Highlighting The Work of Non Profits

For quarter four I am pushing through to build out my wireframes with Story Share in a second iteration. It has been an interesting process on going through this design state, again. In quarter 2 I was able to get a taste of what it is like to do user testing with thermostat wireframes. It is interesting to find each time I go through the process that the first concept or iteration to me feels like the best one. Each iteration after that becomes the reality of the world imprinting its true functionality.  Through testing and talking to industry professionals this project is beginning to tighten up in direction and concept.

Below is the second iteration of wires that I will be using for testing this week. The goal of this wireframe is to allow new users to arrive at a space and understand how to achieve a specific goal. This intro slide focuses the user to make the choice of investigating the Story Share app as a new user or to sign in as a previous user. In this scenario the user is new to the space and looking to volunteer. Ex. 1 is of the main page and Ex. 2 is the following screen of a user story.

 

 Once a user finds a volunteer opportunity they are interested in they are brought to a more in depth level of the app. While viewing the story the option to volunteer with the event becomes a major icon listed at the bottom part of the screen. If a user decides that this is an event that they want to be apart of they tap the “help out with this project” button. Keeping this action as a consistent feature to new users is a form of a reminder to sign up. Basic information is collected as seen in Ex. 4 and email notification for registration is sent to the user. This is to engage the user but not overwhelm them with a barrage of front end questioning.

The ability to allow users to read through projects and navigate the space without being registered is important. By doing this people who are exploring this app can see what level of importance it might have to their needs and goals. Advocacy is a primary function to the purpose of creating stories for Story Share. Creating a continuous feed of information for particular volunteer opportunities can show the on going challenge that many non profits and their clients go through. My goal is to allow users to share stories in order to continue the advocacy of the clients they are helping.

IDSE 402 Putting Context To Design

After reading the assignments for IDSE 401, I completed a chart to depict the different authors point of view. On one access I thought of showing a linear progression between future design and traditional design. To me this represents how I felt the authors focused on when deciding how they want to make design decisions. 

The authors on the bottom part of the chart used more traditional examples to depict the environment to make informed design decisions. When discussing emotions I feel that they are trying to focus on a more humanities approach to design. This would involve areas such anthropology, philosophy, and sociology to inform the designer on where to discover clues when making decisions.

The authors on the top use more future (not currently existing) design ideas to make decisions. Sanders is the best example of this with her emphasis on the individual that is the ideal user being the center of all decisions.

-Chart depicting the different understandings I interpreted from the reading.

The half of the graph showing Human Focused/Computer Centered is how I feel the authors view interaction. The authors on right side explore the ability to allow technology to function ethnographically. While the authors on the left support methods of human to human ethnography. The authors in this section depicted the human computer interaction relationship and the process of ubiquitous computing. On the the far end of this chart is Mann and his discussion of engaging technology to capture every aspect of his life. I feel it pushes the interaction of computer centered design. Altogether the readings depict important fundamentals when exploring environments for design.

Empowering Volunteers

Story Share is a project that focuses on providing the best volunteering opportunities to high school students. This project allows high school students to curate their personal profiles in order to share their schedules so that organizations that need volunteers can be alerted to their availability. One primary goal of this project is to create a website that can record volunteer work so students have a working portfolio that can easily be used for their professional or collegiate ambitions. During the next quarter, my plan is to test and revise the user flows for a working website dedicated to this service.

-Student meeting with counselor to go over college admission requirements.

The website is derived out of design research collected at the Onion Creek Flood in Austin, TX. On October 31, flood waters caused damage to communities in South Austin and surrounding towns. From the events that unfolded, it became important to me to build a site that works as an online resource for advocacy, response, and safety. The intention of the project is to create an organic interchange between community members who wish to volunteer and those organizations that are in need of volunteers. One under-recognized demographic of Austin’s community are high school students who are seeking volunteer opportunities. This project aims to help them become a voice of advocacy in a time of need.

This site is intended to function as a valuable tool for high school students in that it creates a place where students can find volunteer opportunities. By testing design functions of the site with various users’ insight can be learned to find the most effective forms of how to communicate this site. Many students are unsure of what, where, or how to even get started in volunteering. Story Share recognizes that this is a problem and seeks to offer a solution.

