A2: Model Prototype

Handheld Device

The subject of this assignment is handheld devices with both physical and digital controls.

oxologoThe OXO brand is known for applying universal design to deliver well-designed, easy to use tools for cooking and food preparation. They are exploring opportunities to expand their business into new areas that start to incorporate sensors and digital UI to for precision results (think Good Grips meets modernist cuisine tools), as well as expanding into new types of product lines.

This assignment is a 3-D lo-fi prototyping exercise for a couple of quick flagship designs to demonstrate how they might apply their core competency in new ways. You have the choice of prototyping and evaluating the design of one of two different products:

  1. A handheld immersion blender with a variable speed control and digital display that senses when the contents have achieved a specific consistency. Features include:
    • variable speed control – you decide the mechanism/interaction and whether it is fluid or distinct settings
    • digital readout of speed and content viscosity (monochromatic, non-touch sensitive)
    • can be used right or left-handed
    • product dimensions minimum of 12 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter for motor compartment
    • product weight is between 2-3 pounds
  2. A handheld stud-finder that incorporates digital display (monochromatic, not touch sensitive) and led indicatory light. Features include:
    • product dimensions approximately 6 x 3 x 2 in volume
    • product weight is approximately 1 pound
    • Indicator light shines an arrow-shaped light on the wall to mark the stud location
    • Ergonomic design can be comfortably held in either hand at any angle
    • digital display communicates:
      • Edges of wood or metal studs up to 3/4 in. deep
      • Tool calibration and reset
      • Over-the-stud indicator

Create sketches and models for the primary form of the new design/device. Narrow down your choices and exploration to 3 directions that you will create a physicals model of to evaluate with users. You can use whatever materials you are most comfortable with but this is focused on basic form factors and location of physical controls and digital user interface, not final design considerations like color, material, or finish.

Run at least one user evaluation and videotape the process. Consider scenario based testing and what props or context you will need to create to understand if your prototype works well. Think about what factors you want to evaluate: comfort, ease of use, ease of access to controls, etc.

You may collaborate on the design and testing with others, but if you do, you must still each develop, test, and report on your own prototypes.

Submit the following:

  • Prototype Materials: Bring your actual paper prototype materials to class for demonstration.
  • Project Report: Write a short report documenting your design and testing. This should be neat and clear, not overly designed, but suitable for a process portfolio artifact. (You should be able to reuse a lot of this information in your process blog.) The report should cover the following elements:
    1. Design: description of how you applied OXO brand and design elements to this new product space.
    2. Prototype: description of the prototypes you created.
    3. Analysis: summary of the results of your testing — what about the prototype worked well, what needed improvement, and what you concluded about the effectiveness of your design from the testing.

    Include sketches, scans, photos, and other evidence of the design, the prototype, and your testing of it. Put it all in a PDF file, please.

  • Video Demo: A 60 second (maximum) video that shows your prototype being tested. Obviously, this won’t be a complete record of the testing you did, but just a quick snapshot of it in action. It doesn’t have to be a professional video production, just a low-fi record (phone video is fine). You can upload a video or give a URL to an online version.