The Enabled by Design-athon: Whose Life Projects

In last week’s blog post we reached the fourth and final part of the Enabled by Design-athon: Share and talked […]

In last week’s blog post we reached the fourth and final part of the Enabled by Design-athon: Share and talked about the projects chosen as the Judge’s Choice: Paul’s Kettle and People’s Choice: SafeHouse (which were both based on the ‘Whose Life’ activity). The standard of projects was extremely high, so much so that the panel of judges found it difficult to agree on an overall favourite, as each and every team had so worked hard to develop a product to address a particular challenge in less than 24 hours. Therefore, we wanted to share all of the projects and give them the recognition that they deserve…

In this blog post, we share the project briefs and descriptions of the prototypes that were inspired by the ‘Whose Life’ activity:

The goal of the ‘Whose Life’ activity was to build a persona through detailed observation of studying a set of photographs which record a day in someone’s life. The person who took the photos didn’t appear in any of them, however, through careful observation the teams pieced together clues about who they might be and the kind of life they might be leading.

Teams were supplied with a set of questions, shown on the right, to help generate their persona which they then could design for and against. This helped create insight and empathy into potential challenges relating to accessibility.

“Never cease to be amazed by how much richness comes from observation, even if it’s just from photos of the lives of strangers”  Lydia Howland, IDEO

Photo: Murtz Abidi @murtz_abidi 



Brief: How might we design an accessible bathroom that is more personal and enjoyable for everyone to use?

Starting with the question ‘How could we save energy in the morning that could be used later in the day?’ Juice’s project looked at how assistive bathroom products could be designed for all and move away from current clinical and built in products. The solution: a range of assistive bathroom accessories that appeal to everyone.

Check out Max Seabrooke’s blog writeup of the ‘Juice’ experience here

Photos: FutureGov @FutureGov

View the team’s presentation below:


Pump Easy

Brief: Redesigning the petrol cap

The Pump Easy team were inspired by team member Peta’s own experiences and the difficulty she has with the twisting motion required to open/close the petrol cap on her car. They looked into designing an accessory to be used with existing petrol caps that incorporates a lever to provide a more straight forward and accessible motion, as well as developing ideas for future petrol caps incorporating a similar lever. The solution: a lever accessory and redesign of the petrol cap so it can be opened and closed by all.


Let Grip

Brief: To design a tool to help grip things better

The main theme identified by the team was that their persona experienced difficulties with dexterity and found it hard to use door handles, cutlery and other fiddly things that required grip and strength. The solution: Inspired by the Nike naked running shoes, a kind of second-skin hybrid that would bulk up the palm of the hand and increase grip.

Check out Hanna Mawbey’s blog writeup of the ‘Let Grip’ experience here

 View the team’s presentation below:


Mixed Mobility

Brief: Mixed mobility in the city

Mixed Mobility looked to design a mobility device that could be useful for people with fluctuating conditions that cause fatigue. They were inspired by team member Gus whose fatigue levels change throughout the day. The solution: a mixed mobility device that offers multiple functionality and can be carried / pulled like a suitcase on wheels when not in use.

View the team’s presentation below:



Brief: Rethink the way we interact and use our computer keyboard and mouse

The Signature team explored how a flexible, modular system could be developed for a more personalised approach to using a keyboard and mouse, rethinking the way we interact with computers to maximise comfort and reduce strain placed on joints in the hand. Their suite of ideas included finger mouses that could be placed on fingers and tapped on your lap rather than using a single desk based mouse and a keyboard tray with  keys that can be arranged according to frequency of use and ease of access to suit you.


We’ll be sharing the remaining projects which were based on a range of empathy activities carried out by teams in the next blog post, so see you then…

Team EbD