 -Initial design layouts of Story Share website.

Motivating factors for High School Students to volunteer are:

  • College Admissions.
  • High School Requirements.
  • Curriculum requirements for Academy of Global Studies.
  • Student clubs.
  • Personal interests.

By allowing students to include photos, stories, and schedule volunteer times the chances of the students to find opportunities that work for them become more realistic. Story Share plans to allow users to share experiences social media sites in order to help draw volunteers towards events that need more participation.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping with the efforts of making this into a reality please contact Kurt at kurt.hanley@austincenterfordesign.com Assistance in the form of time, advice, or contacts is extremely valuable for the success of this project.

Thank you.

Mobile Apps for Disaster Recovery

Giving tools to people engaging them to create is the best way to encourage more volunteering response. Having the chance to craft and sculpt any of the surroundings people are in gets to the heart of volunteering. With this app the goal is to give a set of tools that stimulate a volunteer to inform about damaged areas into engage others to volunteer. By raising awareness of the need the stronger the community responds and the better survivors still feel connected to the community. I can’t think of a greater way to increase community awareness than to make tools for them to raise awareness of an disaster.

Below is an phone app for people involved in volunteer service. The goal is to engage others to become volunteers and help out on similar projects. One way that I am exploring this space is by utilizing music. This phone app below is a walk through of how an individual can document the work that they are doing and share it in a fun engaging way with other people. Music is the medium that transmits a messages to others. By having a application operating from the ideas of creative problem solving this can be a solution for natural disasters not being quickly dropped by popular media for other stories.

The other concept for Natural Disaster relief work is rooted in supporting the survivor directly.  Having an emotionally supportive phone app that provides a step by step process on how to recover from a natural disaster can empower survivors. Most of the time people are unprepared and unknowledgeable on the steps to take after a disaster occurs. The goal of this app is normalize the process of recovery by providing goal setting in task managed approach. This is an application that incorporates a task list to provide a better understanding of a sense of accomplishment. In the workflow below a user is given a set of tasks to complete in each category. The idea is to project the frustrations of the daunting task of recovery into a more understandable language with small steps and goals.

Other engagements that the app can have is check in to evacuation center. Allowing check ins on the mobile device will allow a better managed intake as well as have a the ability to communicate in multiple languages. Discussing this with peers has raised some ideas of who to focus this type of app too. Another idea I found to be profound was make this an app geared more toward kids. By creating a rebuilding education tool that incorporates the methods of play to engage kids could be extremely beneficial to the rebuilding process.

Design Ideas For Disaster Relief

Natural disasters, and the interrelated social aftermath they cause, present an ever-expanding social plight. Through my research, the complexity of this issue has become increasingly clear. As a designer, I plan to solve for these solutions through methodical testing anditerations. The two avenues through which I will begin seeking these solutions are by examining, first, the effectiveness of the intake process of evacuation centers and, secondly, the effectiveness of volunteer readiness.

All survivors of natural disasters go through an intake process in order to receive assistance and aid. The purpose of the intake process is to collect information for agencies to report on. The Red Cross is the main point of contact and oversees the intake process for most natural disasters. While researching at the Onion Creek Evacuation Center, I was able to get a strong understanding of the intake process. I found that success of this process can be compromised by a variety of variables most commonly logistics, language barriers, lack of volunteers, loss of paperwork, and basic disorganization. In an effort to help mitigate the problem of access and outreach, mobile registration services is one design idea that would benefit both survivors and volunteers. This alternative to the intake process would allow for survivors to preregister and schedule meetings with case managers more efficiently. Mobile registration can provide information on needs before volunteers arrive and allow responders to estimate the numbers for supplies more accurately and more quickly. This format for registration, and the increased access it would provide, would be able to promote the idea of a safety ground and next steps for recovery. Mobile registration also provides a platform to educate survivors on the next steps available to them for recovery. See below for a story board that outlines a mobile app that can help families recover faster.

