Developing a Toolkit for Project Sammaan
A Diploma Project at NID
Project Done under the mentorship of Quicksand Design Studio
Project Sammaan is a collaborative effort involving an academic lab, a design and innovation consultancy firm, and two city governments, aimed at designing, implementing and rigorously testing a range of innovations for shared sanitation facilities in urban slums in India, beginning with the pilot cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in Odisha. It combines principles of design, research and technology to propose a new model for community sanitation with an aim to reduce open defecation and instil a sense of dignity in the community using these facilities.
The design and development of the Project Sammaan Toolkit (v.1) was for the purpose of directing interested parties in replicating these user-centric facilities within their contexts, keeping in mind a design centric approach.
While primarily a graphic design project, the most critical part was to get the navigation structure in place and detail it out. Thus the overall design process is what primarily influenced the success of the project. Iterations based on re-looking various parts of the toolkit became the biggest constant within the project. The nature of information itself within the project was immensely complex and varied, leading to diverse iterations and explorations in a process that was continuously evolving.
In-depth research, stakeholder interviews and rigorous explorations lead to the development of a communication strategy around the toolkit and advocating the need for the establishment of a human centred design process.
A series of tools (visually manifested in a set of cards) were developed to make the complexities of working in the sanitation context a bit easier to grasp.
The cards are segmented into four distinct categories that take the toolkit users through the progression of specific aspects of the project.
The experience provided learning beyond the realms of graphic and information design. The iterative design process, including working on-site and field research, gave it the shape and sense-making that could not be achieved in isolation or through a linear process.