I would like to highlight a few projects that I feel have shaped me as a product designer up to now. These may not all be what you typically see in UX portfolio but don’t worry there are some more pretty pictures at the bottom.
Think Outside’s mobile radar and AI technology allows a totally new way of gathering data and insights about snow conditions and properties.
I joined the team to work on the design of the physical product. Being a small startup team I quickly became a part of the core team defining the product vision and brand strategy. As things progressed I led efforts to discover the multiple layers of user needs and to define the experience towards different stakeholders.
One of the biggest UX challenges for Sknow was the fact that the hardware/software combo would be used in a pretty tough environment. Cold weather, gloved hands, bright sun, and wind noise make any type of interaction a challenge.
Another major challenge was the fact that our AI tech would need a large set of data before our predictions could be accurate. This meant we would need to get units in to the hands of users and out in the field before the sensor could add much value.
The danger of providing “false safety” to users and leading to more dangerous behaviour was a big concern from the snow expert side. This is a textbook objection to any “blue ocean” safety product but proved to be a critical point in our story.
We found early on in our user discovery process that our key stakeholders would be from very different experience levels. On the one hand we would be serving a market of novice to intermediate level skiers often with relatively little snow safety knowledge. On the other hand we found that we could provide immense value to snow professionals with previously unavailable data density.
While shadowing skiers over longer tours we also discovered patterns in how they would use available data to plan their tours and assess snow safety. The majority of interactions would happen the night before or on the car ride to the trailhead. There is always the safety check at the trailhead or (more commonly we found) halfway up. That selfie moment mid trail might also be used to check the bulletin and forecast.
When working with snow experts we learned that there was a big disconnect between their observations and
We decided to attack the major challenges by giving the two opposite user groups a tool for sharing data and insights. The Sknow app would function as a tour planning tool for the enthusiasts where they could view the snow conditions and see proposed trails based on conditions and preferences.
For the snow experts the app would function as tool to log and share their observations. In this way the app would inspire the user to gather info about snow safety and connect the everyday backcountry skier with local snow experts.
Both groups would add to the dataset through the use of the app, with or without the connected sensor. This would allow us speed up the AI training process and at the same time providing incremental value to the users.
In early 2020 we were forced to admit that the recreational skier market might not be lucrative enough to support the development needed for the AI-powered sensor technology and made a dramatic pivot towards the hydropower and agricultural sector. At the same time, we joined Techstars Mobility accelerator in Torino Italy.
Alongside our fast-paced customer discovery process for the new sectors. I continued to deliver product concepts for industrial services. Including in the field utilities as well as dashboard
This is one of many projects we ran at Rafnar. Each of these projects had their own unique challenge but this one is a good example of how we approached user in each case.
As the design director for Rafnar I was responsible for a team of designers and engineers working on several parallel projects. I took this design challenge on along with a small team of interns, pulling on the rest of the team when needed.
We started off by interviewing a handful of fishermen, naval architects and boatbuilders to get a feel for the personas. We found, to little surprise that the group was sceptical of the value of design in fishing vessels and focus on practicality and empirical solutions was high. In reality the actual answers given where of little value but the discussions gave some insight into where the actual pain points might be found.
The next step was to probe deeper. We filtered our little panel into a couple of seasoned fishermen that we could interact even closer with. That meant getting up at 4 in the morning to get down and dirty. That’s me on the right there, severely seasick taking note of how the guys interacted on the boat.
After some in depth interviews and observations we decided to focus on improving the interaction between the crew members during the different parts of the trip as well as designing around safety.
The weather is a major factor in this environment and it was essential to provide shelter while at the same time keeping the area as open as possible to improve the workflow and communication.
We built several full scale mockups of the areas, played out the scenarios and invited fishermen in for discussions.
In the end we settled on an open plan were the crew could transition between the outside and inside space to grab a coffee or interact with the helmsman without the need to remove their oilskins. The environment was planned so the helmsman and crew could interact seamlessly while pulling nets to minimise any danger. Every surface was designed with affordances to guide the crew safely around the area while providing plenty of grip and grab holds for when the xxxx hits the fan.
The fishing vessel was never finalised but the project laid the ground for future projects and the methods were repeated in the design of boats for the Icelandic coastguard and iceSAR.
The strong focus on the user has also spun off a couple of startups focusing on the user experience of high speed boats.
Me and a fellow student (Anders Hellberg) got commissioned to come up with some nice interface ideas for a touch screen desk phone. After reading the brief and conducting a few interviews we countered with our manifesto for the desktop communication tool.
From the research we identified several personas that we used throughout the project. We created usage sequences that would illustrate how the different personas used office communications throughout the day.
The final deliverables were in the form of 4 different Flash prototypes (I used to be Flash wizard back in the old times) with very different interaction models.
We deliberately went with off brand graphics to draw focus to the ideas and allow the clients designers to reimagine the concepts within their brand.