Thermostat Wire Frame 2
In IDSE 201 we have been studying and are learning about the benefits of wire frames. Wire frames create a visual model that test flows and the intuitive state of the design. They function much like blueprints and they can be used in many beneficial ways. During recent tests I was able to use wire frames to help in designing a flow model for a thermostat. Wire frames became crucial in think out loud tests by giving users the ability to interact with a thermostat system. I found wire frames provided me a tool to find problem areas that were confusing and allowed me to make changes quickly. This is an example of where I began with building a wire frame for a thermostat.
Wire frames helped me increase the functionality of the design process. Over the last week I would make changes to the thermostat from feedback I received from users. Testing with the wire frame gave me the ability to better identify problems. It also opened up discussion with users on their thoughts and ideas with the thermostats functionality. Without the wire frame I would be unable to have as valuable of an artifact in user testing. Wire frames allow me the opportunity to get the idea out and in front of users allowing the design to be better refined.
One part of the thermostat I have been focused on is the on/off button with scheduling. I wanted this feature so users can quickly turn on or off the schedule. The schedule is a secondary function and is important for its easy of use. Initial tests the users did not interact with the on/off button because it was difficult to find. I changed the flow so that the user must interact by swiping the button to ON in order to access the schedule. Unexpectedly, I began to see results I did not foresee. The function and look of the on/off switch created recognition in the user. Users no longer tried to tap to edit, delete, or add new scheduled event. They swiped at objects and focused on features that mimicked the on/off button. This idea is best explain in the book Microinteractions, by Dan Saffer. “When we’re engaged in object recognition, our eyes are looking for familiar shapes, known as geons. Geons are simple shapes such as squares, triangles, cubes, and cylinders that our brains combine together to figure out what an object is.” Below are the interfaces from my thermostat that initiate recognition for a user. The example on the left shows slide movement the example on the right is push button.
Moving forward I am going to have be more critical on how I introduce actions. Creating buttons with unique movement can be a great way to influence a users intuition if done correctly. If a user has to swipe to access a particular part of the interface they are going to assume that they will need to engage with the rest of the objects similarly. This PDF attachment shows my annotated wire frame for the thermostat project up to Nov 18, 2013. Included in the PDF are also photos of participants going through the user test.