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Brief: Design a product or service that enriches the lives of the residents in Brighton.

Client: ClearLeft - Accessibility and usability consultants for web site design. Employed myself and two other interns to bring physical design into the office and get advertisement. 

Duration: 3 months

Year: 2015

Skills shown: Product Design, CAD (Solidworks), 3D Visualisations, Video Editing.

Result: Notice - a family of three internet connected devices that provide an on­street communication platform for planning applications and other city notices. A mobile app and a website also allow the public to quickly and easily respond to planning applications a process that was once far more complex. This modern and simplified method of communication will increase public engagement in city development.

Website: notice.city

Team: Chris Green, Monika Bansal, Chloe Finlayson

This concept is currently in a competition for funding to further it’s development through trialling.

Research and Ideation

Due to the loose nature of the brief a lot of research and ideation was conducted. This involved workshops, focus groups and surveys followed by extensive ideation resulting in around 220 possible concepts in all different areas. To narrow these down we did market research into our favourite, allowed our main stakeholders to vote and looked at the feasibility each of them. Eventually we got down to the problem of public notices and community engagement.

The Problem: 

In the UK we are fortunate enough to have the right to a say in much of what is going on around us, though this opportunity is all-too-often missed. Planning notices spring up on a daily basis throughout cities, allowing citizens to support or fight infrastructure changes, though the current form of these notices generally leads to them being ignored.

A major problem is that the same A4 piece of paper is put up no matter the size of the development. This is a problem in itself as people ignore them as they could be an internal wall coming down or a skyscraper. However they also have many problems with not being engaging due to their text heavy nature and not being weatherproof so often are unreadable and messy. The last problem is the long process from reading the notice to actual comment as people have to spend time looking on the internet for that application.

Use cases in the video:

There are many use cases for each of the three devices and here I just show one. A young professional walking past a satellite close to her work. She has a phone and is therefore able to go through the app. For people without a phone a card would be sent out which they could register and when they tap there phone against the device they are automatically sent the information to the desired contact method. This reduces the steps from street to comment, therefore making it easier and encouraging more people to take part in the process.

The Brand:

The brands style was inspired both by oragami and map location icons. I wanted to create an approachable design that didn’t look out of place in any street in the city but would still be distinguishable and distinctive so people would be engaged and know what they were when seeing them after a time. Major design considerations taken into account when designing the devices were:

- Able to fit on poles with round diameters from 80-270mm 

- Able to fit on square poles with circumferences of 200-240mm

- Be weather resistant

- Be quick and easy to install and take down

- Be mass manufacturable

- Be easy to maintain

- Resist being stolen

- Be technically feasible

The Prototype:

Cardboard prototypes were used to finalise the design shape and size before moving on to the higher fidelity prototype. I created a CAD model for 3D printing that had the same shape as the final design but was constructed differently to keep the 3D printing costs down (therefore had undercuts etc that would not be used in injection moulding). 

Future Use Cases:

An important point is that this is not just a planning application system, it is a communication platform. Our business plan is that these can either be bought or leased out and communities can choose to do with them what they want, they are community devices rather than forced technology. Some possible uses are:

- waste collection times

- air pollution data

- time and date

- news and weather

- short story printing

- parking tickets

- wayfinding

- hyper local event advertisment

- reporting problems such as potholes 

to name a few.