Usage design

A project log for High-low tech: WATCH, GPS & PAGER

Want to ditch your smartphone but not its useful features ? 3 simple devices to use technology in a meaningful way //

Antoine PintoutAntoine Pintout 08/24/2019 at 13:080 Comments

On your phone, to access navigation you need to start an app, input your destination, chose a transport, chose an itinerary and then start the trip. That's around 8 taps from the home screen and some text input. That's a lot of actions. I want my devices to be really direct in their use.

To have this directness, I have to conceive very specialized devices instead of a generalist device (like a smartphone).

The interface must be simple, the functionality will also be simple. And this falls perfectly in my goals to build resilient devices.

One, button, one action

For the SABLIER I wanted to distance myself from other common devices that keep the time. I also wanted to design another perception of time. I came with this idea to notify the user every 15 minutes. I found that vibration was the less invasive way to achieve it. It is important for me that the user must be able the control the device : a single button will enable the user to start the device and control the moment of the first pulse. After 8 hours, the device will shut down.

With this behavior, the user is free to count the pulses or just feel it. The day is therefore divided by 3 ( 3 × 8h = 24h ). With some getting used to SABLIER, the user should be able to anticipate a pulse. SABLIER could be use to test one's perception of time.

It think the BOUSSOLE may be the most playful device of the 3. I always was frustrated that a compass only indicates the north and not the direction I wanted to go to. BOUSSOLE should be straightforward, you're in a place, you save it in the device, you go elsewhere, you recall this place with a single press of a button, you follow the direction shown be the device, you go to the place. One button, one place, one device, three places, I don't think we need more.

With that, you can save a place that serves as your base and you can start exploring, you can always return to your home, camp, AirBnB, friends flat. This device is meant for exploring, not productivity or efficiency. By only showing a direction, you have to choose your own path. Hopefully discovering some interesting things along the way. 

SIFFLET is the most intimate. Due to the desire to have highly specialized devices, this one cannot serves all forms of communication. I chose to design this one to be only shared between significant others, or between a parent and its child. You can express a lot through music, I want to make SIFFLET a real instrument to show one's feeling. With an accelerometer I can modulate a sound and introduce rhythm only with movements. The accelerometer data is transmitted by a wireless connection to the other device and then modulated in a sound that the other user can hear and then respond in its own way. There will be only one button to start and stop the melody.

There was another version of this device in my original research. It used potentiometers to set 5 notes and a button to send it. It was not great because it was not direct. If you wanted to preview it I had to use another button on the thing and it was as "simple" as the other devices. So I found another way to generate music, and it was with the accelerometer.

One the next log I'll give you an overview of how I sketched the shapes and mechanically validated my designs.

Be good,