Enhancing practices through smart fast moving consumer goods

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Computer Science

Abstract

The project aims to explore the use of computational methods for personal data visualization. Unilever is a producer of fast-moving consumer goods. As digital sensing becomes increasingly commonplace in consumer products, for example with wearable devices and smart appliances, being able to show the user the data that relates to their own everyday activities with products offers interesting research challenges. Developing effective visualisation methods for this class of data including structuring the interaction with the user is a highly relevant scientific requirement when linked to digital sensing opportunities. The work relates to two Research Areas: (i) Human-Computer Interaction, in the development of novel data interfaces, and for personal data domains, the consideration of social, ethical and human aspects. (ii) Graphics and Visualisation, for visualisation of information and manipulation of visual content.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/P510592/1 30/09/2016 23/12/2021
1944823 Studentship EP/P510592/1 30/09/2017 23/12/2021 Gustavo Berumen Salazar
 
Description Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) goods are products such as foods and toiletries that have a pervasive presence in our lives. There is a growing interest in incorporating CPGs into the Internet of Things. We propose that to develop smart CPGs that serve people's needs, we first need to understand the use of consumer goods within the practices
they are part of.
We have found through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods how CPGs are used in the practice of cooking, and how they could be used to ideate design interventions for creating smart versions of CPGs. We found that our methods allow us to represent different aspects of cooking practice and inspire ways to design
digital interventions. We believe that our methods could be useful not only in understanding how CPGs are used but also as a tool in making them smart.
Exploitation Route The results of our study may be useful to other researcher and people in industry to create smart versions of consumer packaged goods, and to improve the cooking experience.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

 
Description Yes, we have collaborated with industry partners (Unilever) and some of our results could be used by them to design new versions of consumer packaged goods
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

 
Description COVID-19 outbreak expert survey
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://post.parliament.uk/expert-aknowledgements/
 
Title Data Driven Ideation Approach for Designing Interactive FMCGs 
Description The data-driven ideation approach is based upon the notion of treating data as a resource in design, both for guiding considerations about the use of products and to inspire innovation. To assist participants in gaining an understanding of the data and the sketching of their design concepts, we devised a structured process and created data representations as well as design resources including design cards, and a design sheet. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The researchers aim at publishing the approach in a relevant venue and it will be shared with members of the FMCG industry. 
 
Title Mixed Methods to Evaluate the Use of Consumer Goods in Cooking 
Description We devised a variety of methods to analyze the use of items during cooking using video recording. An explanation of some of those methods is included below: Item Usage Quantification We counted the number of times that each consumer packaged good (CPGs) was used during cooking session to get an understanding of which CPGs were used and how relevant those CPGs were to the cooking practice. In this quantification, we also include utensils because their use is closely associated with CPGs. For example, when the participant handled a bottle of salt to add it to food, one usage of the salt was recorded. Activities We reviewed the video to mark the activities associated with the use of CPGs and utensils. For this paper, we define an activity as performing an action to achieve a specific goal, and that action has a start and end point. Through observations of the video, we created a coding schema with a the total list of activities and their definitions that cover almost everything that happened during both cooking sessions. Network visualizations To observe the interactions that CPGs and utensils have among themselves, we visually represented all their relevant interactions. We chose network visualisations as CPGs are not used in isolation, but rather in combination with other CPGs and utensils. As an illustrative example of the interactions we represented, for an onion that was sliced and then fried in a pan, we noted the following interactions: onion-chopping board, knife-onion, knife-chopping board, onion-pan, onion-oil, oil-pan, palette-onion, etc. The size of the nodes represents the number of interactions of each node, and each proximity between two nodes correlates with the number of interactions between them. Classification of trouble and opportunities We classified some interactions as either a 'trouble interaction' (a situation that posed an observable difficulty that the participants had to find a way to solve), or an 'opportunity interaction' (a situation in which the participant used a creative or insightful technique to accomplish an activity). An example of a 'trouble interaction' was having to remove an excess of an ingredient, while an example of an 'opportunity interaction' was using an empty package as a temporary rubbish bin. We classified the interactions by a combination of participants' responses during the interview, and with our own criteria by examining the videos. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The methods will be published in a relevant conference and or journal, and they will be used to find design opportunities to create new consumer packaged good. 
 
