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Relay

You know when you have to make a separate trip to the home improvement store for one pack of screws? Imagine a world where we could leverage Machine Learning and location sharing to save time and carbon emissions.


Responsibilities: Concept Development, User Research, Wireframes, Interface Design, Prototype, and Visual Design

Software: Adobe XD, ProtoPie, Premier, and Keynote


Inspiration was a trip to Taiwan

Inspiration

I was packing for my trip to Taiwan when my relatives there asked me to buy some shoes that were distributed only in the US. I realized that there was an opportunity for a bigger system to coordinate handoffs like this, both globally and locally. 

In the first week of this class, this inspiration took two forms, one international item-pickup-matching system, and one local matching system to eliminate single-item trips to the store.

Part 1
"I will often go to the store to pick up random odds and ends that I do not have at home." ~ Marissa
"Most of the things that I need are not sold online or are sold in quantities that I do not need" ~ Joel
"[Shopping online] beats fighting public transit, though I feel bad about the environmental impact" ~ Amy

Initial Research

During my interviews, I asked if any of them picked up items for friends or family. Some of the takeaways included;

Remembering to pick up something for someone and to give it to them next they saw them.

(Friction Point) Providing an accurate amount of money/payback.

Through more research and exploration I came up with the following:

Aspirational Adjectives: Green, Clean and Flexible

Strategic Vision: Currently, many people make single-item store trips. The system will facilitate flexible item pick up and hand-off. 

Mission Statement: Facilitate flexible pick up and handoff between locals.

Part 2
Positioning Matrix of seven companies compared.

Positioning and Competitive Analysis

For a week, I analyzed 7 competitors and looked for traits such as: pricing models, flexibility in scheduling, and whether or not they exploited independent contractors. I placed these competitors on a positioning matrix, the top-right being the most passive and environmentally responsible.

Part 3

Contextual Research

This was probably the single most enlightening research opportunity. I conducted three such sessions at: a farmers’ market, a traditional grocery store, and a home improvement store.

I observed how they were shopping, and eventually distilled this down and created a more comprehensive User Journey. In studying these user journeys, I found where my system could be used.

Part 4

Prototyping

After several rounds of paper prototyping, our teacher had us do what he called "Aesthetic Disruptions" in high-fidelity only a week after we started prototyping. I thought that this was premature. However, in the end, this exercise helped shape one of my final micro-interactions.

Much of my ideation revolved around this screen, the add-item screen. Part of the disconnect that I learned from my test participants in the early paper prototyping stage was how the entered data format differed from the result format.. In the final interaction, one can simply type in "Butter1" and it will automatically format it as “Butter X1” .

Part 5

Micro-Interaction Breakthroughs

Looking back, I know I jumped into using ProtoPie way too early, but I did it because I wanted to learn the software and Adobe XD's Autoanimate "hacking" wasn't doing it for me. The bright side of this was the ability to fine-tune and explore different code-based interactions to see how some of it would actually work.

At the time of the project, ProtoPie didn’t support vector images and had really buggy PNG integrations. I had to use a Web Icon Font Generator and sneak my custom icons in as letters.

Part 6

Takeaways

These were the highlights of my 15-week project. Request a physical or digital copy of the complete research artefacts and process at the bottom of the page.

To push through from ideation to a semi-functional prototype was a grind. My professor made us all move onto mid-fidelity one week after starting paper prototyping. As a result, there were many more revisions at the mid-fidelity level. When I run my own company, I will emphasize staying at low-fidelity for much longer.

Scenario Video

Complete process and research artefacts