Interactive Element Research


When looking at the design of the interactive box, this is going to be very important as I need to consider different factors to ensure that it is effective. One key factor is that it is compact, this is so it is easy to take around and also has keeps all of the interactive elements together. I think that all three of the boxes above are compatible which is an element I like. I really like the interactivity of the top left hand box, the way that it is a compact small box, but opens out into something more ambitious. Whilst I think that this is interactively effective, I do not think that it would communicate that well to people with aphasia. The reasoning for this is that they need more simplistic packaging approach as simplicity is an important way to communicate effectively. I think that the bottom right hand design would be effective as it would be simple and also easy to make. However by just having one large container, all of the interactive elements would be loose. Therefore, if I could incorporate compartments into it, like the left hand image then this could improve the design. This is because I can locate each element a space to provide clarity which could help when communicating to people with aphasia.


Prior to research into brochure design, I like the idea of having an educational brochure which would demonstrate how to communicate with someone with aphasia effectively. And then on the back would open up onto a poster, by doing this it provides more meaning design. Above I have looked at three different brochure designs to help influence me. They are all quite simplistic and focus on hierarchy, I think that this is very important as it helps the audience navigate effectively.

Flash Cards

Flashcards are an effective method of communication and are primarily used to help children communicate. They are so widely used as an early form of communication because they work so well. Although, because of being associated with a children’s way of learning, flashcards could come across as quite patronising and could insult someone with aphasia as their intelligence is not effected. Therefore, I need to think of a way I can design flashcards without them looking to childlike. The reason why I want to include flashcards is because they are so effective, this may help family and friends communicate with the person with aphasia well. Above I have gathered three example of different approaches which could be used the influence me. The first is graphically strong images, I like the way that the prints don’t look that childlike. Although, it could be argued that they are quite abstract. This style may be difficult for everyone to define the image unless it is very clear, otherwise the communication could be lost. I quite like the middle image as it is taking a realistic photo and manipulating the image to look more like a print. I think that this is an interesting approach that I could look into further. The final one I have looked at is the imagery from headspace designs which are aimed to not be targeted at a specific age range. I really like this although I am not a strong illustrator, because of this I think that the flashcards are going to be the most challenging aspect. For me to create visually strong images which communicate well, and not look childlike will take a lot of experimenting.

Stress Ball

The idea for the stress ball is for the person with aphasia to use whilst they are thinking of what they want to say. By having an interactive object to use whilst they are thinking is a way of hopefully reducing their frustration. If this is successful this may create a more effective way of communication and allow them to improve their thinking process. I’ve included some images of stress balls as I could just have it as a plain stress ball, not focusing on the design of it but more of the function. Or I could try and visually connect it to the condition, for example the stress ball of the brain. Although, I think this will be a later though once I’ve created a house style.

Cue Cards

When doing research into aphasia, I looked at things that can help people with aphasia communicate, and things that don’t help. One thing that I felt way important is interrupting someone with aphasia can make it more difficult for them and interrupt their train of thought. But prompting them can also help as it can help them describe what they are thinking of. Therefore, I thought that question cards could be effective. If I have one cue card that said ‘please wait whilst I think’ and another saying ‘can you help me think of the word’. Could make it easier for family and friends to assist with a more effective communication with the person with aphasia.

White Board & Pen


The idea of the white board and pen is very simple but I think that this is very effective and would be useful in the interactive kit. Whilst some people may struggle to draw, this is also an object that the family and friend could use to help communication. If the person with aphasia is finding it difficult to explain or find the words, drawing may help this. This will not need a lot of designing, by the idea I think is very important. By using a whiteboard and pen rather than a notepad and pen may be more useful as it is compatible and won’t leave loose pieces of paper lying around.


