Date: June - August 2018 | Brand
Wyth is a conceptual exploration of the intersection of space, experience design, and social psychology.
Wyth is a home lifestyle brand for millennial apartment dwellers that want to host in shared living situations - who want to be cultivators of a culture of conversation, community, and being present.
Wyth designs home artifacts that are stimulable, comfortable, and tranquil, to gently foster human connection in a disconnected age.
The Problem (Macro)
“The nature of our devices is causing us to become overly reliant on our devices.”
~ Sherry Turkle | MIT Psychologist | Technology and Self
“We are fleeing from the discomfort of vulnerability, solitude, and conversation for merely the “feeling” of connection.”
~ Sherry Turkle | Author of ‘Reclaiming Conversation’
This fleeing from conversation is:
1. Hindering Social-Emotional Development
2. Decreasing our ability to have Conversation
3. Diminishing our capacity for Empathy
*Both Empathy & Conversation are crucial aspects to forming healthy relationships with ourselves, and with others.
Conversation is sometimes hard
Talking to new people is sometimes challenging for certain personalities.
2. Task switching culture has conditioned poor active listening skills required for good conversation.
3. We tend to stay on the surface level within our conversations, while vulnerability is sometimes unnatural, or by chance.
4. We don’t allow ourselves time to learn more about ourselves through conversation, and good questions.
I discovered there is a trend of people that want to cultivate a culture of conversation, community, and being present.
Insight & Validation
My roommate would have housemate dinners every Thursday, and he brought out a jar of questions to catalyze conversation amongst his friends, so it wasn't just, "how was work?".
(Personal Observation, Lived with Nathan for 4 months.)
The current market provides no elegant solutions: only in the form of physical games. The cardboard medium limits game versatility & the amount of game content.
Dining Table & Internal Printer
Hey is a dining table and internal printer that catalyzes conversation through carefully designed printed prompts and questions, to get a group of people into exceptionally entertaining and meaningful conversations. Created for homes & restaurants. Think of it as a “smart question jar”.
Breaks the Ice
If you have someone new to the table - To whatever game you choose. Hey adds a series of silly or provoking ice breaker questions into the questions cue to warm up conversation.
Questions to welcome and warm up conversation.
Deepen the Conversation
Designed for Reflection
Hey creates a series of provoking questions or prompts through script and art. Ranging from categories such as: Relationships, family, career, identity, etc. past experiences.
The prompts are designed to allow the reader to naturally reflect or relate the image or script to their personal experiences. - gently inviting everyone to share important bits of themselves in an intimate and playful atmosphere, that might otherwise go neglected.
Connect to the App
The host can connect to Hey via app at the beginning of a meal or gathering.
They can browse through a number of designed conversational content that the group could collaboratively choose from.
You and your friends could also collaboratively add their own questions into question cues, or edit existing one. Giving you the opportunity to add questions you love, or to just simply want to add - to prank your friends, or family.
Hosts can subscribe to have access to unlimited content that’s constantly updated with new games or prompts such as sponsored content from “The School of Life” or “Cards Against Humanity” to keep the fun and conversation going.
Hey’s uniqueness naturally becomes a conversation starter - allowing you to share the story of the Wyth brand in order to continue cultivating a culture of talk.
A thermal printer rids the need of ink refills, and provides the “physicality” for each prompt. The Cover has a spring loaded button to allow an easy opening experience.
The cover is made from a polyurethane plastic with an exterior silicone mold, protecting the internals from accidental spills.
Charge & Go
For Parties, Restaurants, & Homes.
Easily Assembled & Disassembled
Why a table?
I wanted to create a "physical space" for people to gather around the natural social ritual of eating "together".
The table itself becomes a statement piece that could naturally become a way to share the brand to continue the conversation of "Conversation".
Exploring shapes and forms to capture trend and visual brand language. Also exploring ways the central thermal printer would manifest itself while thinking through ways to protect it from spills.
The image that came to mind was a mouth which became the perfect image when associating it with the idea of “conversation”. It also evoked a humorous yet innocent character that was reminiscent of lips talking.
I explored a few mockups honing the size and ergonomics of grabbing the paper from the central printer. Testing different percentiles of people, and ease of use from each side. For the final model I had the table top done by a CNC machine, and found precision dowels for the legs. I chose Ash wood for both the legs and the top, sanded and then sealed with a wipe on Water-based Polyurethane.
*With the 12 week time frame I mainly focused on the overall story, table design, and user experience. Below are some thoughtful next steps.
Thoughts & What I Learned:
1. Sustainable Approach
Explore more “paper saving” solutions whilst allowing people to be fully engaged with no distractions. Possibly a handheld device with an e-ink display for questions.
Why not have a slot for a phone to be placed to introduce a cultural habit of being present.
Studies & Sources:
2014 study published in the journal Environment and Behavior, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916514539755
Turkle, Sherry. “Stop Googling. Let's Talk.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Sept. 2015