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Speculative Flippers (Prototype)

Change by Design


The assignment was to create a product specifically for one classmate. After an hour-long, deep conversation with Abbey, I was able to learn more about her as a whole person than I would have if I had just asked questions that tried to get to a problem to solve.


I decided to focus on her irrational fear of mermaids grabbing her ankles while she swims in lakes. That point stood out to me because it is unique to her, and I can understand her background around that fear from our conversation.


I usually think of good design as problem-solving that is not really noticed, but designers can also elevate the problem to bring attention to it. Therefore, I decided to explore Abbey’s fear by making light-up flippers. If she feels better when she can see, it is probably a fear of the unknown, and if seeing shadows accentuates the fear, it probably has more to do with her imagination running wild. Either way, she can feel safer with spikes all around the flippers if the need to poke the mermaids arises.

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