The original revolutionary Chuckit! Ball Launcher brought relief to owners of exuberant retrievers when it was released back in 1999. Slobbery balls were no longer a problem and you could throw the ball further than ever before. After over a decade of success, it was time for a refresh. In 2011 I was tasked with redesigning the classic Chuckit! with a focus on increased comfort and performance.
The Chuckit! Pro is the result of months of extensive iteration to get the ergonomic handle and the gradual arc of the neck just right. Throwing distance is maximized with a precise cup angle and material flex. User fatigue is reduced with the careful placement of soft synthetic rubber to reduce hand fatigue.
Winner of a 2012 Red Dot Award: Product Design.
Bar Minder is the result of a two week collaboration with Jess Landquist. Seeking to solve the problem of missed sales opportunities and frustrated customers in low-lit bar environments, Bar Minder provides a positive visual indication of patrons in need of service in a dark, crowded environment.
Arduino boards coupled with infrared sensors detect when a liquid is below a certain level in a glass and illuminates the glass with a white light to alert a bartender or server. After a period of time, this light begins to pulsate to indicate that the customer has been waiting awhile. Finally, the light becomes red if the customer still has not received attention. This light sequence allows a bartender to quickly scan a room to get relative wait times of their customers.
The project was implemented using laser cutting, 3D printing, and Arduino programming. A functional prototype was tested in a live bar setting to understand its potential and limitations, and subsequently exhibited at the University of Washington CoMotion Space.
I have found the unique musical sounds of a place to be a great indicator of local culture. Inspired by the musical diversity I've experience in my travels, I created LocalSound, a mobile music discovery app for travelers who believe music has a deep connection to place and can give a window into the culture of a population. LocalSound allows a user to enter a city they would like to "hear" and provides them with a playlist of the most popular artists from that city.
LocalSound is an exercise in combining RESTful APIs to create a useful product. I built the program using Python to access artist, song, and geographic origin data from Echo Nest, which then calls Spotify to create a playlist of the most popular artists with the indicated city of origin. HTML and CSS were used to create the interface. Future improvements would include detecting user location for immediate playlist generation upon opening the app in a new city.
You can play with LocalSound here.
Kick Fetch is a unique solution for dogs who enjoy pursuit play that addresses the problem of deflated soccer balls. Proprietary EVA foam and ballistic polyester construction inspired by the footwear industry gives it the shape it needs to roll and prevents deflation under the pressure of a dogs teeth. Recessed bite zones lined with reinforced rubber enable a dog to pick the ball up unlike a traditional soccer ball.
Winner of a 2012 Red Dot Award for Product Design
Persistence Dash is a Tableau dashboard application that my team developed to assist the Seattle chapter of Summer Search, a national nonprofit that mentors low-income, minority, and first-generation high school students. Summer Search has an incredibly successful mentoring program, but they expressed a need for help identifying colleges that best fit their students' unique individual needs.
Using the National Center for Educational Statistics database, Persistence Dash allows a mentor to select a student's unique demographic profile to filter US colleges that exhibit the highest rates of college persistence among demographically similar students. The financial cost profile of these schools can then be compared to hone in on schools that offer low tuition and/or high financial aid for students in a particular income bracket.
Our team of four (myself, Jess Landquist, Yoanna Dosouto, and Bonny Rivers) employed a user-centric design process, working directly with members of the Summer Search Seattle program team in identifying their pain points. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at various stages throughout the project, and usability tests were conducted to help us iterate on our design.
While each of us collaborated on all aspects of the project, my primary role was as the designer. Lo-fidelity sketches and mockups led to more than a dozen iterations before landing on the final design. Data visualization best practices were adhered to throughout the process, including using appropriate graphical data representations, interactivity, and color palette.
You can visit the Tableau Public page to interact with the Persistence Dash visualization here.
Our academic paper further detailing our process, design choices, and future improvements can be viewed here.
I conducted a user research study into reusable bag usage while grocery shopping to gain insights into the hurdles people may face when adopting consistent use patterns. Anecdotally finding that remembering to bring reusable bags to the grocery store is an issue for many people despite the best of intentions, I chose to dig deeper into the practices of grocery shopping specifically surrounding grocery transportation.
Through observational studies, interviews, and surveys conducted over the course of about eight weeks, I obtained valuable quantitative and qualitative data to drive future design efforts to address low reusable bag adoption and usage rates. The most consistently cited issue throughout the study was convenience of accessibility during storage. With this in mind, I made a design recommendation for a simple reusable bag storage solution to increase usage.
You may read the research report and additional findings here:
User Research Report: Reusable Bags and Grocery Shopping