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.
Describe what your interface does in 2 sentences or less.
- My Interface is a home security and alert system that allows the user access into their home by keeping pass code or fingerprint information stored in the interface (the actual door) that then unlocks and open doors. In addition, the system alerts the user when someone is at their door and who it is, or if there are signs of forced entry.
Who would use your interface?
- My interface is designed for homeowners who want a little extra security without the extra hassle.
What would they hope to gain?
- Feel more secure about keeping your house locked up. Don’t have to carry around your key or worry about getting locked out. Be notified when you are away of any visitors or possible burglars.
What is the context/environment in which people will use your interface? Would it be used in public/private? Alone or in groups?
- This interface would be used in the home (or office?). Public or private environments could work. Groups does not apply.
What sorts of physical items might a user have to interact with?
- Probably just a touch screen. Other than that, it would be automatic or alerts that you hear or see but don’t interact with.
What questions do you need answered about your interface to see if it is necessary or effective?
- Would people want to be able to open and unlock their doors this way?
- Are alerts necessary (to know who is at your door), or is i easier to just look/open the door?
- Would visitors be confused by the interface? Would they not use it?
My basic idea is a home security system that allows the user to open their front door (or any locked door) with a pass code or fingerprint instead of keys. There would be no door knob to turn, no door to push, just enter a simple pass code or fingerprint and the door does the rest of the work for you. (Alternatively, the system could hook up to your smartphone and just open automatically for you when you reached a close enough vicinity. But this is just an option, not necessary). With this system you would never have to use keys and never have to manually open your door (hands full? no problem!) and you wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting to lock up your house, because it would happen automatically when you leave.
As an added feature, the system would have an option for guests arriving at your house to enter in (or say) their name, and an alert (doorbell sound?) would be heard from inside your house along with the name of who was there (no more peep holes!). Again this could be something you sync up with your smartphone. Maybe you want to know who is dropping by while you are away? Or you want to be alerted via your smartphone rather than through the house system. If you are away, your visitor would receive a message telling them that you are not home, and give them the option to leave a message for you upon your return.
The security would give piece of mind to homeowners by alerting you first thing of a potential break in (windows are also included). If you are traveling, you would be notified (smart phone alert, text message or email). Or if you were home, the system would alert you if someone was trying to break through a door or window.
Thumbprint scanner on door handle. This is designed for office buildings where multiple people use it and is a quicker way of getting through than using keys. The fingerprint recognition technology is similar to my idea, but this interface uses a handle. The neat thing about this design though is that the thumbprint scanner is located in a spot where the user would already be putting their thumb to open the door, so they can have their thumbprint scanned and open the door all in one quick swoop.
Classic Door Key Pad:
This would be the classic pass code door opener interface. Just punch in some buttons and go! This is basically the same concept, but not as high tech or practical.
This is a monitor that tells you if your garage door is open or closed. Pretty silly. This also kind of falls into the category of those home alert systems that notify you out loud every time a door opens or closes (voice will say “Back door”).
(sorry about the crap quality!)
I watched The Hunger Games, which had a lot more interface design than I thought it would!
- Finger Print Reading Device: After being pricked in the index finger and cataloging everyone’s bloody fingerprint, a small device would scan the fingerprint and identify who each person was.
- Automatic sliding doors: (felt much more high tech than our typical sliding doors, but basically the same) in trains, buildings, homes, etc.
- Touch screen remote and glass wall: In the penthouse an entire wall of the room was glass and would change to show different real-time views of the world based on what the user wished to see ) i.e. busy city streets, calm forest…and make it feel like you were actually there while still in your room.
- Large interactive touch screen: An interactive learning device with large touchscreen table, and corresponding wall screen. In this particular example in the movie, a girl was practicing her skills on analyzing certain types of bugs and plants (for their desired uses for survival?)
- GPS tracking device: devices inserted into the players forearms for tracking purposes. All the tracking data was sent back to the headquarters where they were able to monitor and track each player in the arena.
- Hunger Games Headquarters: A giant room filled with touchscreen tables in a circle all around a common area where collaborated ideas where made into holograms for all to see and interact with.
