The Department of Design at UNIST has once again been recognized for design excellence, worldwide. Recently, it was announced that two of their new communication design concepts have been honored with awards at the prestigious Red Dot Design Award 2023. This achievement showcases their exceptional innovation, ingenuity, and technical prowess in mobile app design.
Leading the way in this success are Professor Hwang Kim, Professor Hui Sung Lee, Professor Kyungho Lee, and their respective design teams within UNIST’s Department of Design. The award-winning concepts include ‘Booklet,’ a digital platform that allows users to explore and experience the space and culture of local bookstores online and ‘BBB,’ a communication service platform that connects individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds for revolutionary cross-language communication experience. Above design concepts have been recognized in the ‘Brand & Communication Design’ discipline of the esteemed the Red Dot Design Awards 2023.
Meanwhile, the Red Dot Design Award is an internationally renowned design competition for product design, communication design and design concepts. With over 18,000 entries worldwide today, it has become one of the largest and most recognized design competitions globally.
[Red Dot Award-winning Design Works by UNIST Department of Design]
❒ Booklet: Enjoy Your Local Bookstore!
Booklet is a digital platform that recreates the ambiance and cultural richness of local bookstores in an online setting. It offers users the convenience of exploring various local bookstores virtually, while also facilitating communication between storekeepers and customers. With its robust content management system, Booklet empowers bookstore owners to efficiently handle crucial tasks such as marketing strategies, curation of books and events, as well as engaging with their audience. The user-friendly app ensures that potential customers can effortlessly discover their desired destinations among the diverse array of participating bookstores.
Conceived by Professors Hwang Kim and Professor Hui Sung Lee, Booklet aims to bridge the divide between potential customers and small cultural spaces, serving as a refined platform for book enthusiasts and culture lovers alike. With a vision of empowering local bookstores as vibrant community hubs, Booklet strives to create immersive emotional spaces that foster meaningful exchanges within regional cultures while honoring each bookstore’s distinctive cultural wisdom. Through its efforts, Booklet seeks to cultivate an environment where individuals can engage deeply with literature and connect with like-minded individuals, nurturing a sense of belonging and appreciation for diverse cultural expressions.
In recognition of their outstanding work, the team has been honored with the prestigious distinction of ‘Red Dot: Best of the Best,’ which is awarded for groundbreaking design. This esteemed award is only bestowed upon the top 1% of all entries in each category, making it a significant achievement.
The project was led by Professor Hwang Kim and Professor Hui Sung Lee, along with the invaluable contributions from Sungwon Jang, MinKoo Kang, and Byounghern Kim. Notably, Sungwon Jang and Byounghern Kim, a recent graduate of UNIST’s Master’s Degree program in design, played pivotal roles throughout the development process. For instance, to ensure that the app truly met user demands and needs, rigorous qualitative surveys were conducted along with extensive interviews involving incumbent bookstore managers and users. This thorough research approach allowed for an app that genuinely addressed user preferences.
The participating researchers expressed their aspirations for creating a vibrant local culture through this project. They envisioned the developed app as a means to facilitate communication between demand and suppliers while promoting cultural fellowship. Emphasizing local bookstores as “micro hubs” of culture and knowledge further highlighted their commitment to fostering community engagement.
❒ BBB: Revolutionizing Cross-Language Communication Service
Professor Kyungho Lee’s design team has also garnered recognition for their groundbreaking work on an interpretation service app called BBB. Unlike conventional AI-powered translation tools, like Papago or Chat GPT, BBB sets itself apart by offering direct human interpretation through a network of volunteer interpreters. The team embarked on a comprehensive redesign of the app, considering strategies for analog apps that provide authentic human interpretation in an era dominated by artificial intelligence-based translations. Their goal is to create a world where communication flows freely without linguistic and cultural barriers.
By harnessing motion recognition and speaker separation technologies powered by AI, BBB can convert sign language movements into text or synthetic voice output. This innovative feature enables up to four different languages to coexist simultaneously during conversations conducted in participants’ native tongues.
Furthermore, significant attention was devoted to addressing potential misunderstandings arising from cultural differences within the app itself. Users are informed about idiomatic expressions specific to different languages to prevent misinterpretations. For instance, an action interpreted as consent in Eastern cultures might be perceived as interference in Western cultures, potentially hindering effective communication.
The design team from the Expressive Computing Laboratory (Juyeok Yoon, Yeji Park, Sangyun Lee, and Seoyeong Hwang) at UNIST expressed their aspirations for improved cross-cultural communication facilitated by technology. They believe that while technological advancements have bridged physical distances between cultures, seamless “communication” remains challenging due to language and cultural disparities. Through initiatives, like BBB, they hope that interpretation services not only translate languages but also serve as windows of communication between diverse languages and cultures.
Originally launched in 2012 by BBB Korea—a non-profit organization funded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism—the app underwent significant service design improvements led by Professor Kyungho Lee’s team before its re-release in May 2023. It is now available for download via Google Play Store for Android devices and the Apple App Store for iOS devices.