Spring 2019 UCBX
Project completed with Ken Yuzuriha.
In terms of water heating and consumption, existing smart water bottles and smart kettles fail to provide a product that is fully encompassing of features such as temperature tracking, sanitation, and remote control.
To better understand as well as empathize with our users, we conducted (1) a current product teardown, (2) a competitive analysis of existing smart water products, and (3) created a user persona to guide continued research and prototype ideation.
Although the creation of our persona was useful during initial ideation by giving us an understanding of how a certain subset of users might approach and interact with our product, the scope of our target market was quite large and we failed to create different targeted scope personas for other potential use cases. This made it challenging to consistently refer to and align around personas throughout our design process. In continued iterations of Pao, we might consider a jobs to be done framework.
With feedback and data collected from usability testing, we collectively generated 8 rounds of physical rapid prototypes using paper, cardboard, plaster gauze, and sculpey, as well as 3 wireframe iterations before reaching the final design.
With only 3 months to complete the project and only 3 hours per week to meet in person, time constraints gave us the opportunity to individually ideate and generate several rounds of prototypes, but converging on design decisions that moved our product forward was sometimes challenging. In spite of these challenges, our team conducted several usability tests to discover that there was often a lack of consistency between the app and the tea kettle as we struggled to account for feedback on the tea kettle itself. Our team ultimately decided to include a digital display on the side of the tea kettle that corresponded to the feedback given in the app. This digital display allowed users to identify the status of the tea kettle even from far away. We also decided to increase the spacing between interactive elements on the app to resolve "fat finger syndrome".
This project was an incredible exercise in both learning about and applying interaction design principles to not only digital interfaces, but physical products as well. Questions that I learned to keep in mind throughout the process was “How might we create consistency and cohesion between physical and digital interfaces?” In future iterations of the Pao Tea Kettle and app concept, I would like to more deeply explore how to better incorporate manual controls onto the physical product, as well as how to utilize audio, visual, or touch feedback to better design for inclusion and accessibility.
Still curious about my design process? Read more about Pao here.