UX: Enchanted Objects

chore_chart_with_phone

The goal of this project was to come up with the concept for an internet-connected object (enchanted object) that will help improve people’s lives at home. After several design thinking exercises such as “How Might We,” “Grouping,” and “Storyboarding” Stephanie chose a particular pain-point in the home: children not wanting to clean their rooms. 

There are many existing apps that try to address this problem. For example, ChoreMonster and Mothershp are a pair of apps designed to allow both a parent or guardian and a child to log in. This set of apps is easy-to-use, attractive to a young audience, and can directly connect to rewards such as online Amazon gift cards. However, these apps alone do not solve the main reason kids refuse to clean their rooms. Also, they require access to a laptop or iPad. However, this can present a contradiction for parents who are known to block access to technology as a form of discipline. So Stephanie asked, “How might we use an enchanted object to solve this problem?”

Step 1: Ask the Experts (Research)

Stephanie started by trying to understand why kids have such a hard time picking up after themselves. Research of several parenting blogs revealed that children become extremely overwhelmed when told “Clean your room!” They have not learned to break the process down into steps.

Therefore, Stephanie proposed two things.

  • First, existing apps should break down big chores into smaller steps. This way “Cleaning Your Room,” becomes a series of steps: dump everything off your bed, then make your bed, then pick up all your clothes, then put your clothes away, then pick up any dirty dishes, then sort your toys into big and small groups, etc.
  • Second, Stephanie thinks apps can ditch the requirement to log into a tablet or phone and should instead cast to an interactive chore chart that hangs in the bedroom. This picture frame would normally be disguised as a plain ol’ family photo when it is not in use. When activated by a parent, it will verbally and visually instruct children on what to do next.

Step 2: Empathy Mapping

Through a “Thinks-Feels-Says-Does” exercise, Stephanie explored the perspective of a parent and a child.

  • The child thinks in terms of easy decisions and short term attention. She feels actual affection for her toys (“I LOVE my teddy bear…”). She says things in songs because that is how she learns; and she does get bored easily.
  • A parent thinks about big picture: budget, “I paid for this house, why can’t it stay clean!?” He feels tired; he says “Hurry!” a lot and has to repeat himself. He does use a smartphone.

 

Step 3: Storyboarding and Wireframing

Using Storyboard and Wireframing techniques, Stephanie explores how an enchanted object, in this case a frame, can be used to solve this problem. NOTE: the original idea started out as a frame with a bin, and later became just a frame.

Step 4: Prototyping

Stephanie tested out her idea using a blank frame and some quick graphics. Enjoy!

This project was completed in partial fulfillment of the MFA in Communication Design degree, Texas State University, ARTC 5360L, UX Design with Grayson Lawrence.