 

My second design idea involves finding new and different ways to engage volunteers in order to alleviate the havoc of natural disasters. A city’s best way to help its citizens alleviate the devastation of natural disasters is to provide preparation and information ahead of time. My research indicates that it is difficult for most community members to find out how to volunteer and help their community during these times of crises. One way to resolve this problem is to establish a website that provides information about disaster relief and matches users with volunteer opportunities. For individuals who find volunteering unchanging and predictable, the website would engage and challenge them with opportunities to expand on their preexisting skills and experience. Additionally, this platform is a great way to get high school students more involved in volunteer opportunities and ultimately bolster their college applications. Another benefit of having centralized volunteers via a website is that it allows nonprofits outreach opportunities and a way to greater inform their communities. Ultimately, immediate access to a volunteer base would greatly change the nature and efficiency of recovery when disaster strikes.  See below for a storyboard of how a service like this can work and create a community of change.

To see how I got to these as design ideas view

Theory of Change IDSE 203 Studio Class

I had the opportunity to interview survivors of the Onion Creek Flood. What I learned from their experiences has deeply touched my heart and has been often on my mind. I have transcribed their stories and expanded my data by putting our conversations into transcribed utterances.  By doing this, I gain a better visual map to view survivor experiences to discover patterns and develop design solutions. As I have been analyzing data and  grouping the utterances  I have become aware of a couple of prevailing themes.

To get an up close and personal perspective of the events that occurred during the Onion Creek Flooding, I decided to go on location.  In early November 2013 I traveled to the affected area. I canvassed the disaster site and observed multiple people in volunteer groups cleaning up homes with survivors. There were many groups helping clean out and restore homes. Many of the survivors are living in camper trailers out front of their homes as they worked to make it habitable again. One of my first encounters was a woman and a man sitting on the back of a truck’s tailgate.  They appeared deep in thought but I approached them as they stared at the house across the street. They suspiciously eyeballed me as they pulled heavy drags from their cigarettes as I approached.

I introduced myself and asked their permission to interview them.  The woman sharply replied, “What are you with the paper or something?”  I explained I was a design student.  Her eyes grew with confusion and she blurted out, “Design!? What the hell does “this” have to do with design!?” I responded, “Well, I am not sure yet but, I would like to know your story to find out.” Not the best response although it was enough to gain access into the world of a survivor.

It was not long before the two folks I approached wanted to tell their stories, in fact they started to pull in other neighbors to add to my interview.  They directed me specifically to a disabled man they stated was important for me to meet and interview. He lived alone and lost everything in the flood, his home completely destroyed. Each person who told me their stories recounted where they were on the fateful night and how fearful they were.

The residence of the neighborhood also vented frustration about the aftermath of the flood. I heard a common theme of “loss of choice.” I was uncertain what they meant by that so I continued to ask questions. They shared feelings that the City of Austin was attempting to displace their community, one of lower socioeconomic standing.  They expressed disappointment and sorrow of the loss of their community.The group was frustrated with waiting to hear what options they have and limitations they had to move forward in getting their lives back.

The group talked about the media coverage of the flood. They felt underreported and forgotten about and that the trail construction at lady bird lake took precedence over them.  Personally, I can agree with the knowledge of this flood was extremely low. During conversations with people in the Austin community it was evident most were unaware that there was even a flood. It’s debatable that this is due to reporting or the community not recognizing tragedies that unfold within it. Their discussion reflects a view that reflects the themes of Austin’s gentrification and displacement of the lower class more so than media coverage.

From my research, I saw relief on the faces of victims who were greeted by support entities. For example, the American Red Cross has been a presence since 1881 and brings comfort and immediate support to survivors immediately after a disaster strikes. Thereafter it is up to the community and other entities to rebuild a community and support individuals who experienced a loss.

Since my initial interviews I have stayed in contact with some of the survivors. There has been some alteration to the recovery efforts. The biggest change in particular is FEMA’s involvement now that damage reports have estimated at $107 million.  Many of the people I interviewed still have no clue on what to do. They are waiting to hear their options on what they are allowed to do next.

