UX Designer

Masters Thesis: The Food Environment

Added on by Erin Reeg.

The Brief: This project will look at access to food in urban areas through the lens of 'environmental design.' This researches how people of low-income status access produce within cities. Design opportunities were found to increase access and buying habits for fresh fruit and vegetables in urban settings. 

Starting Questions: How does access to food affect urban areas? Are peoples buying and eating habits affected by access?

What is the food environment in Glasgow?
 Here is an overview of the food environments within Glasgow.


Research & Strategy:
Desk Research
Volunteering at a community garden
‘Local food’ Workshops
Informal Street Interviews
Formal Interviews
Cultural Prove
Empathic Research

Through the design process, I discovered a few valuable insights. 

  • Within urban areas, there is an underappreciated infrastructure of the corner shop or convenience store that many people rely on for food.
  • When people purchase food out of the home that is when food becomes unhealthy.
  • Buying food tends to happen to the closest store.

This lead me to research convenience store and unearthing their potential. 


Using 'The Plant Union' in a corner shop.

Moving produce from people to stores via website.

Using mobile application to find "The Plant Union" in your local corner shop and seeing what is available. 

Social Design: Design With Colonsay

Added on by Erin Reeg.

We were given the 'Red Fringe of Scotland' as our research field. We used the lens of 'people, place and possibility' to form a process through our research. We used these lenses throughout the project to focus our ideas and cluster our insights.  We began our Desk based research of Colonsay with looking through the lens of ‘place.’ We investigated where was it in relation to other islands, what was there, and how people worked. this helped us to develop our field research approach. 

The Brief: Our project brief was to explore the possibilities for future living and working in Scotland’s’ remote rural areas- The ‘red fridge.’ We chose to base of research on the island of Colonsay in the Southern Hebrides. Colonsay is both remote and rural but accessible enough for our research requirements. What was most interesting to us were Colonsays’ small, stagnant and aging population, unusual educational provision, lack of employment opportunities and the imminent instillation of high speed broadband. Our initial design task will be to predict the kinds of changes the island and its inhabitants will experience on it’s own and in conjunction with encroaching technology in the next 10 years. From then we will propose future forms of living and engagement between people living and working on Colonsay and from there critically evaluate the effects and affordances any design interventions may have going further into the future.

What is Social Capital: This year is the first year where more people live in cities than in rural areas. This means that often, efforts to implement new technologies to rural contexts sometimes get neglected.   

Critically for this project, technology is too often seen as the miracle cure for creating resilient communities. Our approach to will be to seek out the points at which the community is already functioning resiliently, or with strong social capital, before we start to propose interventions to support community resilience. For us, the key to a successful implementation of new technologies lies here. Resilience in a rural and remote island community is about strong networks of shared assets, knowledge and problem solving skills. We hope our research into the future applications of technology to remote, rural Colonsay will inform a wider understanding of technology, connectivity and remote rural island life.


After returning from the field we worked with a design ethnographer to translate transcribed interviews into simplified codes. We clustered these codes into a bank of key insight themes from which we could design distilled snapshot stories. 


  • Population
  • Education & Children
  • Farming
  • Estate vs Community
  • Fish Farm
  • Housing 
  • Employment
  • Connectivity 
  • Community spirit   
  • Heritage
  • Local food
  • Local knowledge 
  • Self sufficiency  
  • New technologies 
  • Tourism
  • Island Character 

Analysis: For Our analysis stage we devised personas and imagined drivers for change. This allowed us to design possible future scenarios for Colonsay and devise opportunity areas to design from. We looked into who might be living on the island in the future, and what that socio-cutural, technological and environmental influences would be, and how they will effect the future.  


Design Aims: Any solution/tool we designed needed to meet the following aims: 

  1. Keep Islanders on the Island
  2. Attract new islanders to stay on the island

We can meet these aims through: 

  1. Establishing where Colonsay is heading
  2. Connecting people
  3. Establishing sustainable economy: new jobs, new businesses
  4. New homes
  5. Self sufficiency through: energy and food security
  6. Improved education provision
  7. Improving access in and out of the island 

Guiding Principals: 

  1.  Design solutions that speak to human moments
  2. Design solutions that enhance but don’t interfere.
  3. Enable networks
  4. Support the island’s long term goals
  5. Recognise that people use services differently
  6. Build on good practice that’s already happening
  7. Build in flexibility for how services can be used
  8. Ensure the solution is community centred.
  9. Mix of online and offline solutions

The final design broke down into two pieces. A online platform for sharing and connecting people called called Colonsay Make and a book called "The Islanders Guide to Everything" that islanders put together periodically within Colonsay Create.

Environmental Design: Govan

Added on by Erin Reeg.

This semester we were set the task with studying Govan, a specific town within Glasgow. We were to look at the physical, social and emotional contexts within Govan and making connections with environmental design and how it can create a project to alter Govan in some way. Some of my preconceived notions of Govan was that it was not someplace you would like to visit within Glasgow, that it was more residential, and “don’t go there at night or by yourself,” so needless to say it does not have the best word of mouth reputation.

Going to Govan for the first time was an interesting experience. Immediately some of the ideas about Govan had washed away and other thoughts came to mind. I thought I would see more people because it was a residential area, or more parks and places to visit. I no longer thought that Govan deserves the reputation that it has, it may not be as friendly as the West End, but it is not as scary as people lead me to believe.

