Uphold is a phone wrist holder that is disguised as a bracelet. Have you ever considered how you hold your phone throughout the day with one hand? Now consider what it is like for someone with limited hand function in one, or even both of their hands. Cell phones have provided access in many ways to people with disabilities, however they are still not always the easiest to use for people who have hand limitations. Uphold is an accessory that is an attractive piece of jewelry shaped like a cuff bracelet, while also serving as a convenient tool that a consumer can attach their phone to. The few phone holders that are wearable currently on the market, are bulky and fabric (they are typically designed for athletic purposes). Uphold is something that consumers will desire to wear because it is fashionable, AND it serves a purpose. Uphold will be useful when shopping while relying on a list. Rather than awkwardly juggling between holding the phone to view the supply list, and grabbing the merchandise with the same hand, the phone can simply be held with the assistance of Uphold on the arm, all while leaving one hand free. Uphold can be useful for anyone- not just those with hand limitations, from busy moms, to fashionable multitaskers adding convenience and style. There are many future, potential variations to the design of Uphold that will open the door to personalization and self- expression through different styles. Uphold is an accessory that is designed to ease the frustration and improve the convenience and overall experience of holding a phone.
My process… I have always tried to tackle issues that disabled people face, often trying to solve too many things at once. My initial idea for Uphold was to create a bracelet- like accessory that could help someone with a disability hold things; from their phone, to pieces of paper, to an umbrella, to grocery bags and more (essentially a multipurpose tool for the arm). I quickly realized and was advised to narrow the initial use and the targeted stakeholders. That led me to deciding that Uphold is designed with people with limited hand function with the goal of helping them hold their phone. I was inspired by my own experiences living with Right Hemiparesis Cerebral Palsy, because I have limited function of my right arm and hand. In the initial ideation sketches, Uphold was a closed bracelet, but after further research and consideration to the target consumers, I realized that it would be more convenient and easier for consumers to put it on if it did not involve a clasp or closure of any kind. The most challenging part of this process was finding the balance between developing and exploring the forms of Uphold that were interesting, and considering how it would support a phone. I had to take a step back during the process because I got too invested in the form that wouldn't support the phone. I had to adjust the top of the design to make it flatter and increase the surface area. Through sketching, I explored many possible forms. The design direction quickly pointed towards curvilinear designs, partially from being inspired by parametric sculpture and dynamic looking jewelry.
The final design... The overall cuff form of the bracelet allows for easy placement of the bracelet on the wrist, without involving a closure of any sorts; especially considering the needs of users with limited hand function. The center of Uphold is flat, which allows for a large enough surface area for a phone to attach. The sides of Uphold bend to form the bracelet and curve elegantly in opposite directions, creating a more femine profile to the accessory. The side curving in opposite directions also allows for there to be more room to place the bracelet on the user's wrist, by turning it slightly. The finish can be anything from, gold, silver, brass, or any fun color that is desired. Upholds is designed to be like a piece of jewelry. During the design process it had also stood out to me that most wearable phone holders are bulky, which contributed to the choice and exploration of negative space. The negative space in between the curved lines, giving the bracelet less visual weight. Nano-suction cups are used to attach the phone to the bracelet. The Nano-suction cups are embedded into the form of Uphold, but are raised slightly on the surface for their optimal use. The Nano- suction cups in this case were graciously provided by Airstik . Nano-suction cups were a good solution to attach a phone to Uphold, because they do not snag like a slot system or pull like a magnet when the phone is not attached (both adhesion options that were explored during the design process). Overall, Uphold is a wearable phone accessory that is an attractive form and a useful tool.