Glasgow Innovation School Product Design

Sian Mackay

I am an experience designer drawn to re-imagining mundane moments to create playful rituals. In light of the pandemic, I have been particularly focused this year on tangible communications. Interested in the ability to share an experience remotely, I have felt strongly about creating a community stemming from social isolation and loneliness. Throughout my projects, I am driven by my users’ genuine wants in a bid to design non intrusive yet provocative concepts that will be of value to a larger audience beyond my extreme users. The outcomes are toolkits designed for the problem I have researched. Please explore my website, Instagram and collaborative work from the Future Experiences project.

Live Feed


Live Feed

Live Feed is a companion for dinner time. Alongside it’s accompanying app, it allows you to tune in with those dining alone in your community through audio. There is the opportunity to personalise your experience using filters when searching for diners. The app provides you with a simple profile for each diner, keeping a log of all your meals. It is designed to build relationships within the community at meal times.


Stephen is 28, he has just moved to a new area for a job. He is a sociable person but has not had the chance to meet anybody local yet. He purchased a Live feed to make his meals feel less lonely every night and to get to know his neighbours.

The Live Feed in situ

(Top left) The Live Feed is stored as a table setting, designed to be set up for each meal as you would set a table, as if catering for a companion. (Top right) It is equipped with a volume control and a microphone for audio exchange with a neighbour. (Bottom left) There are 9 various filters in order for you to refine your search. (Bottom right) The app responds to all physical actions and notifies the user after each stage.

Advertising within the community

A Project Journal of Insights

In light of Covid-19, there has been an increase in loneliness and social isolation. Dining has the ability to bring people in the community together. I was interested in exploring how a meal could be shared with someone in a different location. This document explores these themes and pulls out these key insights which are explored in depth.


I carried out chats with experts in the hospitality and food design industry before going on to engage with my extreme users. I asked my users to document a single meal and once I had analysed this I carried out a remote workshop to gain feedback on my ideas. I tested my prototypes through role playing my users at mealtimes to see what would be if value to each one.


The most important factor that drove my project was the sense of community. I wanted to create a community of Live Feed diners that met through dining alone. Post-pandemic, this would be of value to the millions that dine alone on a daily basis. Food acts as the material that has the capacity to build a relationship.


Teabreak is a tangible communication kit which allows you to chat with a colleague on your break. The smart tea tray included a dial canvas in which you place your colleague’s unique 3 part code, and contacts your colleague when you lift your cup from it. The accompanying app confirms who you intend to chat with. The pieces that make up the code double up as tea making utensils.


Grace is a Senior Consultant. After over a year of remote consultations and sitting in front of a screen, she misses being able to have a casual conversation with a work colleague beyond a scheduled meeting. Teabreak allows her to approach someone and her to be contacted in a playful manner.

Teabreak in situ

(Top left) Teabreak includes a manual, your smart tea tray and the tangible code set. (Top right) Teabreak prompts the app when someone is trying to chat with you. (Bottom right) The tangible code can be placed onto the dial canvas to contact colleagues. (Bottom left) You are provided with your identifiable code on a pin badge.

Project journal of insights

In light of Covid-19, cancer workers have been feeling isolated and digitally fatigued. With an increase of digital communications for the future, I was keen to explore off screen interactions. Tea-breaks are a constant during the working day and I was interested in enhancing these breaks to become moments of connectivity.


The experts in the cancer world were fundamental in my decision making and process. Gaining their feedback on ideas remotely, allowed me to constantly prototype responding to their feedback. Storyboarding specific moments within interactions proved the be the most intuitive way to connect with the experts as they were able to see the value in these moments.


Teabreak has the ability to connect cancer workers not only locally but on a global scale, building new connections. The communication device allows you to build a network through relationships being formed from short, convenient conversations over a cup of tea.