping, children, play, health
Skills used: Physical prototyping, flash prototyping, user research, interaction design
Team members: Thomas Stovicek, Erez kikin-Gil

The Link overview
The Link is a service designed to allow sick children to cope with the change in their social networks.

Our preliminary questions were:
• How can we help kids deal with long term illnesses?
• How can we improve the quality of life?
• What could be done to improve a child’s day-to-day health?
• can we connect them better to surrounding communities (kids, doctors, caregivers, friends and school)?
• Are there other things they can benefit from, are there other things that could be improved?

With long-term illness, a child life change in many ways. Often the child’s social circle is severely altered; parents become mediators to the rest of the world, caregivers move more closer, and peers may be pushed away. Being sick assigns the child a different identity and places them within an unfamiliar community.
The goal of this service is to reduce isolation, assist communication and provide activities for the children and their social circle.

This service does that by allowing sick children to easily connect, communicate, share activities and play with their social networks.



We created two demos for our solution, one to demonstrate the invitation feature and the other to demonstrate the enhanced network game play. The demos were created in the form of task walk through. They demonstrate how the UIs of the various components are used together during a task.For this walk-through, we created screens and architectures for portions of the cell phone interface and PC application interface.

The invitation demo shows how sick children can create an invitation to the game. Surrounding this task, we added features and value that make it easier for the children to send messages for each other, and to create some hype around the game event to help entice kids into the activity.





Igloo: Portable Intimate Space

Multi-Player Game Experience

Remote Control Game

Remote Control experience prototype

Enhanced Networked Games

Enhanced Networked Games

Design explorations

Based on the research insight, we created few experience prototypes, which gain us with better understandings.

Igloo: Portable Intimate Space
How can Long-term ill kids negotiate with moving to hospitals? How can we help them keep their sense of privacy, of independency, of home? What will happed when they will be able to "invite their friends” in a virtual way?
In order to investigate those questions we have build the "IGLOO", a privet movable intimate space, which contained a demo of conference abilities. Our users entered that space and talked about their experiences, feelings and recollections.

The secluded space and ability to connect to the remote friends seed attractive to most people. it seems that the challenges with this solution would be the logistics at the hospitals.

Multi-Player Game Experience in the same room
In this user test, we wanted to observe friends playing network games. We wanted to see how their experience is being change by the near presence of their peers. We compared this situation with another networked game which each player is playing in separate room.

We saw that there was a lot of communication outside of the game, both visual and auditory. Head gestures, body language and vocal communication enhanced the group interaction.
In the separated games, we noticed a much more isolated experience, which concentrated in achievements on the game rather then collaboration with the group.
We observed that group bonding was enhance through communication and bonding with piers.

Remote Control Game
Aiming to explore how will a remote child participate in a remote physical game. We had a child in another room remotely controlling an actor and playing a game against another child.
The game was still fun for the parties involved but because there was no direct communication, there was not much interaction between the players.

The remote users experience can is a challenge both in the way the remote location is presented for him as well as his identity will be manifested at the remote arena. The remote user experience can be changed by the type of the game and will be enhanced in a group activity rather then in a one to one game.

Enhanced Networked Games
Our goal was to enhance the networked game as an activity which would promote group interaction. We gathered four kids, a network game, computers with web cams and microphones. We set each kid in a separate room, enabling them to talk, to see and to hear their peers during play.

We wanted to see how well kids communicate, interact and play at the online public arena, how strong is their will to belong to a group or will they play by themselves?

Kids react to communication devices in a natural way.
Group play is a potent force to kids.
Acknowledgment by the group can be strong motive.


Tony, Family doctor, Ivrea – illnesses are a part of life. It is important for the child to learn they can get sick, but the body can fix its self.

Research insights

Our preliminary research, which was composed of mediated research, as well as interviews with doctors, parents and experts, provided us with several insights.

Children are people too
Many processes and practitioners in the health care industry do not treat children as people with specific needs. Often, practitioners will talk down to them, simplifying issues. Children need to be given appropriate information, so they can assume responsibility for their life. Children need to have solution designed to their needs and desires, while understanding that they have a great capacity for understanding information.

Sick is a part of life
Being sick is a natural part of life. Everyone gets sick, and our body was designed to combat day-to-day illness. Fever, cough and vomiting are all mechanisms the body has for us to recover from benign illnesses. Treating illnesses as a part of life, not making a child an outcast and being calm about this issue makes the recovery and treatment better for everyone.

Change of a social network
Around the child is always a social network. Obviously it depends on the child’s age, lifestyle etc. but it exists. People in this social network can include parents, family, friends, siblings and more. The people in these networks also have personal issues to deal with both related to the Ego and not related to the Ego, or indirectly attributed to the Ego. Unfortunately, sometimes alters fall out of the ego’s social network.  

A new community is formed
Being sick places the person into a new community. From the healthcare workers, to other children around, a new social network is formed. This can often times be a positive thing (especially in the case of long term illnesses, diseases and disabilities) as support among peers can be more valuable then other resources because they can relate more directly to the child.

The Hospital is designed for Illnesses
Hospitals approach treatments from the point of view of the illness. They place machine and patient in a clinical environment trying to combat illnesses and diseases. While hospitals make provisions for a few amenities like visitations, in general they do not nicely accommodate the patients (they are starting to).
Hospitals, especially hospital staff, are very reluctant to incorporate new unfamiliar system that they are not comfortable with. As a result, it is left up to foundation and non-profit organization to try to address some of the more psychosocial needs of the patients.
Much of the equipment was designed for the medical community "with a 50’s aesthetic". Children often find these things boring, or cannot relate to them.

A New Identity
For more serious illnesses or medical issues, the child may follow changes that lead them to a new identity. Children must learn to cope with this new identity in a positive manner so that they do not feel like a victim. Children must learn to deal with a possible lifestyle change as well. Learning about how to talk about it with peers is an important step.

Back to School
Children that have gone through a long-term Post-Illness situation have to read just to life back at school, but often it is not the same as it was. Regain one identity and not acting like a victim are very important in a return to one’s social circle. Peers will also have difficulty in adjusting to one’s return; they may be shy or want to ask questions.

A New Mediator Is Created
When a child becomes sick, his family becomes a mediator between him and his social networks. Family members would organize visitation and manage connections to school.

It’s Family Problem
Parents have day-to-day tasks that they must perform in order to provide for their family. When children are sick, this can interrupt the normal schedule. For longer-term illnesses, a permanent change will probably occur in their lifestyle. Changes could include modified work hours, attention to siblings and organization between family members. These changes can cause many anxieties within a family.