After being apart of the efforts of recovery and interviewing survivors I have the same questions that everyone does at this point. I feel that some of the efforts for recovery are redundant and can be replaced by technology advancements. I have developed a theory of change to put the insights that I have developed into a method. I plan to use this theory as I move forward in the third quarter. Insights and a strong theory of change the foundation of my work and I look forward to using this knowledge to build sound design solutions.

Thermostat 6: Lessons & Reflection

Since October 2013, I have been working extensively on building a thermostat interface. Taking on the venture of designing a tool that most people have come into contact with adds its challenges and benefits. This is now my 6th iteration of what I have designed and tested to be the “Ideal Thermostat”. To build the initial understanding of what was needed in the thermostat design I focused on two things. One was the lesson outline from the professor that acted as a mock up version of a client requests and the other was to a build concept map off of an existing Honeywell Thermostat. This is the list of “client requirements for the thermostat project.

  • Adjust the temperature (warmer / cooler)
  • Switch between heating and cooling
  • Turn the system off and on
  • Set / edit a 7 day schedule
  • Interrupt the schedule to adjust the temperature
  • Have a date / time function
  • Have thermostat prompt when the the user could break the system by switching A/C on in winter.

After mapping the system, see: (Cleaning Up Design Complication), one thing became a focus to me, simplicity. Looking at the rough draft of the concept map it was apparent to me how overwhelming this particular system is. Initially, I wanted to scrap everything because of how frustrating it was to achieve objectives in the Honeywell system. After initial prototypes failed miserably I began to dive deeper into what the interaction of a thermostat is with a user. I used the book Microinteractions, by Dan Saffer as a guide to build a better concept. It helped me in gaining understanding with how to look at exploring using visual clues for user goal completion. This is using recognizable images and repeatable actions to form a basis in how to use a system. What I began to learn is that I was not designing for visual aesthetics but designing for visual communication. The more effective I can show the thermostat the better the user could make the system a tool to achieve desired goals.

*Bringing users to the desired goal by eliminating multiple options and highlighting interaction through text.

The thermostat successfully incorporates all of the requirements laid out in the beginning of the course. It has been tested with users and iterated upon to this point. The Version 6 Ideal Thermostat is an intuitive design that utilizes the benefits of progressive disclosure and feedback models. This thermostat communicates to the users in a language that is understood by users. The last tests for this thermostat provided feedback that the visual artifacts are successful in conveying importance and how to use them.

*Accounting for user choice. These are multiple states that users can get based off of there decision they make. They provide visual feedback for what the prior decision was.

Overall, I enjoyed this project very much. The thermostat provided me insight on how to investigate mental maps of others. I learned how important it is to use visual artifacts as tools to complete goals or initiate the interaction. Looking back I have been able to bring this thermostat from what I now understand as a conceptual nightmare into well designed deliverable. The process has pointed out the importance to be able to understand when to stop moving the project forward.

This is my final mapping of the “Ideal Thermostat”.

Here are links to the previous posts.

Thermostat 5: Progressive Disclosure and Feedback Models

This is now my fifth version of the ideal state for thermostat design. I have previously posted other versions of my progress of developing an intuitive design for a thermostat. The posts have included information that has been gained through a process of user testing called “think aloud testing”. It has been helpful for me as a designer to do this because it sheds light on areas that I can communicate better through design.

Over the design process I have learned that what might seem the most intuitive work flows to me is not always the case when it involves another persons point of view. I could understand this from even evaluating testing between users. As a test administrator I get to see different results amongst the different users on how the set out to in walking a path to completing a goal. Using this information I have been building off of the information through testing and now presenting the fifth version in this post. The previous versions of the ideal thermostat can be viewed at the end of this post.

In this round of testing the fluid progress of a user has become much more uniform and clear. Round 5 might be the first time when multiple users successfully completed each task with no more than one decision hesitation and no extra steps taken to complete the desired task.

A big difference in the testing is attributed to incorporating progressive disclosure models into the thermostat and feedback boxes. A progressive disclosure is a design technique I am using to reduce an overwhelming feeling from the user when something that might seem jarring. It has occurred in testing mostly when introducing a new interface or when jumping to different page layouts.

