Seround

A Multifunctional Cooking Appliance.

A Modern Approach

Designed for the small modern family, Seround tackles the issue of space management in our ever shrinking living areas. The combination of grilling, slow cooking, and other practices into one static form factor provides an encompassing user experience within a single, sleek product.

An Innovative Shift

User interaction with the product is mainly facilitated via the display dial. The integration of tradition turning actions and an innovative shift action affords intuitive and thorough user control. In total, three different actions are needed to navigate the entirety of the interface: Shift, Turn, and Click. 

Simple & Clean

The interface was designed to be simplistic, intuitive, and thorough. The issues of ambiguous signals and oversimplified controls were addressed through a series of fluid icons and colour assisted signifiers. A combination of these result in a aesthetically pleasing and informative control scheme.

Hidden Functionalism

One of the main design goals during the development of Seround was consistency of form. As a result, a mechanism needed to be developed that would be able to accommodate a variety of insert depths without compromising the overall height of the product. A system was developed where a spring with a high elastic limit constantly pushes the heating element against the bottom of the insert.

User Empowerment

Modularity and repairability are present in order to combat planned obsolescence. Access to all major components are straight forward, with the spring mechanism and dial being easily removable from the body. Users can manually fix or return specific parts for repair, preventing excess waste generation in the case of a part malfunctioning. 

DESIGN PROCESS

Market Reseach

Multiple findings were made during initial market research, including design consistencies between both product types regarding shape, operating principles, and design decisions. These findings led to the identification of issues that that needed to be solved.

Several issues were identified during and after market research. Both categories of existing products were built to be inaccessible for repairs. This prevents users from controlling the lifecycle of the product and thus facilitating wastefulness. Signifiers were also in need of improvement, as the lack of feedback for environmental conditions was noted. Lastly, the size of each individual product is tolerable, but possessing many will cause issues with storage.

Ideation

1/4

Concept development started with research into nature and the potential translation of biological elements into the product's design. Signifiers and Modularity were the main focuses within this study, and were carried into conceptual ideation. Form, user interactions, and mechanical principles were explored and partially refined within this stage, providing a good base on which to build ideas.

Prototyping

Spring Mechanism

A mechanism prototype was created to test the primary use scenario of such a system. Cardboard and paper were used.

Size, Shape, and Interactions

An early full scale model was created to test different aspects of the design. This would later be used in user testing.

User Testing

Various aspects of the design were tested with users. This included the dial shape, navigation, interface, coloured rings, and handles. input was recorded and referred to during design refinement.

1/5

Final Model

While creating a final design, design language, ergonomics, user interface, and more were refined. The dial shape was changed to the most preferred thickness, body handles adjusted to a semi recessed design, UI included more indicators, and interaction points were indentified.

Process

Creating the looks-like model was an enjoyable process. The main body of the model is made of bass wood due to its low weight, cost effectiveness, and workability. The body was created on a hand lathe, and was finished with a planer and sand paper. The handle recession was milled out, and the handle and dial protrusions were hand crafted with medium density foam. The loose parts were put together with polyurethane glue, and DRYDEX was used to fill in cracks and surface transitions. The dial itself was made in SolidWorks and printed with an FDM printer. The dial cover was laser cut from acrylic. Finishing required a layer of primer and spray paint. 

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© 2020 by Nathan Siu