Design for Discomfort / Final Project

Map to an IVF Baby: Slide Presentation

Map to an IVF Baby is a place to start a conversation about the process of In Vitro Fertilization. The map above provides a visual terrain of what it’s like for a person to go through the IVF steps of trying to conceive a baby if they are unable to do it naturally. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and physical discomfort and I’m hoping to create an experience for the user going through the IVF process to help them cope with the anxiety and disappointment that comes with the procedure. These journeys can also help the friends and families of a person undergoing the IVF process to understand what goes into the IVF struggle and help them empathize to provide the right kind of support. My intention is to model a visual terrain of the map in a program like Unity and attach videos or interactive scenes to describe pieces of the process, which will be triggered as the user moves through the landscape. Below is a video of one part of the IVF journey:


IVF Journey: Injections

This video was taken from 2 instructional videos on YouTube on how to mix the powder and liquids with the syringes and how to give yourself the one of many hormone injections.


Documentation: Initial Idea / Progress Report / Final Presentation


Reflection: There are lot more steps to building this, but I also want to take my time and plan the journey in a more thoughtful way. I also plan on taking the feedback from the in-class presentation to help shape this. As a tool for people going through the IVF process and using my teacher’s constructive comments, the scenes can be more interactive by providing a sort of ritual or practice that the user can do in each mini journey, and by layering testimonials in combination to the video storytelling to further describe that particular moment. For myself, this practice of taking the discomforts that I’ve experienced in my own IVF failures and designing an experience around that created an outlet for myself to numb the sadness that comes along with IVF. I’m hoping to create that outlet for people experiencing the disappointments to do the same.

AUDIO SOURCE: AudioBlocks  /  IMAGE SOURCE: iStockPhoto  /   VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube

Design for Discomfort / Progress on Final Project

1. More research on the IVF topic and Unity tutorials for building scenes and creating interactions
2. Roughly mapped out the journey
3. Created storyboards


1. Continue IVF and Unity research
2. Detailing the map to guide the viewers through the journey
3. Build the “Routine of Daily Injections” scene in Unity: tried to build the assets, but decided for the sake of speed and better detail, to use photogrammetry to create the medical assets

Design for Discomfort / Pitch for Final Project

For my final project, I want to start a conversation for the in vitro fertilization community. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and physical discomfort when a person or couple begins their IVF journey. The first steps is how do I choose a doctor or practice and how are we going to pay for this? Then, there is the anxiety and stress that comes from the actual procedure of countless injections in the stomach, buttocks and arms for over 10 days with cocktails of hormones and endless blood tests for monitoring appointments. Once the shots and surgery step is over, the waiting game begins for the results and whether or not to go to the next steps. And if it ends in a negative or failed response, it becomes an outpouring of sadness, anger, envy, depression and even self-blame with the eventual decision to make on whether or not to start the whole arduous process over again or take the difficult steps to stop and look for other options to have a baby, like adoption or donor sperm/eggs or to make that painful decision to choose a childless path. I want to figure out a way to create an interactive experience to give people an outlet to exchange advice and talk (or scream and cry). It’s sometimes hard to talk to your partner, or family and friends who have never gone through this because they might not understand what you are going through and sometimes they say the wrong things in the efforts to make you feel better, but it makes you feel worse. Being able to connect the IVF community can put people in touch with others that have or will go through that process. Since the community is spread out, I see this design as something that is web or mobile based or even in a game-like medium. Having seen some Facebook groups and message boards for these communities, I find it hard to sift through all the comments to find something in particular that you are looking for. Because of this, I envision a visual mental map of a person going through the IVF process with the terrain of the actual IVF procedure. In this map, a user can immediately go to the spot on the map that they’re on in the IVF process and be able to to engage immediately with people that are in the same stage of the procedure. And as I try to think this through to the end of the journey, I have the images of lanterns being released into the night sky as a symbolic way to cast away one’s grief and ill-fortunes, like in the Thai tradition of Loy Krathon to help in the grieving process.


Design for Discomfort / Journey #2

Journey #2: Visual Discomfort

For this journey, I wanted to explore visual discomfort by focusing on the fear of holes, which is  known as trypophobia. Images of honeycomb, certain plants, cheese grater, inside a chocolate bar, corals or in some skin diseases can trigger this phobia.

What is trypophobia?
Trypophobia is a fear or disgust of closely-packed holes. People who have it feel queasy when looking at surfaces that have small holes gathered close together. For example, the head of a lotus seed pod or the body of a strawberry could trigger discomfort in someone with this phobia. The phobia is not officially recognized. Studies on trypophobia are limited, and the research that is available is split on whether or not it should be considered an official condition.



▪ Form: Visceral
▪ Goal: To alter the initial thinking patterns through prolonged exposure of the image to help trypophobe people learn to separate their initial thoughts from what’s real and not threatening
▪ Design approach:  Augmented Reality – Create an AR piece that takes the holed patterned and wraps it on a body part or fills in the holes that can be seen on a mobile device.

SOURCES:  WikipediaBusiness Week

Design for Discomfort: Journey #1

Journey #1: Start from Form
Attending networking events or parties by myself and talking to strangers causes me and lots of other people social anxiety. I wanted to create a journey in the form of a game on a mobile phone to simulate a party, a conference, or networking scenario to help a viewer/participant mentally prepare for the uncomfortable situation. Instead of playing a meditation or mindfulness app to help bring the mind to a calmer state, I’m hoping that a game to play before an event can help the user figure out conversation starters and maybe alleviate their anxiety with repetition of a scenario that could possibly rewire the brain as to not be so anxious.

It’s Open, Come In…
The participant goes through the doors and is given choices:

A. Start Mingling
B. Head for the beverage and snack table
C. Run to the Bathroom
D. Look at phone

If the player starts mingling with the guests, the more conversations he or she has, the more points the player earns. And with each guest that the player converses with, the more personalities (whether outgoing, shy, into science, pop culture, politics, religion, history, etc…) the player is exposed to for conversation starters. Also through these interactions, there will be a ongoing conversation throughout the party about finding the mystery guest who has all the inside knowledge, like which waiter has the good bottle of wine. If the player can find the mystery guest and the waiter with the good wine (recommended by the mystery guest), the player wins the game.