Fast Facts

the app in the real world
The final umbrella stand rendering in the real world
  • Role:
  • Lead UX Designer
  • Project Type:
  • UX and Product Design
  • Dates:
  • Janurary 2017 - May 2017
  • Team Size: 5

Tools:
  • Pencil and Paper
  • Photoshop CC
  • Adobe XD
  • InVision
Skills:
  • Interviewing
  • Analytical Research
  • User Archetype Development
  • Task analysis
  • Iteration Process
  • Project Management
  • Leadership

The Challenge

Students already carry a lot on their shoulders. The price of a college education, the pressure from our peers, the expectations of our professors. While we couldn't lighten those loads, we can control what we physically carry in our backpacks. Most students can't compromise on carrying things such as a laptop, textbooks and writing tools because they are essential for a student's success. When asked, more often than not, students tended to always carry their umbrellas with them rather than do the arduous work of checking the weather every day prior to stepping out. Some students just look at the two-digit number that is the temperature because that all that they have time for. Every second you spend on checking the time or the weather could be better put towards other more important tasks. It makes sense that you would keep your umbrella in your bag, just case it does. One less thing to worry about, right?

Exisiting Solutions

With two-thousand other things on your mind, whether or not you need an umbrella today should not be on the lsit of your concerns. The current procedure to avoid getting wet is to check the weather prior to leaving home. Perhaps you woke up late or simply forgot to go through your method of checking the weather which led to you leaving your home without an umbrella.

Literally check the weather

You could be spending your time on more important tasks than checking the weather on your phone or computer. Every second counts!

Ask someone around

Although takes quite a lot of time, a peer could provide much more details than a phone screen. Potential problems are if there is not a peer available to ask.

Proposed Solution

To help prevent people from forgetting their umbrellas, a "smart" umbrella stand is proposed. This stand would be right by the entrance. This product has two components: an internet-connected umbrella stand and a companion mobile application for configuration. The stand would check the weather conditions when it detects the user is leaving their house through proximity sensors. Then it would alert the user through sound from the stand to pickup their umbrella. Through learned behavior, remembering to check the weather to bring an umbrella will become a thing of the past.

Testing

One of my primary tasks was to create and facilitate all testing done regarding the product and the app. Prior to testing, my team and I went out and sampled potential users in order to create the User Archetypes which can be seen below. These people would be our target demographic and keep them in mind while developing our product would be imperative to the success of our product.

User Archetypes


Bill: “Too much on my mind”

  • Is regaluraly forgetting things at home and is constantly going back home to grab extra things.

  • Perhaps has a lot of things in his mind that makes checking the weather less of a priority.

  • Perhaps has a lot of things in his mind that makes checking the weather less of a priority.


Sydney: “The Minimalist”

  • The one rule that she always followed by was "the less, the better" when it came to taking things with her when she left her house. In sum, only the bare essentials for the day

  • She would constantly plan her day out to figure out what exactly she needs vs wants to bring with her

  • Is always on her feet, therefore, cannot bring a ton of stuff either on her back or her shoulder.


Kale: “The Rusher”

  • Never has enough time to do everything he has hoped for before heading out the house. Calculates the maximum amount of time he has before he needs to leave the door

  • Brings extra things with him just in case he might need them throughout the day. Lives by the "Better safe than sorry" mantra when it comes to packing

  • Doesn't even think about checking the weather because those are precious seconds that could be used by other means.

User Testing

Sample of Survey Squestions

  • How often do you check the weather before leaving your home? Why or why not?
  • How do you check the weather?
  • What details do you look at when you check the weather?
  • Do you use an umbrella? Why or why not?
  • What percentage of rain would lead you to bring an umbrella with you?
  • What type of technology (if any) do you use to keep organized?
  • Ability to find out what other users are attending via a third-party service like Facebook.

Design Evaluating Questions

  1. How does this transition process feel?
  2. What are some weaknesses of these processes?
  3. Asked for general weaknesses and then narrowed them down by asking more specific questions
  4. What are some strengths of these processes?
  5. Asked for general strengths and then narrowed them down by asking more specific questions
  6. Questioned if the user would use this app, how often, and why.

Final Screens

These show how the user first begins setting up their device and how a sample user's Settings screen would look
These screen shows the difference between first opening up a device and how a finished screen would look. Here, has access to the upcoming weather and the battery and storage capacity of the water accumulation tray
the app in the real world
The final umbrella stand rendering in the real world
top side view render
the bottom portion of the model with the sliding tray coming out
the removable bottom tray that holds the water

Summary and Reflection

In summary, My team and I investigated a problem that many students faced and came up with a solution that we were very happy with. By leading my team in this project I created and organized all of the project documents. I also devised a detailed timeline that my team and I kept strictly to. We discovered that our liked the simplicity of the application and the use case of the device was extremely important to them.


Difficulties Faced

Some difficulties I had faced was figuring out the fine line between being a good leader versus a good friend. Since this was a course project, we had grown and became close. Just as with any project, times had come where it became hard to lay down the law when we were approaching a deadline. Ultimately we all understood what we had to do and were able to finish. Just as my previous project, we were all students and sometimes had other conflicts such as exams and projects from other courses that conflicted with this project. Although we had a lot of potential with this project we were not able to pursue this project after the course was finished.


Lessons Learned

In the end, I learned a lot with this project. I learned how to be a better leader and organizing details on the project team that I will take with my future teams. I had also learned about the product development life cycle and how the difficulties that arise from creating a product. I had also learned the differences between productive meetings vs non-productive meetings. This allowed me to learn how to juggle personal and professional relationships.