Year 2020
‍Duties Illustration, Modeling, Design
‍Team members Mckayla Buckley, Jessie Huynh, Ashley Tseng, Meron Solomon


Rolling Stories is a unique conceptual device situated within Seattle coffee shops that enables community contribution to a local anthology.

In response to how design might capture and tell the entangled stories of Seattle, our goal was to collect and document individuals' personal experiences as part of the city's history.

The Design

Touch screen display

Turning mechanism to flip through compiled stories

Light up keyboard with 'Print' button

Printed responses include prompt, date printed, collection serial number, page number, and Author's name

Click on me!


Through several rounds of conducted sit-down interviews and surveys, our team garnered insights from local Seattle cafe patrons on their relationships and histories with coffee, followed by ideation of various concepts refined based on participants' answers. Through participatory design, we received user feedback informing the final iteration and design of our prototype.

  • Age 21
  • Current barista at Starbucks (chain) and General Porpoise (local).
  • Reason for being at cafe: Meet up with friends.
  • Lives in Seattle. Like to study at Starbucks but prefers tea.
  • Why they drink coffee: To meet people and pair with desserts.

"What I love the most about coffee culture and industry, that act of connecting, sharing, over something warm that fills you up. I kind of romanticize coffee a lot. For someone who doesn't drink it that much."

"Coffee is tradition and it brings people together."

  • Age 33
  • Works remotely
  • Ethiopian, lived in Texas. Moved to Washington 3 years ago.
  • Mother owned 3 coffee shops in Texas
  • Former Starbucks employee
  • Reason for being at cafe: To work.
  • Why they drink coffee: To network and connect with others.

"Coffee shops offer a place of comfort; it offers a home without a home because where you live might not be where you want to be."

  • Late 20's - early 30's
  • Barista at Cafe Allegro, used to work at Starbucks
  • Lived in Washington for 1 ½ years
  • Reason for being at cafe: Works as barista.
  • Why they drink coffee: To connect with people.

"I think at one point, coffee houses were a place for artists to hang out because it's inexpensive and people without a lot of money still wanna go and talk to people."

  • Age 48
  • Lived in Seattle 30 years
  • Reason for being at cafe: Internet access and to see friends.
  • Why they drink coffee: Drinks coffee now as an anti-depressant but originally started drinking it to meet people in Seattle.

Read the stories here


To get a sense of what aspects of coffee people are most knowledgable and passionate about, we interviewed four participants on their relationships with coffee in Seattle. Here are some things we found.

Which part of Seattle history did we want to focus on? This was a hard question, as each team member held values for different things. Ultimately, we decided on coffee, a subject that has enough matter to tackle.

To get our creative juices flowing, our team ideated 60 different ideas to address the needs observed while keeping in mind the design principles of our desired solution. No idea too silly.

After curating our findings and coming up with a general idea of finding revealing personal histories, we asked some cafe patrons to co-participate in several hands on and brainstorming activities involving clay building, role playing, and improv games to give these ideas form and function.

Each of us pitched some version of the product that we'd like to see, addressing different parts of our findings to answer our How Might We. Together, through lots and lots of deliberation and self-advocacy (AKA screaming matches that broke into resounding laughter), we decided to borrow elements from each person's idea; the historical narratives of Seattle residents from the "Timeline Rail," the pay-it-forward story writing element of "The Capsule," and the in-situ connection made from a physically situated device to create this creatively named amalgam, "Rolling Stories."

To get a better sense of how we expect users to interact with this device, we storyboard sequential scenes of this act playing out.

Understanding the timeline of events in the storyboard, now we come up with the mechanisms of how users will interact with the device. Sketches of the rack and device itself are drawn.

Being in charge of designing the mechanics of our device based on the visions of the team, I made primitive sketches of what it could look like (yes, it included a rolodex). Finer calculations and measurements for usability were made later on, then prototyped in paper and cardboard, before constructing with sturdier materials such as plywood and plexiglass.

Inspired by a design peer, I took this project as a learning opportunity to learn Autodesk Fusion 360 3D modeling software. After several days of obsessively learning the program, I was able to render this final 3D concept (and discovered a newfound love for 3D modeling in general!!!)

Meet the Team!

From left to right: Jessie Huynh, Ashley Tseng, Mckayla Buckley, Meron Solomon

Other work