Space Finder

Duration: 2 weeks
Client: User System Interaction, TU/e Eindhoven
Team: Guilherme Baptista de Moura, Suzanne Beltman
My roles: Contextual inquiries, conceptual design, interaction design, visual design, usability testing

Introduction

Over the past decades, there has been a steady grow in student applications at universities. To accommodate all the new students, university campuses grew along with this increase in applications. This resulted in sometimes huge university campuses which may overwhelm its students by everything it has to offer. Students might experience difficulties finding the right place for their activities. Therefore we designed a solution to help students navigate through the university campus and finding the right space for different circumstances.

Process

To design the right support for the students to navigate around the campus, we took a user-centered design approach. We conducted contextual inquiries with several students about wayfinding at the Eindhoven University of Technology. In this manner we identified the user needs and requirements of our solution to improve wayfinding in the university. Based on the conversations we had with the students we ranked their requirements from most to least important. This ranking made us decide to base our system on the user’s mood and planned activity as a user input. Location/Distance and Occupation would be covered in the system output. We translated the required functionality in a hierarchical task analysis as an input for a brainstorm session.

During the brainstorm session we came up with ideas how the tasks of our new design solution could be performed. From the generated ideas we came up with three design alternatives. We made storyboards of these three alternatives and presented them to six potential users. Based on their feedback we chose one of these alternatives. Based on the feedback we received we iterated on the concept and developed it into a paper prototype. We worked out a set of scenarios and conducted a user test with 4 participants.

The tests with the paper prototype uncovered several issues which we tried to solve in our high fidelity prototype. I took care of the visual design while the others were preparing the usability test set up and making the prototype interactive so it could be tested for our use case scenarios.

The prototype was evaluated by testing 5 participants. We measured how well it could be used for its intended purpose: Choose and find a public space from a set of recommendations, based on users’ mood and activity. We used two test scenarios, describing a total of 10 tasks.

The evaluation revealed some issues and some positive points of the prototype, which could be considered in a next iteration. Overall the application was well received. Four out of five participants stated that they would use it in case it would actually be implemented.

Result

After two weeks we were ready to present our solution to support way finding at a university campus: Space Finder. Space Finder, is a touch screen based application. It recommends (unexpected) shared public spaces to students in a quick and easy way. The recommendations are based on user input. Once a student picks a mood and planned activity, Space Finder will recommend one or several spaces fitting to the needs of the user. The recommendations provide a route description and real-time data of the occupation, sound level and temperature of the spaces.



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