Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Industrial Design


Industrial Design

First Advisor

Claudia Rebola

Second Advisor

Emily Rothschild

Third Advisor

Randy Plemel


As a creative discipline, design works to instigate change. Often, a design’s success hinges on effecting a change in a user’s life, whether that be prompting the user to accept a new way to communicate, provide care, or share resources. A well-designed product can be offered to a user, and even acquired by a user, yet never be integrated into their daily life. This abandonment may be due to a flaw in the product’s function; however, it can also be due to a lacking system of support for the user while they are integrating the product into their life. In the case of a new product or service, a lack of integration means that the user leaves the offered solutions behind.

With the goal of understanding how to bridge the gap from change to acceptance, I set out to learn from people who are navigating extreme moments of life transition. I looked across three examples of pivotal life changes: adolescent immigrants starting at a new high school, young parents returning to work, and older adults moving to a new community. After identifying an opportunity for impact, I focused on designing for families navigating the transition of integrating parenthood into their professional lives. I chose this transition because it is multifaceted. Changes in child care create adjustments for both care providers and children.

This thesis presents a model that designers can consider when creating tools to support people through a transition. It then demonstrates how to apply this approach by designing to support parents transitioning back into professional roles.



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