UX Design: Enchanted Objects


This project was for ARTC 5360L, UX Design with Grayson Lawrence. The goal of this project was to come up with the concept for an internet-connected object
that will help improve people’s lives at home. After several exercises borrowed from all readings for the semester (such as “How Might We,” “Grouping,” and “Storyboarding,”) the class determined a few particular pain-points in the home that might be resolved with internet-connected or enchanted objects.

Stephanie designed an interactive chore chart that will improve the likelihood of children cleaning their rooms when told. There are already many excellent apps that successfully fulfill this goal.

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, and that is they simply get overwhelmed.

Step 1: Ask the Experts (Research)

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. Another issue with apps like ChoreMonster and Mothershp is that 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.

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 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 in to 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 students 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 learned; 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!