The IxDA’s annual Student Design Challenge took place during Interaction14 in Amsterdam, February 4-8, 2014.
Seven finalists, competing on five teams, were chosen from 72 graduate and undergraduate auditions worldwide to
receive an expense-paid trip to Amsterdam to participate in a 3-day charrette-style competition.
Right to left: Julie Blitzer, Hadar Gava (Domus Academy); Dharmesh Ba, Karan Dudeja (National Institute of Design);
Melody Kim (UC San Diego); Nidhi Jawal (University of the Arts); Kevin Gaunt (Umeå Institute of Design); SDC chairs
Dianna Miller (Fidelity Center for Applied Technology) and Izac Ross (Cooper).
Skye Gilbert (left), Program Officer for Vaccine Delivery, Gates Foundation scoped the challenge for the finalists
during a master class on Tuesday before the start of the conference. She and Alice Konijnenberg, MD of the
Pennywhistle Foundation (Nepal) described the experiences of health workers and families in remote villages.
Finalists from the Gates Foundation’s Records For Life competition joined the Master Class to show their solutions
for the Child Health Record redesign and provide feedback on SDC finalists’ initial design directions.
Kevin Gaunt, from Umeå Institute of Design explains his ideas to Skye Gilbert as Melody Kim works.
He focused on the long wait times mothers experience together while at community health clinics and asked, what if
the women could peer mentor each other around western medical best practices by telling stories about how to
take better care of their children?
He considered how fables are used in the community as a means to pass values and practices, and tested how a
simple mnemonic device might be used by moms to remember and then pass along the story to other women.
To try out the word-of-mouth dynamic, he told conference goers a Zambian story at the SDC Zoo on the first day of
the conference. After hearing the story, conference-goers were given a sticker to put on their badges.
Kevin asked conference goers to repeat the story to anyone who asked about the sticker and tweet back about the
experience. In Zambia, the object might be a necklace with an easily-produced object from local, found materials.
Julie Blitzer and Hadar Gava from Domus Academy began with ideas that addressed how to help mothers with agedependent healthcare and vaccine scheduling in cultures where time and the age of a child isn’t followed as it is in
industrial countries. They explored how to measure infants and the use and distribution of card decks.
From both secondary research done before the challenge and stories from interviews done in the first 36 hours,
Julie and Hadar sketched the persona of a mother in Zambia, one of Gate Foundation’s critical countries to
healthcare delivery. They focused idea generation around her needs at important points in her journey.
On Day 2 of the challengle, they took opportunities to explore the value and feasibility of their concepts with people
who had first-hand experience with the culture and context, like Zenaph Lifio Malafa from Camaroon and Pieter
Knibbe, who ran a hospital in Zimbabwe. Based on feedback, they quickly adapted and evolved their concepts.
They developed a toolkit to with health records and instructional calendar cards that uses tradition to make modern
medicine more accessible.
The kit can be adapted for any region by customizing with key traditional elements to reflect local customs.
Dharmesh Ba and Karan Dudeja from the National Institute of Design were familiar with the needs and issues
surrounding Gates challenge, having conducted primary research in India around the topic.
Their concept uses a calendar with the goddess, Lakshmi—an artifact frequently found in homes—as a touchpoint
for vaccine schedules and healthcare information for new mothers.
The pair synthesized their research during the beginning of the challenge, informed by the criteria Skye Gilbert set
forth during the Master Class.
They ideated how different types of information might be most effectively presented…
…exploring how the calendar dynamically conveys information and how people might respond and interact with
incentive and feedback mechanisms, like tear-off cards and ratings.
Melody Kim from the University of California, San Diego was interested in the use of available and contextually
appropriate technology in remote areas.
From interviews with healthcare providers, including Karlien Bongers, MD and Alice Konijnenberg, MD, she learned
that, while cell phones are increasingly available, they tend to be carried by the men of the community as a sign
Information is shared at community gathering spots, but these places may not be near the health clinic, which can
be miles away, so she focused her concept on a low-cost, two-way radio as an empowering resource to women in
the community: it can be available to access timely health information or emergency instructions on-demand.
She recorded audio on a tablet and inserted it in the paper prototype of the form to enact the “call-in” task flow with
conference-goers. Radio frequencies are readily available and the branded box creates a meaningful object for
women in the community.
The number on the box prompts each woman to call to receive appointments, test results, and other personal
information from the clinic without traveling there. It provides women with a reason to borrow a community brother’s
phone for this purpose.
Nidhi Jawal, from the University of the Arts, worked with mentor John Payne, founding partner of Moment Design
during the Master Class to explore the ecology of actors in a rural Indian community.
Looking at family members’ intentions and actions, she considered how engaging them around child healthcare
might foster better support for young mothers, whose competing priorities often come from not wanting to
disappoint those in authority—such as a mother-in-law whose advice may conflict with medical best practice.
She looked at design interventions at points that would positively support the credibility and status of both mothers
and mothers -in-law.
On Day 2, Nidhi joined other finalists on a trip to the Royal Tropical Institute to meet with public health graduate
students who have experience delivering healthcare on the ground in communities like those where Gates
Foundation is focusing their efforts.
At the SDC Zoo, she tested reward incentives that benefit the entire family, such as providing discounts
on electricity bills.
On Friday, February 7, the student finalists had four minutes each to present their final concepts to a packed room
of Interaction14 conference-goers. On Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the National Maritime Museum, the winners
Skye Gilbert from the Gates Foundation began by announcing the winners of the Records For Life competition, a
year-long, global competition among professionals and students to redesign the child health record.
Next, she announced the winners of the 2014 Student Design Challenge. Winners were chosen by the Gates
Foundation and a jury of eleven interaction design thought-leaders, with the SDC mentors. Each finalist received a
certificate and prizes to help them launch their Interaction Design careers.
Kevin Gaunt — 1st prize
Julie Blitzer and Hadar Gava — 2nd prize
Dharmesh Ba and Karan Dudeja — 3rd prize
Melody Kim — Runner Up
Nidhi Jawal — Runner Up
Thanks to our sponsors who donated prizes:
User Interface Engineering (UIE)