Description Gifting hybrid consumer goods project: creating digital experiences 
Organisation Unilever
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project aimed to create gifting digital experiences for consumer packaged goods (CPG). We focused on incorporating "gifting" to CPGs as a way to add extra value to them. The project consisted of the following two stages: Participatory design workshops: four collaborative workshops delivered to obtain insights of people's experiences, opinions, and views on current and future versions of CPGs. Those learning were later used as inspirations to create new CPGs. Product designing and field study: we created "Blobby," a digital intervention that simulated a "message in the bottle" experience for a subscription-based laundry product. Blobby included the design of a new interactive label that allows participants to receive and give messages to other users, the creation of a personal website for each participant that could be accessed using Artcodes, and the simulation of delivery services of the laundry pods to participants. We conducted a field study for four weeks to test the use of Blobby in real life and organized a focus group to obtained people's views of their experience with the product.
Collaborator Contribution Unilever provided funding to carry out the research as well as guidance and feedback on the direction of the research conducted.
Impact A Report to Unilever A work in progress conference paper
Start Year 2019
 
Description Tea experience: enhancing the tea drinking experience though gifting experiences 
Organisation Unilever
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Together in collaboration with a group of Unilever employees, we designed a functional prototype of an app that enhances the tea-drinking experience. The app provides well-being activities specifically designed for different varieties of tea. The app was also deployed the app in a field study to explore the usability and reception of consumers of the app. We wrote a report to Unilever detailing the insights gathered from the study and suggesting next steps in the development of the app to release into the market.
Collaborator Contribution The researcher partner contributed with guidance and insights throughout the entire project. The partner also contributed with resources necessary to conduct the project those including materials, access to their employees, and economic contributions.
Impact A functional prototype of an app to enhance the tea drinking experience A report for partner detailed insights from the projects and suggestions to release the project into the market Opportunity for PhD students to collaborate with an industry partner
Start Year 2020
 
Description Participation in Workshop - CHInclusion: Working toward a more inclusive HCI community at CHI 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I participated at the "CHInclusion: Working toward a more inclusive HCI community" workshop in CHI2019. There I share my ideas on how we can make a more inclusive community of HCI researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participatory Design Workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We delivered four collaborative workshops in order to obtain insights of people's experiences, opinions, and views on current and future versions of consumer goods. Those learning were later used as inspirations to create prototype versions of consumer goods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation of my research during the Connected Everything II research network conference. I engaged with attendees of the conference providing details about my research and receiving valuable feedback
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://connectedeverything.ac.uk/conference-2019-2/
 
Description Presentation in Horizon Industry Day 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I present advances of my research during the Horizon 2019 Industry Day to Industry and Business partners of the research centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation of the results of the Tea experience app to Unilever 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I gave a presentation of the report about the tea experience app to Unilever employees. The aim was to detailed the insights we gathered from the study and provide insights about the future steps to release the app into the market.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Public Engagement at Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented at the Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019 in Nottingham "Get Screwed" experience. Get Screwed is a virtual reality (VR) experience that plays with notions of control, sensory misalignment, and vertigo. Participants are placed on top of a swivel chair which is rendered as a bolt by the VR interface and attempt to unscrew it by turning.
People from different backgrounds came to try the above experiences: researchers from the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), employees of technology companies, people who don't work in technology-related fields, and people who accompanied attendees of the conference, from adults to children, all participated in the experiences. People were interested not only in having the experience, but also in knowing more about the technological, creative, psychological, and other components of the creations. People wanted to know what technology was used and what happened in our minds that made it possible for the creation to integrate the virtual and physical.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Public Engagement at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented the "VR Playground" at CHI 2019 as part of the Mixed Reality Lab celebration of their 20th anniversary. The VR playground is a virtual reality exploration of sensory misalignment, in which people use the motion of a swing to control their navigation through the virtual world. The interface couples the motion with movements in the game.
It was a very enriching experience given that I had the opportunity to talk about interactive experiences, VR, and motion sensing with people from different backgrounds. Those topics are very different from the area of research on which my PhD is focused, which is on design ethnography and smart products.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/mixedrealitylab/events/2019-05-06-mrlat20.aspx