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3rd Phase: Generating Concepts & Prototyping

Frrom a design perspective, it is not about coming up with a one-fit treatment for complicated psychological problems such as Eating Disorders, rather, it's about breaking the the barrier of communication between persons with an eating disorder and the society. By creating empathy and promoting meaningful communication, we become more aware of our surroundings and develop our own initiatives so that we become proactive in identifying and preventing disordered behaviours in others. The design concepts and prorotypes are based on 3 important principles and their values: 

  • Participatory design

  • Relevant to a wide audience

  • Emphasis on communication

  • Thought-provoking

  • Self-reflecting

  • Understanding cause and effects

  • Spreading awareness about eating disorders

  • Criticize media culture and social ideals of body image


The first few prototypes and idea explorations were displayed at OFFCOURSE - A student exhibition as part of the annual DesignTo

​A. Critical objects that narrates and fosters empathy

This concept explores how art-based/ critical objects can foster empathy in people. The object is intergrated in spaces where everyone can interact with and learn about thoughtful communication between someone with and without a mental disorder.

​Weight of words

This piece is a scale that reflects the miscommunication between someone with an eating disorder and healthy individuals. The weights symbolizes our words. When the one side of the scale is heavier than another, it pulls the screen up on one side, whichever heavier and prevent both sides from seeing each other. When the weights are balance, both side can see each other. This shows that if both are putting efforts in reaching out and choosing the right words, they can achieve mutual understanding and it could also be the very first step towards treatment and recovery for patients with eating disorders.

B. Raising awareness in a non-traditional, fun and engaging manner

Game could be used as an educational tool and teaches what therapists, advocators and media cannot. If meaningful interaction and discussion revolve the topic of life events, and consequences could be addresses through a game, it could be the most playful, yet informative and educational way to address mental illnesses such as Eating Disorders.

​Boardgame Ideation Process

C. Educating people how to effectively communicate to someone with an eating disorder through technology

This concept explores AI as a potential educational tool to educate friends and families of individuals who have disordered eating behaviour as early intervention.

Communication plays a huge role in determining whether friends and families will be of help or will further alienate someone. Despite guidance provided by professionals, books and other intellectual resources, in reality, conversations can always go wrong. In order to avoid accidental hurtful comments coming from a family member or a friend when someone is confessing their eating disorder, providing them the right communicating tools (such as questions, word choices, attitudes, etc) would help them develop the right response and use it when the situation arise.

​Early version:
Buddy Challenge
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Engage an individual who has signs of eating disorders and a trusted friend/ family member of them in a number of activities that may help them change the way they view food and remind them of meaningful connections through the context of social cooking and dining. “Buddy Challenge” may include items such as:

-A schedule for in-person meeting and meaningful exchange of conversation during the course of grocery shopping and cooking together with a loved one.

-”Progress” which shows a variety of food items that have been used in the recipes, including “fear food”.

-A Recipe Collection that allows user to collect their favourite recipes which improve their experience with food.

Revised version:

Talkie is a chatbot that exists in order to help family and friends who know/ or want to learn more about Eating Disorder. Talkie is designed to tailor to user’s needs, whether you are someone who hear about Eating Disorder for the first time, or you are trying to help out someone you know who have an eating disorder, or you think you are having changes in your eating patterns and simply want to learn more about it.

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