Behavior change: Sharing water

Fall 2016
Growing up, my mother would remind me to "return things back where they belonged" after I finished using them. Inspired by this, I created a water carrier concept with an explicit active and resting state through its physical form, and serves as an artifact for behavior change; the carrier cannot stand on its own, and requires the user's intent to put the carrier back on its compliment. I intended for carrier to encourage users to be cognizant and and considerate to others through the shared experience of using a shared water pitcher.

I first focused on how existing methods of collecting, storing, moving, and dispensing water worked. I took inspiration from ways water could be heated, and looked into how nuances in form could indicate the function of the carrier, and how its resting and active states could be communicated to the user.

After settling on a concept that required my intended behavior change, I started iterating on profiles that helped be communicate the usage and intentions of the carrier to carry out a certain motion. Dealing with a complimentary form that served as a stand, I thought about how to create a wholesome silhouette that would also keep the fidelity of both forms as separate entities.


For the different iterations I made, I tried different dimensions in order to test for ergonomics and what seemed visually cohesive. Some measurements I considered were the ratio of the half-circle stand to the height of the carrier, as well as the width of the side profile where the hand interacts with the carrier.

Final artifact

I took away an enriched sensitivity to details in craft, as well as how form can create nuanced interactions, capable of influencing the entire experience of sharing water. There is so much potential in exploring how simple artifacts like this water carrier can lead to small and sustained changes in social behavior, and I hope I will be able to continue this investigation with more complex forms and interactions.

© Hilary Lai, 2017