This design project was based on a prompt given by Vectorform in order to validate the business case for an aftermarket Washer/Dryer smart device. As part of the Summer Intern Class of 2017, I worked to develop an early stage Proof of Concept device and mobile application – known as Project Rumble. We were a four person team with assigned roles and responsibilities. We conducted initial research, prototyped ideas and finally created a proof of concept that the company could present to its clients.
Timeline: 2 months
User Needs Analysis, User Journey Mapping, Digital Prototyping, Concept Validation
Typically IoT devices are costly and require replacement of the whole appliance or product that is being made “smart”. In the case of large home appliances, like the washer and dryer, people may want their appliance to be connected but don’t want or need to invest in a new product.
Validate if we built an IoT product that can very simply be used to retrofit an older not-connected device could be a good strategic play and large market opportunity.
Develop a cheap, accessible, introductory IoT device that can attach to a washer or dryer and detect cycle progress or issues based on the vibrations. This device will connect to a mobile application that can alert the user to changes in their washing and drying cycles.
The idea is that the product developed through Project Rumble will address two major barriers to entry for people into the IoT space: cost and retrofit knowledge.
To gain insights into the exact needs of local non-profits we as a team conducted four interviews with members of three different organizations, all of whom work with homeless youth and their families.
One individual spoke to the difficulty she faces in communicating and building relationships with each teachers at multiple schools. Currently, she communicates with them via email and every once and a while receives a list of assigned homework. This is of great help as many students will pretend they do not have homework when asked or will state that they have left their assignments at school. While receiving homework lists is helpful, it is inconsistent and does not include the actual worksheets. Furthermore the head of the after school program changes yearly meaning this process of connecting with teachers and building a rapport must take place annually.
From the User Interviews, we learnt that these organizations are in need of a way to connect and communicate with the teachers of the students they service, access student's assignments and worksheets, and track their progress in completing their work.
The key findings suggested that the solution must support multiple user profiles (parent, teacher and organization/volunteer), be a responsive design because of limited access to computers and allow volunteers to access it on the go. The volunteers need an easy way to track work and print out documents, while the teachers need an easy and intuitive way to upload documents.
In this phase we took into consideration our findings from user research and began to narrow down the most important unmet needs. As with all design processes, we began with a broad question and at each step narrowed our focus to a specific problem and user group. We focused our brainstorming on feature sets that we felt were necessary in solving the problem.
We then worked in a joint session of wire framing to combine our ideas for features and functionality. This resulted in a rough sketch of the various screen and the differing workflows each user type (parent, organization, volunteer, and teacher) would go through.
We then created a High Fidelity Prototype using Sketch and built interactivity using inVision.
Click on the below prototype to see interactions.