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My Role

6 weeks, 2018

Service Designer (concept, research, brand identity, data visualization)


Oyster Lab


Alessa Gassmann (concept, research, web + app design)

Carlo Natter (concept, research, video design)

Michael Schonenberger (concept, research, video design)


In collaboration with Oyster Lab, we were to design a digital experience of a communication service for millennial families made up of step parents and step children, also known as patchwork families.


A multi-touchpoint service allowing users to play smart games within their own four walls, while creating emotional connections with each other.


Understanding the user

We started with researching what exactly made up a patchwork family (children, step children, parents and step parents) and the problems they faced.

Interviews with the user

To better understand first hand experiences of patchwork families, we reached out to people and interviewed them on the challenges they faced.

Finding places of need

With a better understanding of our users, we created an experience map of some of our focus characters. We flagged places where the user was faced with a problem involving their new family and life.

Researching existing services

Our goal was to help an aspect of patchwork families that was not yet as fully explored, so we looked at existing services available to users to identify what was being covered, and where there could be improvements.

Identifying places of improvement

Finally, we identified areas of improvement and explored possible ideas.

Potential solutions

Concept Development

Personas and how might we's.

We spent an ideation session developing our personas, so we had a clear understanding of our end user. In addition, we discussed potential how might we statements, to centralize the problem we were looking to solve, finalizing on “How might we help a patchwork family to get along so they can feel at home”.

Patchwork family problems
Patchwork family experience

To dive deeper into understanding our personas, we took our main persona, and outlined his day identifying situations, problems, and experiences.

Innovation gaps

We then took the problems we had identified from our persona’s day and came up with potential solutions.

Focusing our service

From our ideas, we came up with a focus on a service that will help to bring a new family closer together, and that creates a new home for them in a playful way. We explored a couple ideas to accomplish this, finally focusing on one with potential; a smart game within the home.

Usability testing

Before diving deeper into our solution, we first tested our solution with a group of participants. We created mock smart home group activities for them, and watched how and when they interacted to solve them. We found that our participants worked together to solve the various challenges.

Finalizing the Concept

Smart home games.

After our success with the usability tests, we finalized our concept of having games that would interact with smart home objects. The games would be chosen and controlled by a corresponding app. We looked to escape rooms for coming up with concepts of the games, for example, the lights turning out and challenging the user to solve a puzzle to turn them back on. Our games focused on group activities that would be impossible to do without multiple players, allowing our families to interact and connect over a common challenge.

Service offered

Finalizing the Service

The renting service

In order to allow users without smart objects to play the family games, along with introduce them to a smart home, we decided the best plan of action was to set up a rental service for smart objects, with the option to buy the items at the end of the rental.

Finding the smart object

We researched several smart home providers, but decided myStrom would be the best to get connected with. myStrom offers a wide range of everyday and interconnected smart products, key to our design.

Action plan
Coming up with a rental cost

As for the cost of the rental service, we considered several different factors when coming up with our prices.

Action plan going forward

Finally we came up with the plan moving forward, and what would need to be done in order for this concept to become a reality.

Finalizing the Design


Our focus was not as much on the brand at this earlier stage, but we did come up with a bright color and a fun logo to get started.

Patcher logo

For the rental service, and introducing the smart games, we mocked up a website with the various offerings on it.


We also mocked up the smart game app, as this was key to selecting and playing the smart games within your home.

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