Dr. Frankel began her career in jewellery design, evolving into product design for improving quality of life across different cultural, social, and capability populations. She earned a Master’s Degree (M.E.Des) in industrial design at the University of Calgary and a Ph.D. at Concordia University (focusing on Sensory Anthropology and Computational Design). She was also the first woman Director of the School of Industrial design at Carleton University. Her design expertise includes: Interaction Design, Participatory Design, Sensory Design Detailing, and User Experience Design. She is currently the Sensory Design Editor of the Routledge journal, “The Senses and Society”. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers and received extensive funding for research focusing on design for people with disabilities, interaction design, sensory aspects of design, and user experience design.
Dr. Frankel is interested in simplifying the relationship between people and their technology-enabled products. Her design research for smart products for the elderly and people with disabilities began in collaboration with the TAFETA (Technology Assisted Friendly Environments for the Third Age) group at the Elisabeth Bruyere Health Centre in Ottawa. Since then, she and her students have conducted research and design for improving people’s practices related to balance, communication, mobility, memory and cognition in areas such as cooking, exercise, shopping, socializing, and general interactions with technology products. Her Ph.D. applied Sensory Anthropology principles in studying impaired older people’s sensory practices with participants at the Churchill Seniors’ Centre in Ottawa. This led to a set of sensory insights for designers for developing assistive technologies for fitness for older adults. Her understanding of people’s sensory practices and perceptions in their everyday experiences influenced the course content of the Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID) course: IDES2205 Sensory Aspects of Design. This course shifts the predominantly visual orientation designers place on form development by investigating and deconstructing the multi-sensory qualities of everyday products.