Robot Vacuum Redesign

Robot vacuums are part of the first wave of physical smart home technology. The internet of things (IoT) is already presenting designers with challenges for effective interfaces, and no company has yet set the standard. Human Factors considerations will factor heavily in this evolving field as both traditional technology companies and startups vie for dominance, and those products that provide the best overall user experience will earn the lion’s share of what is already a billion dollar market.

This piece of the portfolio demonstrates a basic competence in human-computer interaction. The assignment called for a redesign of a few specific aspects of an existing product, but this report goes beyond the scope of the class project to recommend solutions to problems that transcend vacuums by addressing some of the wider goals for robot home assistants.

My intent in the report was to build on current designs to create a robot vacuum that impresses users from the start and accommodates the widest range of users possible throughout its life cycle. First, I built storyboards to imagine each phase of stakeholder interaction with device. I began the user analysis with interviews of existing customers, capturing reactions to and beliefs about current technology. I found common themes, and used online customer reviews to collect data on a broader audience, quantifying and tracking the frequency of comments pertaining to certain design aspects. This allowed me to focus my efforts on the most pertinent aspects of the user experience and establish redesign requirements. I prioritized the elements to redesign based on frequency of use and magnitude of impact on user experience and began creating paper prototypes of the controls. I showed potential users the options and walked them through different scenarios, collecting data on well-received layouts and symbology. Using my observations, I created a final design and script that I presented to more potential users, and asked them to rate the hypothetical product along multiple dimensions, which will lead to additional iterations and testing.. 

Final take-aways highlight good design elements and future possibilities for an entire ecosystem of home assistants. I believe that the information I in the report could benefit both existing robot vacuum companies and any companies or designers trying to break into the robotic home assistance market.