19 May

Creative Design Lab: Evaluation

The techniques I have learnt over the course of this Creative Design Lab have been, and will continue to be, very beneficial to me throughout my career as a designer. The methods I’ve used, from simple mind maps, lists and group ideas generation, to the six hats method, 9×9 grids and more.

Whenever I start a new project, I can use these techniques to generate the best ideas/solutions possible, test and evaluate them properly, and view projects as the continual reflection and redesign process that they are.

I feel that the last project was definitely my strongest from a creative standpoint. My processes developed well over the course of the last few months, and the creative thinking became far more natural by the end. When I look back on these blog posts, I am both proud of what I’ve achieved and critical of some of the decisions I have made, which I can learn from in the future.



Please follow and like:
19 May

Creative Design Lab: Wearable technology week 3

Last week, I did a lot of ideas generation, and used various creative methods to expand on my ideas. I then conducted lots of research into types of technology, specifically in terms of fabric, sensors and detection. This week, I started to create my prototype based on this.

It consists of a vest and an app with an interface as detailed below.



Hot and cold

Made from a special fabric that contains an active cooling agent, which reacts with the wearer’s own sweat to lower their body temperature. It also has fibres woven into the fabric that can be switched on if the wearer becomes too cold, and heats up the body until an optimum temperature has been reached. This combination works to keep the body temperature constant, and help the infant to sleep through the night.

Vital signs

The vest has stainless steel yarns woven into the fabric itself that monitors the infants heart rate, respiration rate and skin temperature, and uses integrated Bluetooth to send that information to the app. The monitoring of vital signs can relieve parent’s anxiety, and lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.


There are also sensors in the poppers at the bottom of the vest. They can detect if the child is wet, which can help during the potty training phase, and to alert parents to any leaks.


An important part of this vest is its ability to go through the washing machine/tumble drier and without any parts being removed, for easy cleaning. This is because it has all the elements woven into the fabric itself.



The application will be in the app store, available to download for free to the user’s smartphone or tablet. It connects to the vest using bluetooth and offers a simple visual display of the three main elements included in this design. It would set off an alarm if the device detects that human intervention is needed, and this would be reflected in the display.


I wanted to keep the design really simple, as it would mainly be used at night while the parent is only semi-awake and often drowsy. I also decided not to put the numerical value of the heart rate/temperate as it cold be confusing and some users wouldn’t know what the ideal is.

To present how this would function, I made a paper prototype of this app.


This is a good representation of how the app would set off a warning for one or any combination of the elements.

Please follow and like:
18 May

Adobe Kuler app – essential!

I am going to start by saying this app is absolutely fantastic.

Also as a website, which most designers will be familiar with, this free app is an essential for experimenting with and choosing colour schemes. It selects colours from a photo you can either take or upload, and allows you to save these themes and share them (after signing in with your Adobe ID).










I really find this a useful tool when designing, or simply to play around with for fun! It is interesting to see the colours translating directly from a photograph. I also like how you can search for photographs from Google or Flickr inside the app.

Have a go… only on iOS currently. Unfortunately Android users will have to wait. Or try something like the SwatchMatic app, and let me know how you find it.

Please follow and like:
14 May

Infographic CVs

There are some very interesting ways to attract attention to yourself online. An infographic CV is one of those more classy methods. Here are a selection of ones I like (and mine, which you can judge for yourself…)


Eric Bar

There is an unfortunate typo, but the design is great, it’s very clear. Negative space is actually a positive thing!

Eric Bar - http://www.sheket.net

© Eric Bar – http://www.sheket.net


Mohit Lakhmani

This one is very creative. I immediately followed him on Behance. Check out the brilliance of this paper infographic CV…

3D Embossed Paper Crafted Infographic Resume by Mohit Lakhmani

3D Embossed Paper Crafted Infographic Resume by Mohit Lakhmani


Sylwia Presley

This one was designed by Damage Von Rock, and posted on planetdamage.com

View the 'how to' on planetdamage.com

View the ‘how to’ on planetdamage.com


Ashley Nye

And lastly… my infographic, designed to blend in with my portfolio siteInfographic CV

Note: if you would like your infographic CV critiqued and displayed here, please email me.

Please follow and like:
12 May

Creative Design Lab: Wearable technology week 2

The first thing I did this week was to consider the senses, as it is wearable technology this is a very important factor, and could be a major advantage. I created the following mind maps about possible inputs and outputs of my wearable technology.


I also found this interesting project, when researching wearable tech, that involves a 3d printed cast that emits ultrasound pulses to aid healing. There are all sorts of advantages to wearing technology, and incorporating senses into the design, making the computer part of the human body.

photo credit: A' Design Awards.

photo credit: A’ Design Awards.


all hatsI then went over my idea using Edward de Bono’s idea of six thinking hats.

The six hats method is to wear (or imagine wearing) a coloured hat. There are six different colours in total, and each colour represents a different way of thinking. While wearing each hat, the colour of the hat defines the way in which the wearer should think.

It is a really useful to practice the technique of separating ways of thinking, to see your project from other perspectives and see things you wouldn’t otherwise.

