Process Book Site Guide Shelby Hawkins Fall 2017
Research The prompt for this project was to create something that would supplement or respond to the experience of visiting a particular site. We were asked to select a site we had never visited before; for me, this was IKEA. I’d heard quite a bit about the Swedish furniture company and the very curated experience of walking through their store. I finally visited IKEA myself and took notes about my observations. I noticed the abundant white space, the consistent use of signage and labeling, and way that every surface (including walls and floor) were used to display information. This signage primarily served to direct traffic through the store via a circuitous route that passes through every room of the warehouse (with a few “shortcut” options available). I also noted the elaborate staging in IKEA, from the countless copies of Swedish books occupying the bookshelves, to the xeroxed children’s drawings framed on the walls, to the clothing hanging in walk-in closets.
Concepts I draft three possible concepts for this project, each of which responded to a different aspect of IKEA that I found particularly compelling. I ultimately decided to move forward with an idea I thought of as “IKEA-fy any space,” an augmented reality program that could apply the logic, organization, and/or aesthetic of IKEA to the user’s environment.
Alternative Personas for IKEA This project would extend IKEA’s current model, which creates distinct personas for furniture displays to encourage customers’ imagination or projection. These personas would become more extreme/radical/ unexpected, with vastly different values than the cheery “nuclear family” or “chic young woman” archetypes IKEA currently offers. This ultimately speaks to the company’s promise that IKEA is for everyone. Some possible sources for these personas: famous designers, Shakespearean archetypes, TV Tropes archetypes (e.g. protagonist, antagonist, reason, emotion, sidekick, skeptic, guardian), famous literary characters, more general characters like “broke college student” or “cat lady” or “couch potato.” Next steps: The more I write about this idea, the less excited I am about it. I feel like it doesn’t respond to the prompt as well as some of my other ideas.
IKEA-fy any space Instead of being a companion for the actual experience in an IKEA, this project would extend that experience into any space. I thought more about how to open this concept to lots of spaces, rather than just a redesigned/IKEA-fied Sam Fox, which is where this idea originated. This could be formatted as a camera-based app or augmented-reality goggles. This app would “analyze” the space the user is in, then answer questions that I imagine guided the design process for IKEA’s floorplan (see below). Then, my app/product would “project” an IKEA-fied vision of the space onto the environment. Examples of these guiding questions: What are the most important areas in this space? What is the most effective route through this space? What route or path enables the user to walk through / experience every unique part of the space? Where does a user most need guidance or direction in this
space? Is anywhere particularly confusing, high-traffic, slow-moving? How can we simplify the entry, exit, bathroom, water fountain, etc? How can different areas of the space be grouped / summarized / placed into categories? Is any service provided in this space? If so, does the placement / process make sense for the space? Can it be improved? (Think of the self-service furniture warehouse at the end of IKEA.) Next steps: The more I think about this project, the more I like it. I think it could be really interesting (and definitely executable in our remaining time) to show what a few different types of spaces could look like IKEAfied. I also think the writing and language around this project would be a lot of fun.
Life at 100 Square Feet This project would be the tiniest, most portable, most simplified version of an IKEA vignette. I’m not sure if the deliverable would literally be a miniature/diorama, or just a mockup of a space to scale. I’m imagining this project could be installed at other retail or entertainment spaces (mall, shopping districts, etc) to advertise for IKEA and express to customers what the IKEA experience is like. Or, the vignette could be within IKEAs. The project would consolidate a home to the absolute bare necessities. Instead of thinking in terms of bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc., I would define necessary functions (must be able to sleep, cook food, clean up, etc.) How small can each element be? Can the bed be smaller than a twin? Can the “kitchen” be one Bunsen burner? Can things stack or consolidate? How tall can the space be before it’s impractical? Next Steps: Answer all these questions. Research tiny houses. Go into an open drawing studio, plot out 10ft by 10ft with tape on the floor, then start thinking about where all of these objects can go.
Refinement I decided to name my project ÜKEA (you-kea), a pun that references both the playful, humorous tone of IKEA and the personalization offered by this app. I wanted the visual language of ÜKEA to reflect its “parent company” without being completely identical. I tested several version of the app icon, logo for the program, and altered the IKEA mascot, who became the “guide” leading users through the app set-up. I began to create pages of the app, taking inspiration from IKEA’s love of white space and simple typography on product labels. However, my screens needed further work to establish hierarchy and consistency between pages.
I created several iterations of possible icons for the app. Since IKEA instruction manuals are wordless, I thought it would be valuable to communicate as much information as possible with only image. I settled on a specific image of â€œgogglesâ€? to use to refer to the augmented reality program, and a set of building icons to identify what space the user is in.
Final App The final version of my project used a combination of icons and type to guide users through establishing a profile, then showing a mockup of how the augmented reality feature would suggest updates to a user’s home.
Hej! Welcome to ÜKEA! I’m Oskar. I’ll be here to guide you through using this program. What can I call you? Your name here
What sort of space would you like to transform?
What sort of space would you like to transform?
Hallå, Erik! Nice to meet you. Let’s get started.
What’s your lifestyle? Effektivitet Efficiency and organization
Sökväg Guide and path
Stil Style and flair
Sökväg This program will identify a thorough path that helps visitors see your space in full. We’ll help you capture the total experience your space has to offer!
Fantastisk! Now, just connect your Gøggles to your phone and we’ll take care of the rest!
Best for: Shops Gardens Guided Tours
Does this sound like what you need?
Storage and consideration
Välkommen, Erik! Use the Gøggles How do ÜKEA?
Album: 112717 Product list
Medium brown $99.00
Define your space
Gray, white $7.00
See your library of ideas
Settings Update your profile
Define your lifestyle Effektivitet Sokväg
White, beige $14.99
Photo contains: MATHOPEN Headboard
Medium brown $99.00
Review descriptions Bakåt
Share photo Stil
Bleached white $19.99
Let’s see. If you’re looking for something stylish, I think I know just the thing.
Try using throw pillows to add color and texture to the room!
The bed is the focal point of this room. Why don’t we try to add some flair?
So, what do you think? If you’d like more information about these items, save a view to your library. If this isn’t what you need, change your settings and we’ll try again!
These LENDA Curtains can tie back so the room stays bright!
About ÜKEA IKEA was created with a simple mission: to make everyday life better for the many people, not the few. Whether it’s our sleek minimalist designs, our strategies for organization, or just our Swedish sensibility, people have come to love IKEA. Now, we’re bringing what people love most about IKEA directly to them, staying true to our mission of helping as many people as possible live a better life at home. So, how do ÜKEA? Tack! (Thank you!)
Critique Some feedback I received was to work more on the balance between use of Swedish, English, and icon. Small Swedish exclamations from the mascot were effective, but in more important places like the main menu, the Swedish was distracting and difficult to understand. I also was challenged to push the contrast between the â€œset-upâ€? pages of the app and the main functional pages. Finally, I was encouraged to explore other profiles that the app offers and create mockups showing how the app would display that information to the user. In the future, I would like to make these updates to the program, as well as create an accompanying pair of branded virtual reality goggles, and a brief loading screen animation.
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Process for a design project called ÜKEA—an augmented reality app that would apply the style and logic of IKEA to any space.