Idea Development & Feedback

Feedback From Wendy

Due to me being unwell, I missed the tutorial with Ian and Wendy on Monday to discuss our initial idea’s. Therefore, I went to meet Wendy as I needed some clarification that I was on the right tracks. I showed her my initial idea’s and I had really positive feedback which I was happy with. She liked my idea of the interactive box and the way that I am focusing on a smaller target audience to construct a stronger concept. She did say that I had so many idea’s that I needed to narrow them down to think of a simplified idea. This is so I can then build on the core idea and will allow me to keep focus within the project.

Therefore, this has taken me to deciding on the idea of an interactive box called ‘Thinking Time’ which would focus on people with aphasia’s journey of thinking time. The purpose of the design would be to make people with aphasia feel that it’s okay to take a little bit longer at communicating. But also educating the target audience on how to communicate effectively to people with aphasia, and reinforcing the importance of thinking time. I am currently going to focus on the interactive box communicating to family and friends, but the concept can then be applied to the other target audiences. For example the concept of the box would be the same, but the objects inside could be slightly different if it was communicating with a health care professional.

Feedback From The Mentor

Going into the tutorial with Charlotte my mentor, I felt confident with my idea after discussing it with Wendy. But I was slightly worried that I have not yet come up with any visuals. Although, Charlotte said that if you have visuals the client can be drawn away from the idea and focus more on how it will look. Therefore, I thought that rather than creating any designs to show the client the visual style. I could mock up an example of an interactive box so they could understand the interactive element more clearly, as I think that this is something very important.

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Feedback From The Client

Our client Abdul was unable to make the client meeting, therefore the head of stroke hub, Phillip stepped in. He wasn’t very familiar with the brief, but we gave him a quick summary and all pitched him our ideas. It was very helpful meeting with Phillip as he is an expert in the field so he opened our eyes to many situations and scenarios which we haven’t yet tight about. When I pitched my idea to Phillip I was very happy with his response and feedback. He said that it seemed like a very effected method for early stage of recovery. Although, he has worries that as recovery time would progress, this interactive box would no have much use as they may exceed this level of help for communication. I hadn’t yet thought of this and it was very clear that this may happen. Although, I think that this could also show the success of the resource. As the aim is to normalise the fact that people with aphasia may need more thinking time, and this is to support this. Therefore, if they then exceed this level of communication then it could be argued that the purpose of the design has been successful.

Phillip mentioned how he liked the way that I was using techniques that have proven that they work. But by bringing them together is something which he thought would be effective. One of the interactive elements that he questioned were the flashcards, this is because he questioned whether it could be patronising. The reasons for this is that flashcards are used as a tool to help children communicate, so he said I have to be careful that it doesn’t look childlike. But he also said that the reason why children use them is because they work for early stages of communication. Because of this feedback, I am going to stick with the idea of flashcards as they can be effective. But I need to focus on the images being sophisticated enough that they don’t look childish, creating a negative representation.

Reflecting on all of the feedback that I have received, seems to be a very positive reaction to my idea and concept. When explaining it to different people I have had a lot of responses back from it which suggests it is generative idea. The way that when I explain the idea, people have come up with more idea’s or questioned how it would function suggests that they can see the possibility of the idea. This has given me a lot more confidence in the idea, and the positive feedback has inspired me that it answers the brief well and has a lot of potential to be applied further.

From this feedback I am going to make sure that I keep the idea simplified and don’t expand on it too much. This is important as the concept could be lost if I am too ambitious. If I come up with clear visuals and concept then it should clearly show how the idea can be expanded on to reach a larger target audience. I think that it would benefit the design if I stuck with the interactive elements that I have thought of and do research into existing ones. This is because I will be able to see what works and what doesn’t, as well as starting to spark idea’s for the design elements.

Initial Ideas

The research which I have explored so far in the project has led me to developing some initial ideas. Now that I have formed a creative PoV I can focus on thinking of an effective way to communicate to family and friends of those with aphasia. When I have formed a strong concept this can then be expanded on to target a wider audience. Below is a mind map of some initial ideas to help communicate my creative point of view. From my research I have understood that there are two type of Aphasia and both of these can require different approaches to help aid the condition. Therefore, I would like to create a concept that will be effective for people with both conditions as their symptoms may over lap.

