Building a ‘Local’ Playground

This project was a collaborative design and build project between The Design School @ Arizona State University and The Boys and Girls Club of Round Valley Arizona.

The project began with… winds up to 80 mph in Eagar, AZ it’s no wonder the playground equipment at the local Boys and Girls Club took flight and landed in a nearby field! The kids at the club worked together to figure out how to get the equipment back, but by the time they did, it wasn’t safe to play on anymore. When Collin Smith, a product design professor at ASU, heard about this he set out to collaborate with the kids and community to build a new playspace. To do this he knew the best path would be to bring in his students from ASU to collaborate with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club to create something sustainable, safe, educational, and fun!

The ASU student interns spent 8 weeks of the summer researching, designing, and fabricating a custom playground made mostly from locally sourced lumber from the White Mountains of Arizona. More details of the process and outcomes of this project will come soon, but for now here are a couple of articles that were written about the project:

KJZZ The Show


Interactive Community

This project was a joint effort between Interior Architecture and Industrial Design students in collaboration with Scottsdale Arts, and Tonalea primary school to design and built interactive installations for the Canal Convergence public art event.

For 10 days over 200 thousand people visited and played with these projects. The students created over 20 interactive installations for visitors to interact with and learn on the theme of ‘impact of water on community’.

This was a unique educational experience for the industrial design students. They got to play with electronics and simple interactions. For the first time they had to put their project into the wild and let people play with them. The students got to see the raw reactions of people as they interacted with their project. Additionally, so many lessons were learned about construction for durability and safety. Many hearts were broken when students arrived the next day to see their project destroyed.

Despite all the challenges this project presented I would love to do it again to provide this unique learning experience to another group of students.

180 local primary school students were involved as inspiration for the project. We visited their school to learn about what community means to them through interactive co-creation games. They also visited ASU campus to see what it like to go to college. Our intention was to help lower the barriers of entry, making it psychologically easier to want to go to college.

Experience prototypes were a large component of this studio to help the students determine the correct inputs and responses for their designed interactions. Many of students learned basic programming or solicited the help of engineering students to help them figure out some of the details.

All involved participated in collaborative site planning to determine project location and traffic flow. This project required an incredible amount of negotiation and team work to determine the most ideal experience for the people attending the event.

On one of the busiest nights of the Canal Convergence event, we gathered several folks from industry to provide critical feedback on each project. Mike Rios from Two Bit Circus. James Hill from Neudesic. JD Winters from JPro Studios. They discussed in detail the interactions, story, craft, construction, materials, and lessons learned.

The students wrapped this project up by spending two weeks documenting their process and overall experience creating portfolio pieces and process books as a means of reflection.

Mapping the Reinsurance Process

In this project we sought to understand and improve the user experience for claims adjusters, processors, and managers. We utilized process maps to help describe the current user experience and flow of information, as well as to show opportunities for improvement within the system. I worked as part of a four person team at Insitum, an international innovation consulting firm. We also had one person from the client dedicated to the team.

User Research – The project started with understanding the current user experience through user and stakeholder interviews and observations.
Process Mapping – We then analyzed the data to define the flows of information between people and systems.
Opportunity Identification – From the process map we were able to identify several immediately implementable opportunities for improvement throughout the system.
Workshop Facilitation – We planned and executed a three day co-creation workshop, bringing together three different teams across the company to collaboratively ideate and roadmap solutions to the problem.
Communication – We developed a concept book and presentation to provide the client as an internal ‘sales’ tool to utilize as they seek funding for the resulting projects.

Utilizing a user centered approach for this type of problem was a bit of an experiment for the client. They were very pleased with the results and are looking to have us coach them through parts of the next phase.

Mapping the Customer Support Experience

In this project we sought to understand and improve the customer support experience for several products offered by a large internet-based company. We utilized journey maps to help describe the current user experience, as well as to show opportunities for improvement of the products. I worked as part of a five person team at Insitum, an international innovation consulting firm.

User Research – The project started with understanding the current user experience through interviews and participatory research activities.
Experience Mapping – We then analyzed the data to find the different user modes and emotional drivers throughout the support journey.
Opportunity Identification – From the journey maps we were able to identify several immediately implementable opportunities for improvement for each product.

The client was very happy with the results and has decided to hang the journey maps in their office space as a reference and decorative piece.

Logo Marks

As a design consultant many projects had graphic design components. Here are some samples of 2D design elements I have created.

Logo Marks and other visual elements

Safer Toddler Bathing

BATHDAM a bath-time tool and toy by Playful Studios

Smith’s latest idea, a device called BathDam, recently earned an honorable mention in a nationwide housewares design contest.

“It’s unique for a children’s bath toy because it does four things: It offers play value for the kid to play in the water; it protects the child, particularly from the faucet and a large amount of water; it helps clean the child through the toys that are built into it; and it conserves water because the entire bathtub doesn’t need to be filled with water,” says Vicki Matranga, design program coordinator for the International Housewares Association, the Chicago-based group that sponsors the annual IHA Student Design Competition.

Made of injection-molded foam and dyed plastics, BathDam is designed to let parents partition off the back section of the tub, keeping kids ages 1 to 3 years old away from the spigot, where bumps to the head and burns from twisting the hot-water knob are more likely to occur.

Secret Passage Ways

SECRET PASSAGE WAYS engineered/manufactured for residential/commercial safety and entertainment by Creative Home Engineering

As part of a team of mechanical engineers and industrial designers I experienced extreme problem solving as we designed and built custom secret passageways for residential and commercial use.

Grass – Crib Bumper

CRIB GRASS – Safe and stylish crib bumper concept by Boon Inc

Individual plush grass blades with flexible spine. Collapse when stepped on. Spacing for breathability. Plush character set to match.

Scrubble – Bath Toys

SCRUBBLE Interchangeable bath squirt toy set by Boon Inc

For the love of scrub. Let them play in the dirt, then put them in the bath and toss in Scrubble. They’ll think it’s fun. Kids can fill each bulb with water, squeeze it out or slide it all around like a soapy loofa. And we gave this squirt toy two halves that unscrew. That means you can mix and match the colors.

Creature Cups – Bath Toys

CREATURES CUPS – Interchangeable bath toy cup set by Boon Inc

Create any fish you wish. Surfs up in the bathtub! Fill them up. Pour them out. Watch the water trickle out the tiny holes on their sea creature heads. Mix and match their parts to create new underwater species. Bonus: They’re soft and flexible, sort of like real fish. But less stinky.