Feedback is a microinteraction technique that is being implemented in the scheduling function of this thermostat. The goal of feedback is to have the user keeping “playing” with the thermostat overtime. I am doing this by providing the user a set of prompts when scheduling is on and adjustments are made. Without this the user is more likely to not use temperature scheduling and disregard its benefits. I have provided example of both feedback and progressive disclosure models below in the breakdown of test results.

Here is the breakdown of test results:

Prompt A, B, C, and D had no hesitations or second steps. Some of the wording in the prompt can be cleaned up to increase confidence level in user flow.

Prompt E: Visually to jarring. Users did not like the interaction and were surprised when the screen went black with only a couple buttons left over.

Correction: Have the off screen appear from slow descending from top as a shield or with a gradient. By doing this a transition will guide the user into the new state similar to a progressive disclosure model.

Prompt F:  Feedback button icons unexpected for one user. After the testing the user discussed that it made sense but they just did not expect that feedback  interaction to happen in the area it happened. This is not good because the primary function if feedback it to have the user find it enjoyable and wanting to engage with the buttons.

Corrections: The layout of the feedback box is being slightly altered. This does not answer the problem space for that one area. Variations will be tested to see if an action can happen in the scheduling to satisfy the users insight.

Prompt F. Example of Feedback

Prompt G: In Order to prevent the users from turning on the AC in the winter a feedback box occurs. It informs users the problems that can happen in a brief statement. The feedback icon also has norgie which is a icon that can be clicked to find out even further information. When clicked progressive disclosure model slides down from the feedback box. It has conclusive information that details why the user is being stopped in their goal to adjust the system to AC.

Users responded well to it. Many liked the interaction and often did not even hit the norgie to discover more info. One participant after reading the feedback box said “Oh, that’s disturbing.” when considering the system breaking.

Prompt G: Example of Progressive Disclosure Model

Overall testing this round has gone much smoother that all previous tests. At this point it feels like I am close to a final version of the ideal thermostat. There is one more round of testing and I plan to make a couple subtle changes and incorporate and system setup section.

Previous Versions:

Thermostat Wire Frame 4

Thermostat Wire Frame 3

Thermostat Wire Frame 2

Thermostat Wire Frame 1

Cleaning Up Design Complication

Natural Disaster UX Design Project

Moving forward with wrapping up research and going into synthesis there have been many unique situations that have unfolded. From the last blog post on service design models and evacuation centers: Natural Disaster Relief Service Design Project, more information has been collected and interviews completed. The biggest step forward in the last weeks was getting interviews from the survivors of the Onion Creek Flood. This has provided rich data to help during synthesis and the goal is to depict it in a timeline format for a cross analysis with the evacuation service design model. This post outlines everything that has build up to this point in IDSE 203.

I grew up in Colorado, a beautiful place but also constantly threatened by wildfires and floods. For the last couple years the frequency and severity of danger have increased substantially. Its almost now an annual event for to get pictures from family and friends at evacuation. Recognizing the way natural disasters affect so many people to is one of the reasons that I was drawn to research it AC4D.

The other reason for wanting to focus work on disaster relief was from prior career experience. One of the first jobs I had when moving to Texas was providing housing to homeless individuals. I worked with Hurricane Katrina survivors almost every day. Almost a decade later, many of the people many of the people that relocated to texas from New Orleans are still struggling to rebuild their lives. Almost a decade later, many of the people that relocated to Texas from New Orleans are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Focusing on immersion in the problem space and building rich mental models is the best method for extracting qualitative data. As a design researcher, I wanted to experience first hand the process of what it is like to be involved in relief efforts. Early on one thing I learned about was the importance of maintaining an awareness of the trauma that individuals are going through. For many people in disasters, dealing with loss becomes an overwhelming emotion and needs to be addressed with the utmost care.

It was important to keep this in mind while beginning to reach out to the local Red Cross. The best way to volunteer was to go down to the evacuation center and ask to be a volunteer. After the floods in South Austin an Evacuation Center was set up at the Dove Springs Recreation Center that provided an area for design research. In the Red Cross this is a person who is referred to as a “spontaneous volunteer”. These are usually people who are local and want to help in the efforts in supporting their neighbor. The following is an outline of the information collected from the research portion for IDSE 203 project.