My overall impression backed up my initial research; Govan was very disconnected in place and in spirit from the rest of Glasgow. At a point in history Govan really thrived the remnants of this can be found in the architecture and it’s feeling of grandeur. Talking with the community, the local knowledge of Govans’ past is a point of pride that everyone has. It seems that even though today Govan may feel a bit run down, no one has forgotten what this place once was. What I started to observed is that there was no element connecting the people of Govan, that is was disconnected and there was no place, event, or even story to carry on who Govan was to the community.

Working within a group we choose to create a flag for Govan because we felt that it would be the most concise way of combining the need for a new identity and to address the pride of the past that Govan has for itself. To the community, a flag could be a symbol for everyone, past, present, and future. It would be able to provide an symbol of pride for the residents and workers in Govan, and a reason for the rest of Glasgow to view Govan with a new set of eyes. The flag encompasses many of the ideals we found out through desk based research and what we discovered through observation. 

With the design of the flag we would also incorporate a QR code campaign, where we would hide small sticker flags in places around Govan and when you scanned or texted the code you would learn a fact about Govan. This would create awareness about the flag, but also make it interactive.

As Design Innovation students our methodologies were very helpful and we found out the most important insights by showing up a few times and asking questions. Our methods for talking to people were rather unstructured, very transient ‘hallway’ interviews. They evolved over the course of about three weeks where we were able to create some relationships. We got our beginning insights about what was most important to be part of a Govan flag, and then we each created a few flags within ourselves to be ‘voted’ on by the locals. 


To view full document: click here. 

Service Design: The Lazy Washer

Added on by Erin Reeg.

The Lazy Washer: 

Brief: To create a business based on a laundromat and redesign the service using the methods learned in class. 

Research: The methods used were desk research, first hand experience, observation and primary interviews. 

Objective: To design a service based on research about doing your own laundry in your home or through a laundromat. The service would be to provide  for people who are too busy to do their wash, go to the laundromat, or are just bad at doing wash. The service will work by being able to either drop off your laundry or get your laundry picked up by ‘The Lazy Washer.’ 

The Service: Will either pick up and deliver your wash for a reasonable price in a quick amount of time, or you can bring your laundry into ‘The Lazy Washer’ and pick it up in a short period of time. The demographic is postgrad students and people in the early days of their job where they need the extra time by not doing their laundry. I plan on creating a ‘time-saving experience’ where people who really need some time in their day can get it. It also eliminates the awkward feeling of being in a laundromat, or having to drag your laundry to the laundromat.

This is a  blueprint for the proposed 'Lazy Washer' service. 

Product Design: Fujitsu Cloud Project

Added on by Erin Reeg.

The Brief: 

“How Can The Challenge Posed By Distance, Geographical Separation And Needs, Demands Or Aspirations Of Female Stakeholders Be Tackled By Digital Technology”


We took our rich and many findings and clustered them to identify key insights about the health and well-being of women in Moray. We also tried to identify the larger environmental, sociocultural and technological drivers and they impact they have on people’s lives...

  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Close communities
  • A great place to raise kids
  • High rates of teen pregnancy
  • Poor sex education
  • Bad access to sexual health services
  • Lots of teen drinking and drugs
  • Bullying and racism
  • Teen violence
  • Prevalence of domestic abuse
  • Limited job opportunities
  • Old fashion attitudes towards women
  • Dispersed families
  • Poor communication between generations
  • An aging population
  • Bad transport links
  • Good opportunities within foundation
  • Stigma around the foundation
  • Pioneering health innovation
  • Limited access to specialist health care
  • Loneliness

Analysis:  We translated our findings into personas to better illustrate what impact the key drivers have on peoples lives. We then projected these personas 10 years into the future to think about how Moray might change and what new challenges these people might face as time goes on.

Each persona thus created an “Opportunity Area” for design intervention, and different ways of looking at how the cloud might manifest itself in that context. We then focused on two of these personas, the rig workers wife and the far away parent. We took a closer look at their lives because they encompassed much of what was happening in the lives of the women in moray. 

Far Away Parents: The cloud could: Monitor people’s health and provide a way for families to connect and support each other around health issues, support people to live independently by connecting them to health care as and when they need it, collect and compute information to be used for medical purposes as well as to notify family members about how they can help and support their loved ones in health and staying well. 

Rig Workers Lives:  The cloud could: become a platform for communication between children and their parents. The cloud could provide a platform that evolves over time with the changing abilities and relationships between family members. The cloud could become a way to have intimate contact with the ones you love across vast distance. The cloud could become a place for people to feel at home when they are far from home.

 Future Direction: 

How might the cloud provide an evolving platform to support family connections over long distance throughout the challenges of their lifetime - Engage dads to participate in family life over distance and reduce the emotional burden on mum left at home. Supporting elderly relatives to live independently and diffusing the stress and anxiety felt by their care givers. 

Final Concepts: 

During the creating stage, our process lead us into making more in depth sketches about a few final concepts. These sketches helped us to figure out how the cloud could be used, the impact on family, and how each object would function. We started to look at each idea in more detail, how it connects to the cloud, and what was the goal of the product.