Mäntykartano

Service design case study of a studio appartement at the Mäntykartano premise in Espoo, Finland from the eyes of an aged tenant couple

Service Design analysis

Claudio Lintunen

The home should be the treasure chest of living.

– Le Corbusier

The Covid-19 pandemic between 2020–2022 has resulted in people spending more time at home than ever. Whether it is due to remote work, quarantines or restrictions on recreational activities, home environment has become massively more important and the trend is expected to continue. As with technology and digital interfaces, the user experience of a home is vital for comfortable living.

This fictional case study was created to analyze tenants’ possible pain points in a typical studio appartement in the Mäntykartano residential building. The study showcases inconveniences and even potential dangers in everyday living in this appartement, analyses their hypothetical impacts and suggests solutions to fix or improve the pain points.

This holistic analysis was done from the perspective of an older tenant couple (~60 years old). However, findings that would impact other user groups are included as well.

Scope

Smooth, enjoyable everyday living

Awards & Mentions

Key issues

  • High levels of unsatisfied feedback
  • Tenants leaving after 12 month contract

Amount of tenants leaving after 12 month contract

23%

Dissatisfied feedback out of all

46%
elderly couple holding each other, looking past the camera with nature in the background

The user

Isabel & Pedro

Ages: 58 & 67

Gender: Female & Male

Occupation: Office worker & pensioner

Status: Married

Frustrations

  • Complicated technological devices
  • Older tenants not considered
  • Fear of themselves or grandchildren getting hurt
  • Cultural and lingual differences

Goals

  • Accessible, enjoyable and safe living environment
  • Appartement for a longer time

We want an enjoyable and safe living environment to spend our retirement days and host our grandchildren

Kitchen

OVEN

Abstract

The microwave-oven of the appartement is a useful and compact solution for the kitchen. However, the learning curve can be steep even for younger users due to a large number of different features, functions and modes. It also lacks some essential parental control measures.

Read the full analysis of the oven’s User Experience:

drawer handle, thin metallic plate

Drawers, cupboards and integrated appliances

Issues

  • Drawers hard to open due to the thin, slippery handles
  • Handles’ sharp edges potentially dangerous for a toddler
  • Dishwasher requires significant pulling force to open

Drawers, cupboards and the dishwasher can be hard to open. The thin, slippery, metallic handle on them does not allow a good grip. The drawers have a hydraulic system that prevents them from slamming, but at the same increases the resistance to open them and thus a good grip would be essential. Especially with wet or otherwise slippery hands– common in a kitchen–it can be a real challenge to open the drawers, as the wet hand just slips off before one can pull them open. Another pain point of the handles is their sharp edges. When the hand slips off the handle, one can scratch it on the sharp edge. More importantly, the handles are sticking out a few centimeters on the level of a toddler’s head, making the sharp edges of the lower handles potentially dangerous for a toddler running around.

Suggested solutions

  • Change or modify the handles

The issues with the handles could be fixed by changing or modifying them. The handles could either be inverted or completely removed for a better grip and safety, as in the adjacent examples. Removing and replacing all the handles of the appartement would, however, be quite a laborious and potentially expensive solution. Thus a cheaper, easier alternative solution would be to add rubber/silicone ”socks” to the handles with an extended and hardened ”peak” at the bottom of the handle.

wooden drawer with narrow gaps in top center of drawer boxes for opening
wooden drawer with wide gaps in top center of drawer boxes for opening