“Tracker” User Testing Results + Refined Comps

I found it a bit of a challenge to come up with a way to do some lo-fi testing of this concept. It seemed without the electronic functionality of the bracelet (the vibrating, lighting up, and the text display) the user test would just be…. wearing a bracelet. In the end I came up with this mish-mash of user testing techniques that involved some “bodystorming” and some role-playing to answer a user questionnaire.

This Tracker concept (thoughts on the name?) basically combines those little GPS tracking chips that already exist with a digital band/watch that would manage all the chips while staying independent of your phone or any other device you might lose. When your bracelet gets too far from a tagged object (or when a tagged object leaves a “fence” –a user-defined perimeter) it will light up and vibrate to alert you that you’re missing something. To simulate this experience, I used some rubber bands, a lot of yarn, and some role-playing.

bracelets

This is the plan for my user testing:

test_plan

So basically, I tied one end of the string to a rubber band with an item written on the inside and gave one “bracelet” to each of my test subjects. I held the other end of the string and gave the subjects an objective (“You’re getting off the bus, headed home after a long day”). Once they got a certain distance from the “lost object” (me), they felt a tug on their wrist. They were instructed to check what item they were “missing”, and think about what they would do after that if they had actually lost the item. After this little “bodystorming” excercise I handed out the user questionnaire and these are the responses I got (along with some really great ideas that I’ve incorporated into the project):

img054 img053 img052

With these responses, my original storyboard, and some more visual research online I created this updated drawing of what the actual bracelet would look like:

img055

And then I made these… presentation storyboard I guess you could say? outlining how I’d like to present this whole thing as well as the user interaction.

img056

img057img058img059img060img061

EXPERIENCE PROTOTYPE QUESTIONNAIRE

Describe what your interface does in 2 sentences or less.

My interface would keep track of valuables, alerting the user via a bracelet when any of the objects were too far away. It would also contain information to help track the objects down (serial numbers, online mapping service).

Who would use your interface?
Anyone with valuables that has to carry them around to different places, or anyone that loses their keys or has a dog they want to keep track of. The flexibility of the system means it can be used to track just about anything.

What would they hope to gain?
They would hope to not lose anything they had already gained, I suppose. Theft and misplacement prevention with real-time alerts.

What is the context/environment in which people will use your interface? Would it be used in public/private? Alone or in groups?
It would be used mostly in public, but only by one person (and whatever authorities were helping that person recover their goods).

What sorts of physical items might a user have to interact with?
A bracelet with a small LCD screen and a button or two, along with some various items that contain gps tracking systems: phone cases, laptop cases, ipad cases, small stickers, and keychain or pet collar tags.

What questions do you need answered about your interface to see if it is necessary or effective?
I need to know whether wearing a bracelet to be alerted of missing things is something people would be willing to do. Maybe if it looks more like a watch than a bracelet it would be more neutral. But I don’t want to add stress into people’s lives knowing you had this bracelet that might light up and vibrate if you leave your phone at home on purpose. So I’m still working out the kinks with the usability as far as turning the alerts on and off. I also want to be able to add in as many objects/tracker tags as the user wants into one bracelet, but I think the display interface is going to have to be really clear so that doesn’t get confusing.

Research + Storyboards

I saw a lot of different GPS tracking devices online, with varying degrees of flexibility and usefulness. The only thing that seemed to be lacking to me is a device that’s focused solely on retrieval of objects that can communicate immediately with the user, without the use of one of the devices that they’re trying to protect.

The Tattle Tale

The Tattle Tale

 

TATTLE TALE

Drug/Alcohol Sensing House Arrest Ankle Bracelet

 

This is basically an ankle monitoring bracelet that has transdermal sensors in it which can read levels of alcohol, methanphetamines, and marijuana. It contains a GPS tracking system that communicates through Sprint or Verizon wireless networks to an “internet user interface”. Its special features include transdermal sensors, active GPS tracking, body mass/body proximity sensors, real-time “geo-fence” surveillance, and a software package that comes with.

The Tattle Tale contains the things I’d need for one half of my bracelet trackers idea (still thinking up a catchy name). The GPS tracking and web service to view it would be in the “tags” that you could stick to your phone/laptop/camera/keys etc and they could use cellular networks to communicate with the bracelet. I thought it might be a good idea to have a “stolen mode” button somewhere on the bracelet that could lock down the missing device remotely. The other half of the idea would center around the bracelets, which I’m picturing being made out of some sort of silicone material that could vibrate and light up when they were a certain distance away from the tag they were associated with.

 

Garmin GTU 10

Garmin GTU 10

 

GARMIN GTU 10

 

A GPS locater that you can use to track “just about anything”. You activate it online and set up “geofences” for each sensor that alerts you by mobile or e-mail. It’s a palm-sized plastic device that can fit in a collar or a car, but it’s a little clunky and doesn’t seem to allow for tracking a lot of things at once very easily. Especially since each little guy goes for around $500.

 

I really like the idea of being able to set up “geofences” (this name was a little bit confusing to me but whatever). The basic idea is that you can designate areas where the tracker will alert you if it enters or leaves. The video gives the example of tracking your high schoolers (I would have been HORRIFIED); setting up a geofence around their high school will alert you when they arrive. I’m not sure if this is super useful for my device as it stands but being able to edit/define your “geofences” on the web service would be useful. The downfall of this in my mind is that it sends all the information about your missing devices to your phone or email. I know you can check email on any computer but I think it could be a better system to be able to get to some of that information instantly on a secondary device.

 

HTC Fetch

HTC Fetch

 

HTC FETCH

 

This is essentially the same device as the GTU 10 but a little smaller and sleeker. The convenient design allows the user to attach it to a much broader range of objects than the GTU 10 would work for, and the price tag of $38 makes it a lot more affordable. It too communicates with an online backup service (your e-mail account) or your mobile device. The really cool thing about the Fetch is that it has a button on it which can tell your phone (if it’s in range) to take a picture of its surroundings and upload it to the internet, so you might have a clue where it is. I thought that was a really smart and helpful solution for finding your phone when it’s lost! I also think though that the button on the device might be unnecessary, if there was a way to control your iPhone camera with the backup online service instead. Then, you could take a picture and view it in one step (maybe even see a live feed of what your phone sees). I know. This is some Minority Report shit right here.

 

Here are the storyboards depicting user flow in one possible situation:
img044 img045

 

Sorry about the LOTR nerdiness. I think I’m permanently sleep deprived.