Interview with designer Abhishek Chitranshi (AC), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design E-Steward Interactive Device For Restaurants.

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Interview with Abhishek Chitranshi at Tuesday 24th of April 2012: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
AC : To introduce the design which fulfills the basic need when we go out for good dining experience. The inspiration was my self experience and observation whenever I go to restaurants and hotels.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
AC : I observed - 1. To order food we have to call waiter by hand gesture or just wait for them. 2. After placing order there is always a question that how long our order will take to be served. 3. How to spend the waiting time. 4. Keep asking waiter about when the food will be served. 5. Ask for menu and don't know which food is really good here. Not sure to take risk of new recipe. 6. Sometimes we feels like we know the person on next table or just like him/her but its bit uneasy to go and ask him/her. 7. If you are with a kid in restaurant it goes challenging to manage and enjoy your meal. The focus was to solve all these problems and design which not only solve them but also add the flavor of enhanced dining experience.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
AC : I am looking forward if any company offers to develop this product and launch it in the market.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
AC : Its taken 10 weeks from inception to shape this concept.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
AC : My self experience and observation whenever I go to hotels, restaurants and food kiosks. Yes... to pursuit an inspiration

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
AC : As of now I have not explored any production possibilities. Now looking forward if any company offers to develop it. I will go with the sell or lease the production rights.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
AC : I am always fascinated with the high-tech interactive devices which enhance the social and entertainment experiences. Which are slowly but merging the difference of man-made and god-made. They are taking place fast around and fulfills the small to big needs of our daily life. When I say it I found that not much is happening in the restaurants/hotels dining/hospitality services in terms of solving the basic needs.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
AC : None

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
AC : The IT companies who interest to make products for the hospitality services like restaurants, food kiosks and hotels or any IT (Software/Hardware) company who interests to look into the new product possibilities.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
AC : I think there are few order taking digital devices for waiters and account management applications like POS etc. being used but they are small individual pieces. The uniqueness of this design - It is a single system with 3 units those communicate each other and take care the every aspect of the restaurant customer interactions between cook, chef, waiter, accountant and the customer. A complete package.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
AC : I wanted to give this system a class identity as exactly is the performance of it. Steward - The ship's officer who is in charge of provisions and dining arrangement. I found perfect to name it "e-Steward".

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
AC : I used Rhinoceros 3d Modelling and Adobe Photoshop to communicate my design.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
AC : Dining, social, entertainment and the information need at one platform. Like - know food details, decide your own recipe, know historical information of dishes, interact with cook, chef and waiter, know the serving time, enjoy the games, city news/movies, interact with other like-minded customer while you food is being served and swipe for payment yourself. All these activities has seamless performance.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
AC : I did lot of user study, interacted with restaurants, hotels, roadside food vendors, college professors and did web-study etc. I pursued it as one of my college project. Later, I worked more on its interface in Bangalore.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
AC : Wireless technology plays an important role here to render the true user experience and for seamless performance.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
AC : I made time-activity matrix and analyzed psychological & behavioral patterns.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
AC : I wanted to design something which is not only simple but also accessible and affordable. This made me to split the system in three units- for cook, waiter and customer. It was quite challenging to maintain the usage, hygiene and ease. Also it should not take user's extra attention out of their basic activities in the restaurant. Like the busy cook do not have time to operate device if that would be complex.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
AC : I wish to make this design globally recognized and get a platform from where I may look forward to develop and place it in the real world, which may add new dimension to the dining management and experience.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
AC : I realized that user experience is not only about to design the good product keeping ergonomic, interaction design and the usability issues but also the psychological, financial and behavioral needs of the end-users.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AC : This design uniqueness also include that it is the complete combination of Interface and Industrial design. There were many challenges for Industrial design aspects as well. Like how much should be the size of the units which sits nicely in the limited table space, easily used by cook, easily held by waiter. How to operate easily in the situations like multiple users, with kid, while eating, turning the screen to other, hold the unit in hand etc.