interaction design │ product │ user research

design OUTCOME

Rebo - A foot attachment that enables safe, off-trail explorations while people hike by dispensing eco-friendly, fertiliser solutions as temporal markers for navigation. 

See product video ↓


Context Research
Research Planning
UI Design


Aug - Nov 2021


Serene Tan (Designer)
Choo Yuan Jie (Designer)
Jieying (Designer)

Under the Guidance of Kevin Chiam

PRODUCT overview

A foot attachment that clips onto a hikers’ shoe, with replaceable pods that holds fertiliser solutions for trail marking

Haptic feedback when activating & deactivating the device, and when the device needs attention

Haptic feedbacks are sent in the form of vibrations when the device needs attentions. Such situations include when the battery level is low & when solution level is low.

Dispenser is designed to dispense trail marker every 2.5 metres

We tested 2.5m to be minimum distance to ensure the back tracking trail's visibility to hikers. The quinine in the solution is fluorescent under UV light,  This also allows hikers to see the solution at night.   

PRODUCT ecosystem

Paired with companion app that utilises locational data collected from the phone’s GPS to plot off-trail hiking journeys

In case of emergencies or rain where blue markers disappears, hikers will be able to rely on this app to find the nearest safe trail used by other hikers. The App also provide the option to share their off-trail hiking route, gathering crow sourced data to inform decision making, before and after a hiking trip.

PROJECT Background

Applying the magic principal of "Vanish" to the design of everyday interactions

Magic operates at the delicate intersection of art, science, engineering and design. In fact, magician are very similar to designers; both professional strive to create unforgettable moments for their audience.

Given the magic principal of Vanish - Defined as an object disappear as if by "magic". Our team approach the project through a series of hypothesis driven experiments to identify design opportunities within the magic principal of "Vanish"


Synonyms of vanish were generated to further define the context of application

We explored different definitions of “vanish" (Diminish, Evaporate, Fade, Depart). Through plotting relevant keywords around these synonyms we were able to generate a few possible scenarios where the application vanish could enhance the process.

context PIVOTING

We were intrigue by the idea of using vanish to improve clarity in way finding


We conducted experiments to verify our hypothesis : Minimising information enhances clarity of route in way finding


To reduce the amount of visual information, we physicalised the route element into tangible objects like a string, pebble milestones for participants to follow.


Users felt guided by a physical route and navigating was straightforward.


Direct guidance from physicalisation reduced the need for users to mentally visualise directions to their surroundings.

Method 002

Reducing reliance on digital device in way finding by translating visual guidance to sound, haptics and temporal trails back tracking trails


The route provided participants with constant visual reference to their previous route.


A vanishing route can still provide constant affirmation that users are on the right route


Mapping intuitive user interactions to form iterations

Interviews were conducted to discover the most intuitive way for the user to activate a device on their foot. We recorded the first interaction performed by the user under the scenario and use that to design the mechanism and form of our product.


Participants asked to activate “something” on their shoe while walking.


Participants tend to perform actions that they were familiar with (stomping or sliding).


Stomping were comfortable yet distinct enough to signal an activation of a device

learning 001

Design through experimentation

Given the magic principal, we were encouraged to refine our context through hypothesis driven experiments. The process has not only encouraged me to discover design opportunities through explorations but also taught me how to verify my assumptions through experiments.

To design an interaction that resonate with the user, design decisions should be driven by user insights. I see the potential to apply this ideology in other design projects.

learning 002

Understanding user insights behind observations

Through this project, we have learnt to differentiate observations and insights and how to obtain user insights through effective question probing.

The first few experiments did not generate in-depth user insights but we learnt from the process. Through asking more "why" probing questions based on our observations, we were able to better understand the user's thought process.

learning 003

Preparation is key

Given the amount of experiment that we have to conduct over the weeks, we realise the importance of having a good research plan. A interview template was eventually developed to help us anticipate scenarios and organise user insights.

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