The OXO brand is known for applying universal design to deliver well-designed, comfortable, and easy-to-use tools for cooking and food prep. They're exploring opportunities to expand their business in new areas that incorporate sensors and digital UIs for precision results, as well as expanding into new types of product lines.
For this project, I designed a 3-D lo-fi prototype of a shower control interface to demonstrate how OXO might apply their core competency in new ways. The design included the following criteria:
My first priority was to design a forgiving concept that accommodates challenging visibility and dexterity setting because the other design criteria can revolve around this. As a solution, I incorporated an audio, voice-command system to enable hands and vision-free interaction. Inspired by Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana, my product can be triggered by command of, "Hey/hi/hello Sally."
To minimize the learning curve, I chose universal icons (that are also captioned) to represent various features. Furthermore, I used universal colors to help users associate the hot and cold with corresponding temperature settings.
One important aspect to note about my design is that "volume" represents "pressure." I interpreted volume as the various levels of water pressure that can be released from the shower head and handheld wand.
My prototype highlights simplicity and intuitiveness. The goal in my design was to make the product easy-to-use in the shower by offering a large digital screen and 3D temperature dial since that's the most basic shower tool. The transparent paper used in my prototype provides a glossy appearance which is representative of a digital screen. This prototype is water-proof as foam floats and does not absorb water. The permanency of the sharpies are also water-proof.
Foam (2 types) - white hard foam to form 4x4x2 volume, blue soft foam to secure sides
Transparency paper - digital screen
Magnet strips - used to mount to wall
Velcro (2 types) - black strip for side speakers, white circles to secure water-bottle cap
Used water-bottle cap - water temperature dial
Sharpies (pen + marker) - used to draw digital interface
Expo marker - to draw over digital screen for prototyping purposes
X-Acto knife - to cut forms
Ruler - to measure pieces and serve as cutting guide
WHAT WENT WELL
I conducted usability testing with three participants. Though this is not enough to draw a representative conclusion, it still provided an idea of what did and didn't work well. A few aspects that worked well with my prototype included:
Based on user feedback and observations, my design and prototype can be improved by implementing the following:
Overall, my model prototype is an effective representation of the design I was aiming to communicate. Considering feedback from my participant and OXO's design principle, I'd say my first model prototype satisfied OXO's brand characteristics of being comfortable and easy-to-use, and if I were to implement the feedback and suggestions I got from usability tests, then the prototype would better meet the guidelines of being well-designed.