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From the initial idea’s I felt that the strongest idea was the interactive box. This is because I think that the interactive element is a good way to connect people with aphasia and family/friends. It is also a way that I can incorporate other interactive idea’s into the box. What goes into the box can be personalised but is also compact and easy to take around.

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The interactive box would be used to support people with both types of aphasia. The educational booklet’s purpose would be educating family and friends how to communicate effectively to someone with aphasia. The white board & pen could help people with aphasia and family/friends to draw or write if they can’t think of the words or have trouble explaining. Whilst people with aphasia find that hand gestures work well, yes & no flashcards could make it easier for them to respond to closed questions. And having something physical may make it more interactive. An object to interact with whilst thinking of words, could help to relax them and stop them getting as frustrated. Whistled/Buzzer that makes a noise could be used to notify someone if they want to speak or have a problem but can’t get the words out. Que cards could be used for asking the person to wait whilst they think of the word or help them think of a word. This can help the family member know when to support the person with aphasia, and not interrupt. A pack of cards with images on communicating emotions, food, greetings etc. This could be in a form of a booklet, flashcards, or like a 52 pack of cards. An app that supports the interactive box could also work alongside the box that would include a computer voice. Technology helps aid recovery but by having this as an addition alongside the box, doesn’t isolate people who cannot afford or easily use technology. There is a possibility of including a collectable container to gather objects which people with aphasia find helps them communicate words more effictley, this individuality can help personalise the interactive box. These initial idea’s show the versatility of the interactive box, and how this can be adapted to form a more effective communication.

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Forming my PoV

I have looked at two grey’s anatomy episodes that have an example of aphasia in them. Whilst this isn’t a completely accurate source as it is a fictional tv drama. It is based on the medical profession and medical issues, which provides some accuracy. Both of these video’s show the first discovery of aphasia and the different reactions by the person with aphasia, the family and the health care professionals. These are all the people that my brief is aimed at.

This video shows an example of a person who can understand but cannot talk.s. This discovery shows the panic and frustration that the patient experiences as she must feel trapped. The fact she is 27 reinforces the fact that it can happen to people at any age and is not just a condition that effects older people. The anger and upset shown by the family highlights how family and friends can be affected by the condition.

In the second video it shows a slightly different experience of aphasia. The patient can say some words but he struggles to think of specific words. Because of this it also shows the frustration and upset of the family member. The doctors states how recovery is possible but the family member needs to be patient and provide support.

Both of these videos show the importance of the family members understanding the condition and providing support. This is because it is a condition which can be treated or improved on through the use of therapy. Therefore, if the patient has a good support system it can help with the patients recovery and giving them positivity.

The brief has given a very large target audience of health care professionals, clinicians, hospital staff, family, friends and public who work with people with aphasia. It is very difficult to communicate with this range of people as it is basically targeting everyone. Therefore after a discussion with Neil and Maris I have decided to narrow it down to a smaller demographic. This is because it will give me a more concise point of view that I can focus on. Therefore, after watching these videos I have decided to communicate specifically to people with aphasia’s family and friends. The reasons for this is I think if they have an effective way of communicating with family and friends it can help aid recovery. It can also help to their psychological and mental well being. Therefore, if this means of communicating is effective with friends and family, it could also be developed to communicating with other demographics.

Tutorial with Neil

The tutorial with Neil was very helpful and gave me clarity on what I should be focusing on at this stage in the brief. We discussed how it is difficult to approach the brief when we haven’t yet spoken to our client or haven’t left an email address. Even though we have read the brief, it would still be useful to have a discussion with to answer any of our questions. But Neil advised us that in this case he thinks it is important for us to approach the brief with our own response so we can form a strong point of view. Three things for myself to consider when forming my PoV is;

Encounter – This of the target audience and where we can find these people. Whilst the brief is targeted at health care professionals and lay people. It’s important to remember that even though it looks like these are two separate categories of people. At the end of the day, when they do not have a label, they are all just people.

