Design Project 2013 | 3 weeks
Tongji University, Shanghai China
Skill: product design, field study, user-centered design, prototyping, user test
Team: Yimeng Li, Shitao Tang, Qianru Yi

In this project, we redesigned the traditional Chinese board game - Mahjong, refining it to be portable and suitable for travel. The product was designed for senior citizens who lack entertainment during traveling and it focuses on the psychological need of senior people.


  • Research I: What are the problems for the senior citizens during travel?

    We conducted desk research, interview, contextual inquiry of senior people, and summarized six categories of problems they encounter during traveling.

  • Summarizing the problems and needs

    • Psychological Need: create a new form of entertainment for the elderly and providing happier memories for them on the road
    • Long Distance: can not sit or stand for very long time
    • Mobility Difficulties: need supporting facilities, e.g. wheelchair, walkstick
    • Accomodation: e.g. too soft matress, slippery disposable slippers
    • Health Issues: need to take medicine regularly, hearing iisues and bad memories
    • Technology: problems with credit card and online payment etc.
  • We decided to focus on ➡︎ Psychological Need

    Research II: What do they do for entertainment?

    Stroll/Square dance/TV/Radio/Taiji/Swordplay/Chess/Mahjong

    Mahjong is a Chinese traditional strategic boardgame, being widely popular in the elderly population. Mahjong sets are made of plastic - Celluloid. People usually enjoy the feel of the plastic weight and sound of the sets touching “ker-ker-ker”.

  • Research III: Market survey of Mahjong product

    Current Mahjong Product - problems

    Bulky and not easy to carry
    Need specific table

    Easy to carry
    Too small for senior people to handle

    Light and easy to carry
    but lack of special feel of Mahjong's weight


We will improve the existing Mahjong, making it portable, so that the elderly can carry them to travel. Meanwhile, we try to reserve the feel of the plastic mahjong sets.


1.selecting acrylic material > 2.laser cutting > 3.cutting metal part and glue > check


Area: Yangpu District, Shanghai, China. Participants: 20 Senior People. Age: 50- 80 y/o