Multimedia Home Center
Project Scope:
Review, enhance, and perform usability tests for the industrial design and interface of a proposed Multimedia Home Center. Device functionality extension with new on-screen functions, as well as physical affordances placed on the device itself. These additional system operations will be based on your understanding of the purpose of the product and its over-arching conceptual model.
Project Assessment:
This was an intriguing project, as our professor brought into class an actual product produced by his company as a baseline for consideration.  While it tested quite well and brought excitement to the company, the product failed miserably when introduced to market for various reasons, including how to categorize the product and which area(s) to sell it.  The professor allowed the use of touch-screen functionality, unlike the original product.

Our team assessed the original product and identified that multipurpose home centers may be too complex for the everyday consumer.  Our believe, and hence our usability design, was to streamline the entire purpose of the device itself.  Digital picture frames are becoming more prevalent, so we intended that if users were to just use the device as such, we have succeeded, knowing the device could provide a central messaging system and calendar functionality.  No Post-It notes or whiteboard capabilities would be included, as this just added to media complexity.

Overall, the project went quite well.  Tests were conducted via paper prototypes with a background of a proposed physical device drawing, in order for the user to gain the usability enjoyment of the touch screen interface itself.  Test subjects seemed to understand the high-level functionality of the device and its interface, and were pleased with the proper feedback the device seemed to provide.

Usability Methods Used:
  • Field Research
  • Sketching apparatus and functionality
  • Design & Create Paper and Dynamic Prototype
  • Wireframe Diagrams
  • Storyboarding
  • Interview Evaluations
  • Internal & External Walkthroughs
David was one of three members of this team, along side two fellow IT analysts.  He created initial wireframe and paper prototype drawings for internal cognitive walkthroughs with his team members, and created first- and second-round digital diagrams based on agreed-to screen directions.  He also put forth a conceptualized redesign of the physical device itself, to which letter-sized paper could be used to mimic the touch-screen, rather than using a smaller device.  David performed a full-scale paper prototype walkthrough with a volunteer to obtain her thoughts and feedback on the proposed interface, and constructed new design ideas based on the acquired test result data.  David concluded the project by collaborating with team members for a final report, complete with screenshots and raw data appendices.
Project Deliverables:
Home Messaging System Final Report (pdf)
Home Messaging System Screenshots for Paper Prototype Tests (pdf - 1.5MB)