Photos From Dove Springs Evacuation Center

Focus Statement: The focus of this research is to make communication more transparent and accessible for natural disaster relief efforts.

Here is a breakdown of what information collected during research:

Recorded Interviews: Around 325.27 minutes

5 Red Cross Volunteers

5 Flood survivors of the onion creek flood

1 survey from Austin Disaster Relief Network

Non recorded interviews

Private Case Manager meetings with survivors.

To capture this experience I transcribed the events that unfolded from my own personal experience into a narrative.

Volunteer Areas: 3 Days

Intake area, security, ERV distribution, CM, sleeping quarters.

Photos:

167 personal

40 from flood survivor

Contextual Inquiry:

4 Highlighted in bold below in a timeline format.

Here is where the entire research plan can be viewed.

Each disaster is unique and the severity of their impact on a community isn’t just about measuring wind speed or rain fall in a storm. Its about understanding how the disaster and its aftermath are experienced by the victims. Putting a timeline on the most recent events here in Austin the focus is going to be to use it as tool to compare with other models. One model will be the service model map from the first blog post . It will serve as a stable point to anchor new ideas and design insights.

Below is an overview of the timeline of events that unfolded through research. This is a brief of events that unfolded congruently to the design research recently completed.

October 31

A major flood turned a community on the south side of Austin into a disaster area overnight. Immediately response teams came to help victims. Some delays happened along the way because of a faulty flood gauge and many roads were blocked preventing responders to get to the disaster area quicker.

The local news reported that more than 1,000 homes were affected. Many people were rescued by being airlifted from the roofs of their homes to safety. One story that stuck out to me was from one survivor who was airlifted off of their roof to safety. The next day they called into work to report what happened and that they could not make it in. Their boss responded with reprimanding them on leaving their uniform in the house. This is a good example of how disconnected the rest of Austin was to the events unfolding around Onion Creek.

Homes Damaged in Onion Creek Flood

Organizations like the Red Cross and the Austin Disaster Relief Teams began working in the affected area once the flood waters receded.

The area near Onion Creek that morning had cars piled on top of each other and personal belongings from other neighborhoods scattered all over. Many survivors did not know what to do next. Efforts by non-profits included going to the disaster zones “affected area” in large ambulance looking vehicles called ERVs (Emergency Response Vehicles). They provided immediate assistance and presence to the community that people are there to help. Teams would begin the process of filling out paperwork and handing out warm food, blankets, and other donations.

Red Cross Handing Out Supplies to Survivors

November 8th

To begin the research the goal was to get first hand experience with what it is like to be involved in disaster recovery. To achieve this Case Managers at the Red Cross were shadowed for 3 days at the Dove Springs Evacuation Center. This style of research provided perspective from users in their environment. Being exposed to first hand it was not hard to feel the emotional stress and exhaustion that was weighing on everyone’s shoulders.

Contextual interviews with responders were done in a variety of different ways and often spontaneous. One CI was done by having a CM walk through the paperwork that they fill out in process a survivor through an evacuation zone. This was insightful when it came to understanding the perspective of a CM. Another CI was conducted by having some of the RC volunteers show me the different memorial pins they get at each disaster. Every pin had a story or a different chain of events that told a story. A common thing that was said by many of the volunteers is that every disaster is different.

Being a volunteer at an evacuation site exposes research to everyone that comes in contact. People that were working for the city or other agencies would discuss events of the flood. They would openly share conversations and opinions with people they saw as relatable. City of Austin employees at the evacuation center provided (non recorded) information. Most of it ended up being no different that what publicly has already been addressed.

November 17th

The following week was set to focus on the survivor. Neighborhoods along Onion Creek was an affected area that received high levels of damage. Being there was an experience in its own. People’s homes were destroyed and their belongings were being shoveled into large dumpsters that lined every street. People whose homes were damaged and destroyed said that this was the first time anyone had come down to interview them. They were excited to have someone listen to their story.

