Human Centered Design

4 min readSep 20, 2021

Team: Vivian Omondi, Julia Wang, Jessie Mindel, Alex Keming Gao, Oscar Chan, Joanne Ma, Benal Johnson, Akash Mahajan


We observed that our collection of thoughtless acts were of objects that were re-purposed to hold something that designers did not intentionally create affordances for in the objects’ original design. We identified the ways in which users adapted objects to meet particular needs, and brainstormed design opportunities for extending the observations made.

From left to right: beer bottle cap earring, watch, Uggs napkin holder, tied bag on bike + helmet, clothes hanging + banana rod

Object 1: Bottle Cap Earring

  • Observation: uses beer bottle top as earrings; this feels more intentional as in popular culture, grape soda bottle caps are turned into pins/badges
  • Innovative idea: bottle cap mechanical keyboard or musical instrument for its smooth and clicky surface. Other objects like hot sauce packets and teeth floss can also be turned into earrings. Waste as fashion — turning trash into art.

Object 2: Bedframe watch holder

  • Observation: Watch hanging the bed as an alarm clock. The watch has a strap that is normally loose and flexible, but then can be molded and made rigid into a fixed shape
  • Innovative idea: User is finding different ways of hanging things. Inspired by the flexibility of the watch band: slap-wrist bands, moldable flexible play-dough like substance that is strong enough to be shaped and used as a hook or vessel used to hold the items

Object 3: Uggs napkin holder

  • Observation: user might have presumed that the interior of their boot was cleaner than the baseball field bench, so they stuffed their napkin (presumably used, but not completely soiled) into their boot so they would continue using it. Alternative narrative is that the user did not want to litter and stuffed the napkin in their boot and accepted the consequences of being environmentally conscious on a small scale.
  • Innovative idea: utility boots, with pockets, organizers, and

Object 4: plastic bag tied to bike; helmet buckled to bike

  • Observation: the helmet that would ordinarily hang from the bike by the strap can be clicked into the handlebar or wheel via a slot in the top
  • Innovative idea: modular bike containers for holding objects like bike helmets and plastic bags (bags can be secured with bungee cords, easy-to-access mesh pockets (like a pannier, but can be extended according to biker’s anticipated load for the day)

Object 5: scarves hanging from clothes hanger; banana and towel rod

  • Observation: hangers are meant for tops/shirts/outwear and objects that can be folded and supported by the bottom rung; banana rod is a slightly worse iteration of what currently already exists, a banana fruit hanger
  • Innovative idea: lazy susan scarf holder
example of a banana hanger

Our most innovative solution

Inspired by other design solutions like lazy susan fridge organizers and sewing needle organizers that have small slits so only your desired needle can be removed (by tipping out the side with the opening), the “lazy susan” scarf holder holds scarves and clothing on either walls or closets. Its ability to spin on a wall to a preferred scarf or clothing item makes it convenient for the user to see what items are available. We included constraints like designing for limited vertical and horizontal space in a closet or on a wall, with the ability to support multiple clothing items. Further consideration: Tonya mentioned that the kinetic energy in the lazy susan can be converted into something that can generate power!

Final innovations; utility earrings/boots loosely inspired by
more sketches of final innovations




Grad student @ UC Berkeley’s School of Information. Interests include social computing, usable security, Being Online™️ and reflective tech.