DOKK1 is a library based in the city centre by the waterfront. The building was not meant to be just a library. The Urban Mediaspace Aarhus Project envisioned it as a flexible and dynamic sanctuary for everyone in search of knowledge and personal development, i.e. an open and accessible learning environment. Each year it has 1.3 million visitors – both Danish and international.
The challenge that DOKK 1 is facing now is that it tries to give its users new possibilities to improve their experience in the library. Besides multiple products like interactive floors and digital books dispensers and soundscape, the library is keen on trying to deliver more tools that could benefit the users of the library. The purpose of this project is to improve user experience and improve the quality of service DOKK1 delivers on daily basis.
In order to best approach the challenge, our team decided to make a research about the building itself from reliable sources. We analysed the original website, together with ‘The Book About DOKK1’ to familiarize with the main concept of it, mission, vision and values it wants to deliver, as well as the structure.
As the solution has to fit the current environment, our team also performed a rapid ethnography research. We went on a field visit, observed people working in DOKK1 – their behaviour, habits, emotions, body language. To further understand users, we made interviews with them, based on which we created personas that reflect guests at Aarhus’ library. We found that the majority of returning visitors come there with a purpose of intensively studying or working on their laptops. They are usually focused, alone and want to get things done. A common complaint they all pointed out was that the working environment in DOKK1 is noisy and crowded which affects their working routine. We realised that for some people it is also the reason why they prefer working elsewhere.
“The first time I came here I actually left after 15 minutes because of the noise.”
“I have been there once, but I didn’t like it because it was too crowded. I would not go back there for working.”
The desk research also showed us that the creators of DOKK1 have been very successful in attracting visitors – from around 500,000 per year in the old main library to 1,3 million in Dokk1. Here’s where we saw the conflict. A lot of people go there to study or work every day. But numerous visitors, with inviting (digital) attractions, also for children, result in significant noise levels that disturb the knowledge workers.
We, in actuality, see it as problem of a much larger scale. It is said in “The Book About DOKK1” that DOKK1 should be “relevant of the needs of the time”. Digital lifestyles today cause a decrease in people’s attention span and concentration abilities. Knowing that, we understood that the problem in the library should be addressed not only for the sake of DOKK1 visitors but also to educate the citizens in general, which is one of the seven core values of DOKK1.
The question we asked ourselves was:
“How might we help people in DOKK1 to be more relaxed and effective at the same time?”
We talked to people in DOKK1 about different methods they use for concentration and relaxing. Concluding the findings, we have designed an installation that is going to improve their performance, boost their confidence, and is going to be a big step in DOKK1’s development. The core of the solution lies in taking time off for yourself. There are numerous studies that prove how this can significantly improve attention, lower stress levels and increase energy (Tang et al., 2007).
Docking pod is an interactive capsule isolated from its surrounding. It is equipped with a comfortable bucket armchair and sealed walls made of noise canceling materials.
The interior will offer a screen with a control panel, where you can set the type of your session (relaxation, meditation, motivation or energizing) as well as other pods settings like session time and features. Each program will help you to achieve a different mindset, to get you ready to work the way you want.
Speakers and ambient lights will allow you to listen to relaxing music, motivational speeches or pay “I-doser” sound to help you set your mind waves to the most productive state while offering you ambient and colorful light effects depending on the program.
The pod will be equipped with motion and heart rate sensors to detect and analyze your session and help you to achieve the best results. Taptic feedback (known from iPhones and Apple Watches) will help you to normalize your breath, so you can calm down and fully enjoy the session.
UX & technology research
UI & prototyping