Year / Timeline | 2020, 2 weeks
Project | Community school project
My Role | User Reserach, UX / UI Design
Platform | Desktop, Tablet, Mobile
Team Member | Dionne Mok (UX / UI designer), Hyojin Lee (Graphic designer), Funan Fina (Industrial designer)
What is A Bowl of Comfort
Our conceptual project aimed to improve Vancouver's downtown eastside community's disaster preparedness by promoting congee as a food of resilience. We designed a service comprising an emergency cooking kit and a mobile cart to facilitate community practice in the area.
User experience & Interface Design
We employed design methods to simplify complex problems and develop a user-friendly solution. Our resulting service system operates in a cyclical manner, capable of adapting to unpredictable situations.
How can we foster community preparedness and provide cultural-specific comfort activities in advance of unexpected disasters?
How can we equip individuals with emergency resources and create safe spaces during disaster situations?
Disaster Preparedness Kit and Station for the DTES Communities in Vancouver BC
In times of unexpected disasters, people may experience intense and unpredictable emotions, particularly if they lack internet access or are unable to respond promptly. We propose providing workshops and safe spaces that offer training and emotional support for individuals of all backgrounds to prepare for such situations.
Warm, Nourishing, Comforting, Sharing
Let me introduce Congee Project:
A Bowl of Comfort
The prototype begins at the home screen, and then brings awareness to the importance of preparedness for unpredictable disaster in the city.
The website provides multiple language translations for different user cultural backgrounds. Hover on the flag button to switching between different languages.
The service section gives details and information on how the emergency kit and mobile station service works.
Both online and offline guidebook allows user to have a digital copy for individuals and have more accessibility when they don't have a physical copy of the guidebook in-hands.
How did we get there?
What to Design
Growing up in Hong Kong and later in Canada, congee was a familiar and ubiquitous meal for me and my family. While it was often served as a simple, filling option, it also held a special place in our hearts as a source of comfort and warmth, whether we were feeling unwell or simply enjoying a meal together.
I grew up eating rice porridge/congee, and every culture has its version.
We view congee/porridge as a symbol of resilience, as it is a sustainable and widely consumed food across cultures that is easy to prepare. This makes it an ideal food choice for disaster preparedness and for fostering community practices that cater to diverse cultural contexts.
Research ( Question Mapping )
To enhance our design approach for creating a resilience space that caters to the needs of all individuals in the DTES community, we formulated a list of principles to consider before making any decisions.
- Individuals may struggle with decision-making when facing unsettling emotions during an unexpected situation.
- Workshops can educate and empower individuals to prepare for unexpected situations.
- The DTES community is diverse, with individuals from various cultural backgrounds, and language barriers may exist for some members of the community.
Welcome to different cultures, gender, and races/ ethnicity.
Considered usability across the different channels, including saturation without the internet.
Share resilience together as a community.
Understanding what is out there ( a day to forage outside )
Our foraging activities aimed to identify natural resources that could be incorporated into emergency kits for locals. Through thorough research on the types of grains and plant locations in Vancouver, we were able to organize the information needed to include in the emergency kits.
(More research: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12fJRttBdiYyWf9WnsVFQctf6r9_TwNDNQSy8abq3lrE/edit )
- Blackberry could easily be found around the Vancouver area.
- Vancouver rains continuously during seasons. Waters are very rich natural reasons provide many values to our city. We could provide more opportunities to use the rainwater for our communities. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BqQ_KvMeGM)
- Our research revealed the abundance of community gardens in the city, which present an excellent opportunity for communities to engage in environmentally and socially sustainable activities. We believe it is crucial to foster supportive resiliency within communities by providing spaces for such activities, especially during times of disaster.
Mockup for the emergency cooking kit
WorkShop (Before disaster)
The "Congee Day" workshop will run three times a week at 312 Main, offering participants a free congee meal. During the workshop, users can share recipes and ingredients while enjoying a communal meal. Participants can also receive a congee kit at the end of the workshop, which they can replenish with grains until the next workshop.
Mobile Station (During disaster)
The mobile congee station, located at 312 Main, will be staffed by volunteers using grains gathered from participants' congee kits to cook congee. This station will be involved in indoor and outdoor congee-making events, and has been designed to be portable and easily transportable throughout the city. It features rainwater filter storage, cooking pots, and emergency cooking kits.
Solution A: Emergency Cooking Kit
Not only digital but a physical kit will get information to each individual about supplies, available resources, and the importance of the community.
Solution B: Mobile congee cart
The Mobile Congee Cart is actively participating in congee making indoor and outdoor events - it is approaching to design a portable station that can be easily transported to share resilience with the communities.
Solution C: Digital Service
The website provides options to switch languages for the non-English speaking user to minimize barriers to miscommunication.
It was a pleasure to be able to present/showcase our conceptual ideas of "A Bowl of Comfort" to the 312 main & Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs buildings.
We were excited to receive a lot of positive comments from the audience. And we are all proud of delivering the amount of work during a very short period of time. ( two weeks - no joke !)
01. Understand our privilege and how can we make contributions
It was a great privilege for us to use our design skillsets to give back to the community we all love. Realizing how many values we can share with the community.
02. On multi-taksing and time managment
Despite time and resource constraints, we managed the project efficiently by dividing tasks and providing feedback to each other. In the end, we even produced physical print materials for the audience.
03. Game chang·er
I am grateful to have worked with a team that prioritized inclusive design. Our team was diverse, with unique perspectives and skill sets, including an industrial designer, a communication designer, and myself as an interaction designer. Meeting passionate individuals from the same school changed how I approach my design decisions and consider the needs of users beyond my own perspective.
Trying to become a better designer everyday !
Trying to become a better
designer everyday !
© 2022 Dionne Mok - Designed with love and effort