The subject of this assignment is handheld devices with both physical and digital controls.
The OXO brand is known for applying universal design to deliver well-designed, comfortable and easy to use tools for cooking and food preparation. They are exploring opportunities to expand their business into new areas that start to incorporate sensors and digital UIs for precision results (think Good Grips meets modernist cuisine tools), as well as expanding into new types of product lines.
This assignment is a 3-D lo-fi prototyping exercise for a couple of quick designs to demonstrate how they might apply their core competency in new ways. You have the choice of prototyping and evaluating the design of ONE of three different products:
- A handheld electric screwdriver with a variable speed control and digital display allows you to auto-select screwdriver shape and size.
- variable speed control – you decide the mechanism/interaction and whether it is fluid or distinct settings
- screw-driver selection mechanism (either digital or non-digital - your choice) allows you to automatically select and switch between either Phillips or flathead shape and five different sizes of each shape (for 10 total screwhead choices)
- screw-driver direction selection mechanism (non-digital) to either screw in or unscrew
- digital readout (monochromatic, non-touch sensitive) of number of screws screwed and screws unscrewed for tracking your progress as a handyperson.
- can be used right or left-handed
- product dimensions are a minimum of 6 inches long and must be able to contain a rechargeable battery.
- product weight is between 1-1.5 pounds.
- A shower control interface for a high-end, multi-feature valve and temperature control. Features include:
- product controls and interface/display must fit within the dimensions of approximately 4 x 4 x 2 in volume
- product weight is approximately .75 pounds, and should be able to be mounted on a wall
- digital display will show settings such as temperature, water flow volume, valves (this could be used to control whether water comes out of the tub spout, the shower head, a handheld wand)
- Physical affordances and controls must be easy to use when visibility and dexterity are challenged by soapy hands, steamy showers, and absence of corrective lenses
- A pet-grooming appliance for the ultimate, pampered pet experience. This device is an all-in-one pet brush, nail filer, and pet massager. This is the Swiss Army Knife of 21st Century pet care! Features include:
- A brush component that allows for all-over fur brushing
- A comb for fine-grained de-matting and/or flea removal.
- A rotary tool (similar to a Dremel) that allows your pet's nails/claws to be filed. This should be able to be turned on and off and choose from 3 speeds.
- A component that allows for a vibrating massage of your pet, (similar to a back massager for humans). You must be able to turn on and off and choose from 3 speeds.
- A digital display allows you to choose and play 5 different soothing sounds to calm your pet while you groom her (ocean waves, rainfall, birds chirping, dogs howling, or cat purring). You can also choose to include an optional 6th sound of a can opener to attract your pet to come to you for initial grooming.
- The device must be between 1 and 2 lbs. and used in either your right or left hand.
- The device must be shorter than 8 inches long in the longest dimension.
- The components of the device can be modular if needed - for example, you could remove the massager tool to add on the brush, comb, or nail filer.
- Other features as desired, as long as the size and weight constraints are met (e.g., treat dispenser, aromatherapy, etc.)
Create sketches and models for the primary form of the new design/device. Narrow down your choices and prototype one of them by creating a physical model to evaluate with users. You can use whatever materials you are most comfortable with, but this is focused on basic form factors and location of physical controls and digital user interface, not final design considerations like color, material, or finish.
Run at least one user evaluation and video record the process. Consider scenario-based testing and what props or context you will need to create to understand if your prototype works well. Think about what factors you want to evaluate: comfort, ease of use, ease of access to controls, etc.
You may collaborate on the design and testing with others, but if you do, you must still each develop, test, and report on your own prototypes to ensure you have mastered competency with creating prototypes.
Submit the following:
Prototype Materials: Bring your actual model prototype materials to class for demonstration. Your submission here should just include photos of your prototype as evidence of what you made, so that we can clearly see and understand your design. You can explain it more detail in the process blog; you don't have to include that in this submission. Enclose the photos in a PDF and submit that here.
Project Report: Write a post on your process blog documenting your design and testing. This should be neat and clear, not overly designed, but suitable for a process portfolio artifact. The report should cover the following elements:
Include sketches, scans, photos, and other evidence of the design, the prototype, and your testing of it. Submit the URL of your entry in the associated Process Blog assignment: A2.PB.
Design: description of how you applied OXO brand and design elements to this new product space.
Prototype: description of the prototypes you created.
Analysis: summary of the results of your testing -- what about the prototype worked well, what needed improvement, and what you concluded about the effectiveness of your design from the testing.
Video Demo (of User Test): A 60 second (maximum) video that shows your prototype being tested. Obviously, this won't be a complete record of the testing you did, but just a quick snapshot of it in action. It doesn't have to be a professional video production, just a low-fi record (phone video is fine). Include a link (URL) to an online version (YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) in your process blog! The grade will be recorded here, though.
Assignment by Andy Davidson, Julie Kientz, and all of our TAs.