Renee Edelman
A smart homeware device designed for family members—near and far of any age or experience level with technology—with accessible user interface and user experience design.
With lives becoming busier and distance increasingly separating family members, the importance of family is becoming ever more apparent.  While at first glance it may seem mainstream, popular social media can bring family members closer together, it can actually create more distance and disfunction. Social media is depersonalized, losing that personalization and love that families deserve and depend one another for.

The elderly, many with limited digital literacy, often struggle with social isolation and feel left behind by their family members, leading to sadness and depression that can follow them to their grave. Young children are often isolated from their other family members as well, leading to a sense of loneliness and loss of sense of belonging, often only communicating with extended family during the holidays or other limited family events in person.

As a designer and member of a long distance family, I seek to bring families back into our regular lives, hearts, minds, and homes, sustaining an emotional connection with all family members across both time and space. In an effort to include family members into one's regular life, I will design a smart homeware device that will allow family members to share a virtual space. The touch of personalization brings a new level of meaningfulness to communication.

Even the smallest moments to remind our family members that we love them and are thinking about them can change one’s outlook on their entire day.
Research Questions
  1. How can we make communication amongst family members more personalized and authentic?
  2. What do we value most about communicating with family members, and what form of communication means the absolute most to us?
  3. How does isolation affect the elderly, and in what ways can technology ensure we include them in our lives more often?
Dear, is a smart homeware device designed for family members near and far of any age or experience level with technology, with accessible user interface and user experience. Primary research— in the form on interviews and visits to peoples' homes— and secondary research—in the form of literary research and expert advice—has lead me to design a device, user interface, and user experience that is accessible and enjoyable for family members of all ages and experience levels with technology, including the elderly and the youth, assisting in closing the emotional divide between the two age groups. User testing has helped guide me and confirm the success of this project.

Dear, brings families back into our regular lives, hearts, minds, and homes, displaying Today's Notes at all times as reminder of their familial love. Family members can create thoughtful notes for one another that will be displayed on the recipient's Dear, device. After 24 hours, notes are stored in History where they can be revisited later to put a smile on one's face. One's favorite notes are placed in Favorites, where one can quickly access the notes that warm their hearts. Both Settings and Help are designing simply to ensure easy usability.
Connie Hwang–Primary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Graphic Designer
Chang Kim–Secondary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Graphic Designer
Yoon Chung Han–Tertiary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Interaction Designer
Process Book