Example of how many families are living after the flood. This camper is on the main street in the neighborhood and has been a image for news reports for the flood.

Getting to speak with survivors and listen to the stories of what they went through was shocking. Neighborhoods of people spent that night on the roof of their homes watching cars and other large debris barrel down the street. One of the survivors showed me around the area where they were during the flood. They pointed out that every house on the block had holes cut in the roof as the community struggled to get above the flood.

One of the survivors shared with me photos of the flood unfolding. During our interview he spoke of each picture and what he was experiencing. In one of the pictures he described the feeling of looking in to an aquarium as the water on the outside rose faster and higher than the water that was in their home.

Another resource for information was the Austin Disaster Relief Network. The work they do is different in the way that they provide most of the same relief services as well as long term disaster care. For this project they They provided thorough information in response to a questionnaire on disaster communication. This was extremely helpful in understand the techniques used in disaster communication.

The best way for sense making amidst the wealth of information from research is a process called synthesis. To do this photos have been printed out and put on the office walls. The interviews were transcribed, broken down into utterances, and then put on the wall. Expanding the data puts all of the information out in front of you to be better sorted and organized into groupings through affinity diagramming. The next steps will be to continue breaking down the groups of information into smaller groups in search of similarity. There are already many clustering of patterns that can lead to insights.

Utterances Being Formed into Groupings.

Contact has been maintained with individuals in the community. As research it would interesting to reach out again for clarification to make more thorough design decisions.

Thermostat Wire Frame 4

This is my fourth interpretation of my thermostat that I have been working on for a project in IDSE 201. This iteration of my thermostat built in Adobe Illustrator as a wireframe was to focus on achieving a high functioning scheduling system. I have tried out many types of interactions in the schedule. One of the beginning ideas I had was to use arrow keys to move the hours and minutes. It was effective for users to achieve the desired goal in setting the temp but at a cost. The screen was too cluttered and was overwhelming for people to feel comfortable in. The current state involves using a rolling mechanism that cleans up the space on the screen and features blank areas allowing users eyes to settle when searching. Here are the different versions below.

 

Testing for this round went much cleaner than all previous test. This is due to a couple reasons. The thermostat layout is much easier to figure out because of prompts and well labeled buttons. The other reason is from my growth at facilitating the tests. Early on I took an approach of having relaxed test environment where I allowed for more casual testing. This was not effective in extracting the proper feedback. I have also worked on changing the wording of test questions. One of the requirements that I have been trying to test was the “Interrupt the schedule to adjust the temperature”. I was unsure how to engage the user to interact with this prompt until I changed the layout of the prompt. Below is an example the interface with the latest form of the prompt.

Here are a list of breakdowns that occurred during this round of testing.

Part A: One participant ended up having confusion on the prompt to “return to home screen” since it series flow never left the home screen.

Correction: Changing wording to say “When you’re finished end on home screen”.

Part B: Two participants had confusion with the fan icon being in the on state.

Correction:  Instead of current icon that represents the on state, change with new symbols that are arrows depicting the rotation.

Part C: Unable to set multiple day in schedule due to spin wheel interaction.

Minimal expectation to have more of the schedule to pop up with interaction.

Correction: Experimentation with linear seven day scheduling.

Part D: No problem areas.

Correction: Successfully implement a sensor device that enables the user to know when it is unsafe for the system to be changed.

Part E: Final slide needs to show a better state of being off.

Correction: Sketch various off screens and test them.

Part F: Needs more specificity with being in a schedule and changing the temperature.

Correction: Change prompt to inform user that change will only happen for set period before returning to schedule.

This was the first testing round in which I took SUS scores to allow the user to give me more feedback. I received a SUS score in the range of 80-85 for my thermostat from users.

Below are the rest of the goals that are required as part of this assignment. Click here to see the complete thermostat wire frame.

Adjust the temperature (warmer / cooler)

Switch between heating and cooling

Turn the system off and on

Set / edit a 7 day schedule

Interrupt the schedule to adjust the temperature

New goals: Add a date / time function

Have thermostat prompt when the the user could break the system by switching A/C on in winter.