I had a really hard time figuring out how to prototype my interface, and this may not have been the best way, but it still provided some insight. My interface is essentially a home security and alert system that uses facial recognition and voice commands to operate doors/entrances into your home or office. It also notifies you when someone is at your door (along with who it is) and alerts you of possible intruders.
What I ended up doing was setting aside a chunk of time (over the weekend when I was doing homework for a long stretch) where I tried to pay extra attention to my roommates coming and going. I awkwardly opened the front door for them as they entered or left, leaving them to simply pass through without turning knobs, searching for keys or having to worry about locking up. At the end of the day once everyone was home, I conducted a little focus group where I asked them questions about how they felt about the door service they experienced earlier that day. Here are some of my findings:
- While we all felt silly about me essentially being the doorman to our own house, they all agreed that it was nice to not deal with the door while leaving or entering, especially with full hands.
- Even though locking up wasn’t a top priority during this experiment (since I was still home), they all agreed that it would be very handy to not have to worry about locking up. We have 4 doors that we can enter the house through, and sometimes it is a pain to have to walk around to all of them and make sure they are all locked before leaving, especially if you’re in a hurry.
- Another point brought up was that among our 4 doors: no two have the same lock. While this is special to our house I’m sure, it is very annoying to keep all those keys on your person, and thus we mainly use the front door, even if it is not the most convenient, simply because that’s the one we all carry keys to. Having a system in place that allows for all doors to be opened with ease (and locked up behind you) was very appealing.
- An interesting thought brought up in this focus group session was possibly applying this same recognition system to your vehicle through the garage door. (because garage door openers just aren’t convenient enough!)
- When asked how they felt about a system that would alert you when someone was at your door (similar to a doorbell) but also including who it was (replacing a peep hole), the consensus seemed that it would be neat, but not essential. It seemed much more secondary to the door recognition.