Attention – The experience that the person your communicating tour there fore.

Empathy – How well you have understood those with aphasia and the people your communicating to.

Creating a clear PoV will help to fulfil the objective of communicating effectively. But not only this, focusing on what will interest the people I am communicating with. The reason for this is, if people enjoy the thing they are interacting with, then they will communicate with it easily. An example of this Neil gave is of people with difficulty moving their fingers. Physiotherapy isn’t that successful as not everyone takes the time out of their day to do the exercise to help aid recovery. Although, when they were taught magic tricks they gained the mobility in their hands. This is by the way they were always learning new tricks so constantly moving their hands without even thinking about it helping them recover. I found this extremely interesting as it shows a more interactive and enjoyable method can see so many more benefits. This is one of the reason’s why I find Neil’s workshops so useful. The way that he gives examples that are not directly linked to your topic helps to spark new idea’s that you can take away to apply to your project.

Challenging Assumptions

The workshop with Wendy today we focused on challenging assumptions to expand our creative thoughts. In teams we thought of the worst ways we could communicate our topic. As a group we had a variety of different bad idea’s, but we decided to collectively combine them to communicate the journey of bad idea’s. This was a hypothetical idea which would never work and some could be argued as offensive. But by thinking of the worst way to communicate aphasia it has shown us of an approach we do not want to do. The idea of having a reality tv show and forcing people with aphasia to participate in language based challenges and activities could be seen as very difficult for people with aphasia. It could also make them feel very uncomfortable and pressured. But some of these tasks could actually be a way of improving their communication and possibly could help with recovery. This activity has shown me that by tackling the same topic but with a different approach, you can come up with very different outcomes. I think that this is useful as I still don’t have an idea for the project, so by participating in these workshops I am able to try different techniques and hope that it gives me a creative spark for the project.


Mentor Feedback

Our first mentor meeting was with Charlotte where we had a Skype call as she was away working in London. We sent her the brief prior to the meeting which was beneficial as we didn’t have to spend time explaining it to her. The group and myself were all at similar stages which was helpful as she was giving us group advice rather than at individual stages. We had all completed the creative brief and research into aphasia, although has none of us had any initial idea’s on the project. So this lead to our main question, how do you help with creative block!?

She starting by giving us tips on where to take the project next and some idea’s for creative block. The first was to consider when creating idea’s and concept to try and not isolate anyone. Whilst aphasia is mainly a condition in older people, anyone else can get it so beware of this. Therefore, whilst technology can help aid recovery, consider that an older person may not be as competent using technology, and that can also be an effective method. Another is she would recommend thinking of something small and compact as if they need to carry it round it needs to be suitable for this.

Charlotte suggested to think about how mapping out your journey can help with communication. She pointed out that usually some games you don’t even need the instructions to understand how to play it. This can be an effective method as the design will have to be easily used and communicated. She also suggested to think of a way you communicate with people who speak a different language, or children who haven’t quite learnt to talk. Something which can help communicate through icons and image can be effective as they are universal so communicate well enough on their own without any words.

To help creative block Charlotte recommended using a creative thinking technique called Lotus Blossom. This way we can start with a word and then think of associations to try and expand our creative thoughts. After our Skype call Maris and Myself went away and decided to try the lotus blossom technique. We started with the word ‘language’ as we thought that this is an important element of aphasia. Using this technique expanded our ideas and we came up with words which could be linked to language and aphasia, but we may have never come up with otherwise. Hopefully this will help further my research and idea process. It was nice meeting Charlotte and I’m excited to be working with her throughout the project. The way that she suggested how she would approach the brief and different thinking techniques has really helped me to push through my creative block and give me a sense of direction.