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LNDRYSRVC

A companion app for your Smart Laundry System

 
 

TYPE: Class Project, Individual

DURATION: 1 week (prototype) + 1 week (user testing + UI design)

TOOLS: Marvel App, Sketch, InVision

MY ROLE: Researcher, information Architect, visual designer

Table of Contents: Overview | Discovery & Research | Ideation & Sketching | Prototype | Usability Testing | Final Iteration

 

 

OVERVIEW

THE GOAL

Build an app for a classmate that addresses a problem or frustration

The idea was to understand the user's daily life - their joys, their frustrations - and turn one of those frustrations into a solution that could make their life a little easier.

MY APPROACH

The approach to LNDRYSRVC was quick and dirty.

I had less than 5 days to get the intial prototype done, which included research, ideation, user flows, and sketches. This resulted in some key early choices: settle on an idea early (day 1) and prototype quickly.

CONTEXT

Doing laundry in a shared-machine situation can be a hassle.

For most of us, the very act of doing laundry can cause fear, anxiety, and avoidance. It's not a great user experience, especially in a shared situation such as in apartment and some condo buildings. LNDRYSRVC is an attempt to harness the power of the Smart Washer/Dryer systems to help you do laundry easier, faster, and with far less frustration.

Other apartment-dwellers often bogart all the washers or dryers at once. When you think you might have a free minute to take a load of laundry down to the basement, you get sidetracked at completely forget to head to the machines. Or, you head down to run the washer only to find that the owner of the previous load hasn't picked up their wet clothes...for over two hours.


Research Followup for LNDRYSRVC

Research Followup for LNDRYSRVC

 

 

DISCOVERY & RESEARCH

INTERVIEWING

1:1 with a classmate

The assignment called for a 1-person user interview with the objective of solving a particular concern of theirs.

I assembled a list of questions to understand where frustrations or problems may lie in their everyday life. Questions included:

1. Describe your morning routine
2. How is your day going so far?
3. What do you wish you had more time for?
4. What was the last thing that really frustrated you for any reason?

THE YIELD

"I really hate laundry! I hate how time consuming it is! I always forget to go check on my washer when it's done because I never set timers for myself. I can also get sidetracked easily. There's no good system to pay either. I have to go to the bank to get quarters twice a month. It really sucks."

Notes from the User Interview

Notes from the User Interview

 

 

FINDINGS

UNCOVERING THE PROBLEM

LAUNDRY IS A MAJOR HASSLE, BUT WHY?

The assignment called for a 1-person user interview with the objective of solving a particular concern of theirs.

I came away with a list of things that my user found particularly frustrating about doing laundry:

1. No system for knowing which washer/dryer machines are free
2. Paying for shared laundry isn't a great experience and often involves multiple trips to the bank for rolls of quarters
3. Because machines aren't always available when you need it, clothes can pile up quickly
4. Dry-cleaning is not always an option
5. Drop-off services ("Uber for Laundry") don't always launder your clothes correctly

APPROACH TO PROBLEM & SOLUTION

EMPLOYING A FRAMEWORK

I thought very carefully about what we had discussed in the interview, including my user's likes and dislikes, and contextualized what seemed to be the predominant problem in her current situation.

Next, I outlined exactly where the pain points were in her laundry process and identified areas of negative feelings.

Through this scratchwork, I arrived at the problem and solution statements that would drive the rest of the work forward.

 

 

PROBLEM & SOLUTION

THE PROBLEM

The laundry process

Sarah feels frustrated with the laundry process as everyday distractions, busy schedule, and limited number of washers and dryers in her building make doing laundry a time-sapping burden

THE SOLUTION

Let the washer/dryer help you out

Develop a phone app that provides washer and dryer status so that the user can see when the machines are free, in the middle of a cycle, finished and ready to move to its next destination or are able to be booked for immediate use.

Framework for assessing Problem and Solution statements

Framework for assessing Problem and Solution statements

 

 

IDEATION & SKETCHING

IDEATION

solving the problem

The lightbulb moment of what kind of solution to create for my user hit me as I was listening to her speak about the grueling frustration of taking down loads of laundry to the basement, only to find out there were not washers available. How, when she was particularly pressed for time, she would forget to take clothes out of the washer before they started to smell of dampness.

What kind of features would she need in order to keep on top of the sometimes multiple loads of laundry?

Booking features
Notification features
Payment Processing features
First Iteration Sketch with Notes

First Iteration Sketch with Notes

SKETCHING, ROUND 2

I realized that some of my initial screens and potential user flow did not quite make sense.

To combat the problem of thinking too linearly about what features I would need and how they would work, I decided to build out screens first, then worry about how the user would arrive there. This is a piecemeal strategy and may not be the best workflow for everyone, but in a case that was completely open-ended and open to much interpretation, the approach worked for me.

Second Iteration Sketch with Notes

Second Iteration Sketch with Notes

 

 

USER FLOWS

USER FLOWS

The intial user flow was simple. But, thinking through the logic was difficult.
Initially, I was only able to nail down the system for machine notifications.

Since I did not have an existing app to reference (although, the LNDRYSRVC prototype does exist in some form, thanks to Samsung!), I was creating the user flow and logic from scratch. This proved to be a time-consuming, yet incredibly fun experience.

Initial User Flow for Notification System Only 

Initial User Flow for Notification System Only 

USER FLOWS, Second and third iteration

While the first iteration of the user flow focused on the notification feature, I began to think that it didn't quite get to the heart of the user's problems.

In fact, the user could easily set a phone alarm to remind them that their laundry is done. The next best thing would be an app to not only see the status of a washer or dryer before heading to the basement, but also be able to book the machine.

It was a daunting idea, but I committed to tackling all three features: booking, washer/dryer status, and machine notifications.

The Third User Flow, With Numerous Edits

The Third User Flow, With Numerous Edits

 

 

PROTOTYPING

PAPER PROTOTYPING

As I worked through the user flows, I began conceptualizing and building out a paper prototype.

Assembling a physical, paper prototype helped to solidify the ideas in my head. It also made the app much more real and concrete. The advantage of using this method was that quick changes were not only easy, but encouraged. It is far more difficult to sketch and re-sketch work than it is to physically push a menu by just a few pixels.

Initial LNDRYSRVC paper prototype

Initial LNDRYSRVC paper prototype

 

 

INITIAL INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE

LNDRYSRVC Initial Prototype

LNDRYSRVC Initial Prototype

 
 

 

USER TESTING

USER TESTING

I provided several prompts for users to take to assess usability

I tested two users, both in the demographic range of the original user we're solving for.

Prompts:
1. "Book Washer #6 for right now"
2. "How can you see a list of available washers or dryers?"
3. "How can you see which machines you've booked or are currently using?"
4. Add a notification for a machine that is currently in use."
5. Where would you go to change the building your account is associated with?"

User Testing LNDRYSRVC

User Testing LNDRYSRVC

 

 

FINAL PROTOTYPE

 
 
 

 

NEXT STEPS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

MAKING SOME ADJUSTMENTS

There are numerous additions and other requirements that could help this app run more smoothly. A few of these are:

  • A fail-safe in case your washer/dryer code is forgotten
  • The fact that this isn't feasible in the vast majority of cases; most apartment buildings are still using washers and dryers that are many years past their prime
  • Alexa integration
  • Logic for occasions where you may need an extra 15 minutes for the dryer to fully dry a load
  • Payment System
  • A system/logic for penalizing other users who leave clothes in washers/dryers for too long
  • Systems and gamification that incentivize timely laundry collection