University of Washington
9 weeks — Winter 2019


User Research, Product Design, Filming Lead

project overview

For this project, our team was tasked with designing an experience that would strengthen people's relationships with media collections. By going through the complete design process, we were able to produce MiM, a paired photo-sharing device for parent-child relationships disconnected by distance and generational gaps in culture and technology.

the process

We began our process by conducting various methods of design ethnography with five participants ranging in age, background, and relationship to media in order to ensure that our research would be informed by a diverse audience.

methods used:

• contextual inquiry
• card sorting + think aloud protocol
• photo study


From our interviews, we gained some key insights:

• Digital media was most commonly collected but, physical media carried more sentimental value.

• Smartphones have made interacting with media "too easy," which has allowed people to accumulate large collections of media without intent.

• Having too many photos, drawings, videos, etc. is overwhelming and leads to decrease in creativity.

How might we create a physical and digital experience that makes people feel close to their media again?


Using our new insights, the four of us worked together to generate product ideas that would answer our "how might we" statement.

(They ran the gamut from thoughtful to silly to unsuccessful.)

participatory design

After narrowing down to three distinct product concepts, we trekked through a round of participatory design interviews. The feedback we received was a harsh reality check that our concepts were at best confusing and at worst completely failing to address our prompt.

However, in constructing a typical use case for our product concepts, all our college-age participants imagined their parents. We decided to narrow our focus on strengthening parent-child relationships specifically.


Designing a product for both parents and children meant designing for two completely different backgrounds with technology. A physical product addresses the need for an equally accessible method of communication between two different generations. Blending old and new technology dissolves barriers of intimidation for parents and incorporates an element of nostalgia popular with teenagers today.

final solution

MiM was created as an intentional way to reflect on meaningful moments in a parent-child relationship through combined photo and audio. Scan in a physical or digital photo, add a voice note, and send both to the paired MiM as a polaroid and audio message on the other side. Every polaroid can be reinserted back into MiM in order to hear the message again.