IDEO & Studio 360 <em>Redesigns Series</em> Brings Back the Fun in Design
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Here’s an unexpected partnership between radio and design, a union formed under the goal of (re)discovering joy in the most lifeless and mundane tasks, a challenge posted every Monday over the airwaves of PRI and WYNC. Designers at IDEO and weekly public radio program Studio 360 invite listeners of the Redesigns series to challenge designers with their most “joyless moments”. The best of the worst are then chosen to be rethought and redesigned with the sensation of joy as a primary factor in the user experience. The results are products and technologies which reroute around our boring adult and tap back into our fun-loving inner child:




Popup+Notify: PopUp is a calendar app with fun in mind, developed to notify users not only about scheduled appointments, but overlooked opportunities for discovery or fun nearby during these meetings. The accompanying app uses a palette of colorful notifications, while the Notify hardware component turns intrusive notifications into a more pleasant one: it produces a bubble each time something on your calendar requires your attention.




Sincerely: Tapping the wells of nostalgia, Sincerely is a Bluetooth-enabled update to the old cans-on-a-string setup designed specifically with the dread of Monday in mind. Sincerely app prompts users to record a simple “thank you” message on Sunday to someone you care about and then delivers it on Monday morning. The designers took the idea of happiness even further by making the cord+tail literally wag whenever a message is awaiting for a listen.




Lolzzz: Nobody enjoys waking up to the annoyance of a traditional alarm clock, so IDEO’s team decided to rethink the process of being woken up. Instead of an electronic beep or simulated chime, the Lolzzz awakens users with the giggles and uncontrollable laughter of a child. The designers note when we hear laughter, our brain wants to join in…instead of snooze and roll over back to sleep. The Lolzzz rocks back and forth while filling the room with laughter; users can tickle the clock’s “belly button” to increase the sound of laughter.

More about Studio 360’s Redesign and Making Mondays Joyful series here.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at