Research plays a crucial role in successful design and the entries for this year's Core77 Design Awards year truly embodied that ideal. Many of the projects honored by our juries used research as a compass to drive their strategy, direction and execution. This adherence to a research-heavy strategy allowed for a multitude of factors to be incorporated into the design process, and, in many cases, led to thoughtful, sustainable solutions. Here are a few 2016 Core77 Design Awards Honorees that took the notion of research-driven design to heart.
WonderSphere is a sealed, mobile chamber that empowers pediatric patients with the wonders of nature and science. The design, shape, size, and ergonomics work for pediatric hospital patients – the glove ports are the right height for the target range of ages; and are tilted down and spaced in such a way that they don't interfere with the user's line of vision.
Wondersphere was created as a means for immune-compromised children to interact with the natural world for educational and therapeutic purposes. Wondersphere's Project Team utilized extensive research to inform both the design and purpose of their product. Given the restrictions of a hospital room, and the increased vulnerability of the patients, the design was built to be lightweight, easy to clean, and airtight. Additionally, the project was "based on research that shows better outcomes for patients who are experiencing fun and positive emotions," and focused on fields such as positive psychology and nature therapy. The Project Team went on to test the effectiveness of the design finding that "interacting with [Wondersphere] has been shown to have positive health, psychological, and learning outcomes."
The Eventbrite Reserved Seating product is a multifaceted design lead ecosystem that enables event organizers to create, host, manage and sell tickets to their seated events. All seat maps created are linked to a venue and can be reused by the same organizer and shared with other organizers using the same venue.
The Eventbrite Reserved Seating System attempts to make the often frustrating experience of organizing and selling tickets to seated events as intuitive and cohesive as possible. To achieve this the Project Team spent "many hours talking to organizers, venue managers and internal sales and customer support individuals to uncover truths, insights and to develop a deep empathy into the problem space." However, even before addressing the 'how,' the team first considered if they 'should': "Prior to launching our Reserved Seating solution a lot of thought and analysis went into why Eventbrite should launch into this space to ensure it made sense for our core product and larger business." This insight and dedication to meticulous research drove the team to create a product that the Jury Team admits "makes me want to host an event."
Through ideation with classmates and experts, and drawing on insights, especially from meeting refugees and volunteers in the Danish-German border area, the concept of an information service based on SMS was formed. Since SIM-cards are one of the first things refugees seek during their journey, it became an obvious onboarding touchpoint for the service.
Refugee Text Service aims to offer displaced persons emigrating from hostile or war-torn regions a smoother and more hospitable transition to their new country of residence by providing easy access to information, guidelines and reliable contacts. The project was informed by extensive research, as Kåre Magnus Sand Solvåg, the designer, spent "the first four weeks of [his] process researching the domain, informing [himself] through desk research, expert interviews and volunteer activities on what the situation was like both on the ground and at a larger, political scale." "Through the process of immersive people-centered research, [Kåre] built an extensive knowledge and empathetic understanding for the journey these human beings have been through", which allowed Kåre to create such a successful service design solution.