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Robert van Dijk's personal portfolio website
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User Interface Design

Sample of User Interface Design

User Interface design wireframes used to communicate internally

I have also been heavily involved with user interface concept for multiple devices. A product with a flexible display and notably one based on e-ink, needs extra attention to create a sensible interaction between the user and the device.

Technology Demonstrators

Images of different demonstrators and a CAD model of one of them

Two different technology demonstrators showcased

The Technology Polymer Vision creates is understandable enough, but when really trying to implement this technology, a bit more work is indeed needed. This has mostly to do with the fact that rollable displays do need a product around themselves, as a separate item they are nothing if not a very flexible sheet of plastic that could be easily damaged. It’s therefore of importance to make sure that some kind of a device or shape is created to allow for both transporting demonstrator displays and showing how they could be applied.

The Book Prototype

Detail photo of the book prototype

Here a detailed Photo of the book prototype can be seen. This prototype integrates batteries, chipsets, flexible display and mechanics in a fully working prototype.

Wrap devices have one slight problem; they are less user-friendly than some other alternatives such as this concept. The book concept was born on one (very!) long summer day in 2009 as a concept for a big potential client at that time. This prototype is the culmination of several years of work afterwards and it is fully working, meaning that it runs Android, is fully mobile, with a custom User Interface I designed and integrates electronics as well as a battery. And of course it is equipped with a rollable display.

I created the CAD models together with a colleague and oversaw production at an external partner using CNC and conventional milling. I was also the guy to then assemble the final concept. Two were built; so that if one would be off to customers, another is available in-house.

View of the book prototype, showing cad components

I created this image to show the cad model that was the basis for the book prototype.

Polymer Vision’s Vision Movie


 

Polymer Vision’s vision was created to show what Polymer Vision stands for; to be able to have devices with big screens in a pocketable format. Recent developments of mobile phones (Galaxy Note anyone?) becoming bigger and bigger prove the point exactly; if the device doesn’t fit into a pocket it will be very difficult to capture the hearts of the mass market.

I made this movie from scratch; modelling was done in Solidworks and animation in Modo. I also designed the book-like product that appears half-way through the movie. It was part of a conceptual study toward new product forms and finishes.

Zen and the Art of Equalising


2005 – With Ivo Vos & Michel Peeters

We probably all know someone who is an absolute audiophile; someone who spends a fortune on the most brilliant audio system money can buy. This system is built for that person: it uses analog sensors to measure columns of water and adjust the equalizer accordingly. The audio lover then has the ability to fill the column with a bucket, or using a pipette. The product challenges our obsession with specifications and triggers a discussion of the value of dynamic, living systems; the water in the columns evaporates over time, requiring the audiophile to constantly adjust his system, to keep it optimally tuned.

We divided the frequencies in bass, mid tones and treble. Each water pillar represents one of these ranges. By changing the water levels in the pillars the sound is adjusted. The interaction is based on the process of equalizing; a loop with ever smaller circles. You start with a rough estimation of the right levels using big glasses to pour large amounts of water. You then go into detail using the smaller glasses and taps to tinker the sound further. Finally – for the real audiophiles – use precision instruments like the pipette for sublime precision. The choice for water as a medium makes these analogue and precise adjustments possible.

Adding flowers in the pillars turns the product into a combination of a vase and equalizer. The water-drinking flowers would add an interesting natural dynamic to the system. I mostly focused on the electronics and prototyping work for this project.

Religio

2006 – Solitary Project – For Benedictine Monastery Mamelis, Mamelis, Netherlands

For this project, I spent a week in a monastery in the south of the Netherlands. My goal was to find out what made people enter the monastic life and investigate whether it was possible to improve their lives in any way. I spent four days living with the monks and experiencing their way of life, using shadowing and interviewing research techniques.

A monk cleaning the halls. Ritual and productivity are important aspects of Benedictine life.

In the end, this actually proved to be quite difficult, as the benedictine monastic life is very much focused on a minimalist lifestyle. There was however the possiblity to create a ritual with the light in the church. I decided to design a new interface for the monks to control the lighting in their monastic church. I adressed issues such as symbolism in design, minimalism and the role of the rituals in the masses.

The main hall of the church, designed by Van Der Laan.

On a panel the atmosphere of the church could be set and stored in objects that could be carried to  the areas where the monks prayed and where this setting could be activated.

The basic solution that was available. This system allowed for a lot of improvement in terms of ritual, usability and to a certain extent even spiritual meaning.

One of the storage blocks. This was part of a larger system where the lighting ritual could be ' programmed' and animated during the masses,

Rituals

2003 – with Remy, Michel Peeters, Lorin Hendriks, Ivo Vos, Bas Groenendaal for Philips & Sphinkx

Project Rituals was an actual joint project by Philips and Sphinkx where the two companies explored new technological concepts for bathrooms.  We as students were asked to develop new ideas.  My most important input in the early stages of the project was choosing a variant on video observation as a user research technique.

Our problem was that it was very difficult to follow users in their own usage contexts, as bathrooms are very private environments, integral to the user observation technique. My variation was to take the context to the users, building a mobile ‘babble box’ in a bathroom context and walking into the centre of Eindhoven with it. In the city centre we asked people to talk to the video what kind of strange things they did in their bathrooms. The very rich results were then used as input for generating ideas. Final result were 200 proposals, divided up into different themes for the bathroom environment. In that latter phase I joined in creating the visualizations and the final presentations to the clients – which were quite happy with the result as it turned out.

Cooking Event


2005 – Solitary Project – For Siemens Netherlands

Project cooking event was performed in in collaboration with Siemens Netherlands. The project focused on involving users more in the kitchen, something Siemens was seeing was being reduced around the world. First focus of the project was interviewing users in their kitchens as well as experts about the changing culinary landscape in the Netherlands. Based on this I designed an interactive product for easily and intelligently selecting recipes. I wrote the software for the device as well, in C# and C.net. This was a learning multiple agent system, that built up knowledge from the selections that a user made and would adapt its behavior accordingly.

A basic wireframe for the final software as develop for this project

Utopia

One of the users using the final concept product

2004 – Solitary Project – TU/e

The Utopia project focused on what happens when we all get old. I investigated how this influenced people when they went on retirement and how they lived their lives and what made their lives tick. I interviewed multiple people about their retirements and then created a puzzle that converted the puzzle inserted into a translation of the person’s mood.


Polymer Vision Website

2011 – at Polymer Vision

With Polymer Vision’s acquisition by Wistron, the company needed a new website. I created a very simple to-the-point website that showed recent news and allowed the company to once again have a channel to the outside world.

Money Stove

2006 – Solitary Project for Anthony Dunne (Dunne & Raby)

The result of this mini-project was a conceptual discussion product. How much do we really value intangible things? We turn on our water faucets without caring and drive many miles to work each day. What if resources would limit us much more than they do now? The money stove does exactly that; it burns bills and generates electricity to power exactly one appliance that we really care for; forcing us to make a choice and drastically rethink the way we use our natural resources.

Readius.com – Graphic Design

2008/2009 – with Volker Verschoor – at Polymer Vision

The readius.com website was designed to sell the readius product. Several design choices were made for this website, namely similarity to the product, therefore very simple in structure, several returning product design features, such as the navigation bar at the top which was similar to the readius product design.