The challenge for this project was to make a consumer product for the home that added value to a person's life by augmenting their behavior.


Zeit is a new type of clock that takes a dynamic approach to time telling. Instead of being overly discrete in tracking time the clock plays a role in your life at a specific point in your day. In the morning it helps you manage your time and leave to go to work or school. It does this by slowly filling the screen with red and with an alert icon once it is time to depart. But this rigid representation of time is not the only way to experience time. Throughout the evening Zeit slowly covers the hands of the clock with increasingly dark circles. This loosens the discrete pressure of time and turns the Zeit into a time abstraction experience.


Exploration for Zeit began with an exercise called "I love, I wish." I gathered students and asked them what about their home they loved and what they wished was different. Through this exploration we surfaced many possible opportunities for me to explore. After some discussion on the different types of space in a home I decided to focus on the living room. With that I got busy, and printed some concept worksheets. By rigorously filling out simple worksheets that asked for a title, a description and a sketch of an idea, I was able to churn out a number of potential products. Some were good, some were not so good, but I started to gravitate towards a clock as the medium of the experience.

First Iteration

My first iteration of zeit was designed with the unboxing experience in mind. I felt this was important because I wanted to showcase how the system gains its information about your day. My solution to this was to have it sync to a Google account. I also focused on core features such as helping you to get out the door in the mornings, and helping you relax in the evenings. I wanted to work quickly towards a video prototype because it was the best way for me to validate my ideas. In order to create a video I made some low fi screen variations and then animated them using Adobe After Effects. With that I shot a prototype video with a blank clock and superimposed my design on it.

Findings and Changes

After getting feedback it became evident that some of my choices on the clock face were not the most effective. For example, in the first iteration the clock slowly removed red from the face until it was time to leave the house. Feedback from designers and potential users helped me to understand that a better visual cue would be to have the screen do the reverse and fill up with red. I took a second pass to refine the ideas into high fidelity sates and broke down the core aspects of the clock into three distinct pillars. First is the wake up function that opens the clock up to morning use and if it is placed in the bedroom begins to show light. Second is the time to leave function which fills the clock with red and lastly is the relax function that slowly obscures the hands.

The wake up cycle mimics the sun rising over the horizon. As the sun rises the clock is enveloped by it's functionality. The clock goes through this wake up process before activating the morning routine function.

The morning routine function highlights the amount of time left before you will need to leave in order to start your day in a timely manner. The clear visuals tied with the red highlight the need for urgency. The more red on the clock, the less time you have.

In the final function the clock breaks down the idea of time and directly influences your personal living space by turning the clock, an idiom of unchanging structure, into a piece of visual abstraction. With that it gives you an opportunity to project your life onto your perception of time instead of projecting time onto your life.

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