The six hats are:

The green hat

The hat of creativity, focusing on new solutions to problems and different ideas.

Green hat text

The black hat

The hat of pessimism, looking for all the negative points, being cautious and defensive.

Black hat text

The white hat

The hat of logic, only dealing with facts and data.

White hat text

The yellow hat

The hat of positivity, seeing the benefits and value.

Yellow hat text

The red hat

The hat of emotion, instinct and gut-feeling.

Red hat text

The blue hat

The hat that controls the session, the chairman of the meeting.

Blue hat text

All these hats, used individually, can be a very useful tool. It can really help to look at an idea or problem from a different standpoint.

I then moved on to use the 9×9 method, where I sketched out three ideas to solve the problem of a child waking during the night. I then passed it to Sam who filled in the the next three boxes with ideas that expanded on mine. I then filled in the next three boxes, adding to the last sketches. The outcome is below.


From there, I made more lists about how to solve the particular problems of heating and cooling the child.



I quickly discovered that more research was needed into the latest technology, to find out what is/will be possible with fabrics, especially with regards to temperature control. There is something called Coolcore that uses a blend of yarns to draw sweat away from the body and dry it quicker. There are a lot of other ‘unique blends’ of fabric that offer this kind of ‘technology’, including Sportingtex and Komfortas. There is also a company, Mountain Hardwear that markets a product, Cool.Q ZERO, where the fabric is said to contain an ‘active cooling agent next to your skin that reacts with your sweat to lower the temperature of the fabric’.

This sort of technology could be included in my wearable technology design. The problem with the first set of cooling fabrics is that there is no way of turning them off and on. The last uses sweat to activate the cooling process, so would be suitable on a child if sweating during the night occurs.

I also found Columbia’s Omni-Freeze Zero claims to do the same thing. There is a lot of new technology in this field, specifically created as sportswear for use by athletes while exercising. This could easily be transferred to my project.


Heating is a lot easier, as things like the electric blanket have been around for a considerable amount of time. The electric blanket itself was invented in 1912. Since then, there have been lots of inventions around the same theme. One project I found was heated slippers. The technology is definitely there, to allow for fibres to be woven into the garment and switched on if the wearer’s temperature has been read as too low.


I also came up with the idea in the 9×9 grid of having a vest that had sensors built into the poppers that could alert the parents if the child is wet. Urine is an irritant, and could cause rashes and broken skin if left too long. The alarm system will help to prevent this.


To find out what else parent’s want in a gadget for children, I looked at what is currently on the market. I already own a baby monitor that connects to a sensor pad, which sets off an alarm if no movement is detected after 20 seconds. The pad is sensitive enough to detect breathing when placed under the mattress.

I found this really interesting article on Gizmag that outlines some new projects and advances in wearable technology – particularly new fabrics. The BioMan Fabric from AiQ is described in the post as ‘made from a conductive fabric sewn together from stainless steel yarns. It monitors vital signs, such as heart rate, respiration rate and skin temperature, and with integrated Bluetooth connectivity, sends that information to a smartphone for analysis’. This would be perfect for monitoring the vital signs of an infant during the night.

I am going to use all this research and the creative techniques to design nightwear for an infant/child.

Please follow and like:
09 May

Little Lessons: OSI Layer 7 – The Application Layer

The application layer is the 7th in the OSI model. It provides services for an app, including preparing human communication for transmission over the data network, as well as ensuring that effective communication is feasible.

This of the OSI model as a bit like an assembly line. Each layer prepares the data for the next one. The 7th layer interacts with the application whenever the user performs any network activities like transferring files or reading emails.

Application layer protocols provide the rules for communication between applications. The protocols define the processes on either end of the communication, the types and syntax of any messages, how they are sent, the expected response and the interaction with the next layer in the OSI model.

The most well-known application layer protocols are the ones that provide for the exchange of user information. These are necessary for many of the common internet communication functions. They include protocols for email such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and for the web like HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) among many others used in the application layer.

Please follow and like:
05 May

Creative Design Lab: Wearable technology week 1

This wearable technology project starts with some research into two existing projects referred to in the Microsoft Research report:

1. Ambient Wood, a project that combines a physical environment with augmented reality, for the purpose of creating a fun and interactive learning experience for children.

2. Whereabouts Clock which uses SMS messaging to alert a device when a family member moves location. The location is displayed on the clock device.

I begun by looking at different sorts of ‘wearables’ that technology could be integrated into. I used the A-Z method, to quickly come up with a range of different things and start thinking creatively.


The two groups of people I’m going to be looking at designing for specifically in this project are children and the elderly. The first thing I did was create a series of mind maps, focusing on the problems and desires of these particular groups.


From this, I decided to concentrate on the topic of children having trouble sleeping. The task that needs to take place is to adjust sleeping conditions to help the child back to sleep. I created a task analysis flow diagram to consider the actions needed for this.


Other functions that could be added include sensing if the child is wet, dehydrated or a sensor that sends information to a separate device to monitor the child’s sleeping pattern.

Please follow and like: