Maker Cube

Service Design
Spring 2018

Maker Cube Companion is a digital ecosystem that empowers members to interact, collaborate, and acquire new skills with their fellow creatives.

UX/UI Design, Prototyping, Co-Design Workshop

Sketches + Stickies, Figma, ProtoPie

Qualitative Research, Real Client Interaction, Design Ethnography


As part of a course project, my team and I conducted design research with Maker Cube, a makerspace in the greater Vancouver area. Maker Cube was in the process of transitioning from a non- to a for-profit operation and this provided an opportunity to create value for members, new and incoming, through design.

We began by discussing how prospective and incoming members interact with Maker Cube and qualitatively outlined their experience using empathy and journey maps. The empathy map provided an overall sense of how a member might feel throughout their interactions, whereas the journey map provided a more specific temporal overview.

The journey map also included touchpoints to ensure that the exercise would result in a feasible and viable opening for my team's design intervention. I took the responsibility of managing the scope of the projcet in these discussions as well as ensuring that the brand that the Maker Cube team wanted to communicate to the public maintained its integrity in our intervention.


With the co-founders' goals in mind and a better sense of an opportunity for a design-driven intervention, my team and I conducted additional research with the existing members at Maker Cube to validate the assumptions we made in the discovery stage.

One of our methods of research were cultural probes. A cultural probe is a qualitative method of research that identifies the ways in which the user experience is affected, both positively and negatively.

Our cultural probe involved three activities: a sketchbook with prompts, photo frames to help participants document process on their active projects, and a map which they could annotate and plan the ideal makerspace.

After collecting the completed cultural probes and synthesizing the results, we found that community engagement and knowledge sharing were the main points of focus for the members and facilitators at Maker Cube. We decided to design a solution to help cultivate, maintain, and maximize these connections.

To focus our development stage, we generated three personas from the synthesized probe results, each on a spectrum of maker experience. Since the new for-profit business model meant that member retention was now more important than ever, our intervention could not focus solely on incoming members.


As we were developing our solution, we found that Maker Cube were ideating on new ways to onboard new members once their transition to the for-profit business model was complete. In our correspondence, we found that they wanted a handbook with information on all the equipment they had available and a short manifesto on the kind of community they seek to cultivate.

We saw this as added incentive for a digital intervention. We storyboarded a feasible experiential flow that hit the community goals we had set for ourselves since the empathy map in the discovery stage.

The storyboard illustrated how a new maker might connect with a more experience maker in the Maker Cube community, and how it might be facilitated digitally. I designed the user experience for each user, and then refined it for the final deliverable.


Our solution consisted of two parts: the companion app and the digital kiosk. The feature common to both is a feature that lets members mark themselves available and accessible to help other members with a discipline in which they are an expert. This was designed to drive up engagement and knowledge sharing in the Maker Cube community.

The Maker Cube companion app lets users chat with other makers in the space who have marked themselves as available for help. Other features include viewing and registering for upcoming workshops, and a hyperlinked, wiki-style handbook.

Click here for the interactive prototype.
The kiosk interface allows users to sign in using their RFID-enabled membership card or key fob, depending on the type of membership. Once they sign in, the user can set their availability, which would correspond to their availability as it appears on the Companion app.

At the end of this semester-long process, my team and I were able to not only effectively diagnose and communicate a business problem, but also deliver a solution that delivers an applied system that aligns with Maker Cube's priority: cultivating a community of creatives where exchange of ideas and skills is encouraged. The founders at Maker Cube have expressed interest in implementing our design and taking this project out of its originally intended course context.

© 2024 Sandy Bagga