Milestone 3: Prototype and Evaluation

New Designs

After presenting our second milestone and getting feedback from our peers, mentor, and sponsor we decided to revisit our product’s scope, features, and designs.  Our proposed product design at the end of Milestone 2 was a wearable band that featured a sound based alarm system and signal material technology.  The device was aimed to keep users aware and alert while hiking and aid search and rescue.  We wanted to keep the scope simple since we felt, based on our research, that including too many features that required signals and battery would overcomplicate the device.

We took our designs in a new direction after some discussions and decided to design for a wearable 10 years in the future.  This way we wouldn’t have to worry too much about our limitations and could add more features.  The general aim of the features remained the same as we wanted the features to notify and alert users to understand their surroundings and perform best practices to stay safe.  We decided to add a screen to our device and include pop up notifications that would be preset or triggered by GPS location.  These notifications, represented by large icons on the screen, would inform the user of various things such as time, weather, and location.  We also included an emergency distress button on the band that would alert search and rescue.  We also wanted out wearable to be able to sync up with a “beacon system.”  We imagined a system of kiosk at trailheads that would be able to sync with the wearable and update information such as current conditions, time pacing, and other information unique to that area and hike.

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Prototypes

Once our designs were more fleshed out we started creating some low fidelity prototypes.  We used snap bands that we ordered online and used tape and colored paper to turn them into what we envisioned the wearable to look like.  We marked off where the screen and buttons would be with tape.

After creating these low fidelity prototypes we decided to design and visualize the screens so we could tests the functionality and usability of the task interactions.  We designed several screens through sketches and added visual design to them in Illustrator.  To make the images interactive we linked them together using the POP mobile application and customized the interactions between the screens.  The screens we designed were based on tasks we wanted to test during our usability evaluation.  We tested the interactive prototype on our phones and sized the screen to match the size on our physical bands.

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Usability Evaluation

Before starting our testing we created a comprehensive test kit.  This kit includes a script for the moderator introducing the project, reading and describing tasks, and asking questions.  We created note taking forms and made sure that our interactive prototype worked on all of our phones.  For testing we used the POP application on a phone and also had the participant where a band as well.  The tasks were a combination of using the band and the phone and revolved around interacting with notifications, changing settings, finding information, and pressing buttons.

Because we spent time redesigning our system we were not able to complete all of our tests before the completion of this milestone.  We are each conducting quick sessions on our own and hope to complete them in the next several days.  The data and feedback we get from those will be summarized and analyzed.

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