- This is how they were able to monitor all players
- Control of entire arena via touch screen interfaces
- Create 2-D images, turn them into 3-D hologram type images, and then make them real by sending them into the arena (creating fires, fallen trees, animals, etc. from the screen)
- Project images and messages into the sky/dome of the arena for players to see
- Control the daytime/nighttime of the sky/dome
Analyzing: My favorite UI from this movie was the touchscreen remote and glass wall. I love that by choosing a location, the image and sound would appear and make the user feel as if they were actually in that space, not in a small room. I would love to have this in my house, especially showing spots in remote locations. It was a little unclear in the movie how this interface worked however. It seemed as if the locations being shown were completely random, and that the user didn’t have full control over what they were looking at. It might have been interesting to be able to pick very specific (public) locations to have projected on the wall.
Experimental Interface Concepts:
- Automatic tinted glass wall/windows: Floor to ceiling windows (in your house, or business) that would act as normal glass during the day, and slowly begin to tint themselves at night so that no one could see in from the outside. This would also be adjustable via touch screen panels on the glass to be tinted during the day if needed (acting as blinds) or allow more/less light into the house. Even if it wasn’t a sunny day, the user could allow for artificial sunlight to enter the room, or block it out if it was too bright.
- Smart Refrigerator: a fridge that keeps track of your food. It would know what’s inside before you open it, let you know when something is getting low (i.e. you only have 1 egg left), and allow for a grocery list feature for things that you run out of. When an item is gone, your refrigerator would ask you if you would like to add that item to a grocery list. Before going to the store (or possibly while at the store in case you forget) a grocery list would be exported to your smart phone, along with item s that are getting low in case you want to stock up. Bonus features: your fridge would also keep track of expiration dates to warn you when food is about to expire. It would keep track of how long left overs have been in your fridge so you don’t have to remember, and advise you if it is still safe to eat if it has been awhile. There could possibly be a recipe feature, where it gives you ideas on what you can make based on the food you have in your house. That one might only work if there was a similar way to keep track of your dry goods in cupboards/pantry as well.
- Home Security System: User interfaces placed on doors around your house that allow you to enter a passcode (or pattern passcode, similar to some mobile phone apps) to be able to unlock your doors. Maybe there could be thumbprint recognition as an alternative option (like on the new iphone) that allows you to unlock your door instead of a passcode. The interface would also be useful for guests. When they arrive at your door they could enter options onto the screen alerting those at home who is at the door. It would act as a doorbell, but with more information about who is at your door rather than simply alerting you that someone is at your door. Maybe a voice would alert you (i.e. John Smith is at your front door) that could be heard in whatever room you happened to be in at the time.
- PLU Code Scanner: This would be more like a mobile phone app, but it would allow the user to go grocery shopping without having to check out. You would scan items with your phone, and then place them straight into your bag and keep shopping. You would be able to remove items of course, and there would need to be some way to account for items sold by weight. As you left the store, your phone would recognize that you were leaving, and charge you for your items (using a bank account or credit card connected to the app).
- Interactive dinning room table: This would look like a standard dinning table, but the top would be a glass screen that the user could interact with in different ways. Features would include: automatic sensors that could detect items being placed on the table (hot dishes, cold drinks, etc.) and would adjust hot spots on the table that could assist in keeping hot dishes warm, and iced drinks cold for longer. If an item was removed the heating/cooling element would turn off. To avoid injury, spots that were heated would glow red until cooled down (similar to a stove top).
- In the same vein as the idea above, having kitchenware (glasses, mugs, plates) that could maintain temperature to keep food and drinks at an appropriate hot or cold level. The dish would be able to judge if it needed to keep something warm or cold and adjust itself accordingly. Or you could adjust the settings by touching the interface and choosing a temperature.
- Dog Trainer Interface: An interface that can sense motion and detect what command a dog is doing and if it is doing it correctly. It would speak commands (like a human would), then be able to sense what movement the dog was making and reward it for being correct (treat dispenser? haha)
- Interactive Table Top: A game station that incorporates gestures (hand and facial), voice commands and touchscreen. It can synch with your smart phone just by being near it and used as an extra element of interaction.
- Voice Command Entertainment Center: Play movies, music, tv all by the sound of your voice. Automatically pauses when you walk out of the room (tv, movie). Music will fade in the room you are leaving and turn on in the room you enter so it sounds as if you never left.
Final App Presentation
Still some work to do over the weekend, but it’s getting there!