The basis for this project boils down to two key elements. The “smart refrigerator” and the shopping experience linked to that device. At the moment, there are few smart fridges on the market and the applications that can be used in conjunction with the device are limited in functionality.
The primary aim is to utilize the functions of the smart fridge in conjunction with a shopping application. Although this function exists to some extent, the functions can be vastly improved and extended to make it more viable and user friendly.
The secondary aim is to take the improvements from the primary aim to increase shopping efficiency and making collaborative shopping easier within the household.
To create a usable prototype to illustrate the possibilities connecting a smart refrigerator with a shopping application that can be used by a single person or a household.
Initial research went into existing applications and functionality of the Smart Fridges. This resulted in a competitor analysis for both the apps and fridges to get an overview of the current market.
After reviewing the existing solutions on the market, a survey was sent out and in-depth interviews was conduced to figure out what potential users think they need from this kind of application. Based on the results, an initial mind-map was created. This formed the desired functionality for the application and a paper prototype was created to illustrate the functionality and preliminary design for a focus group.
This started an iteration based process with development, feedback and changes made as a result of the feedback.
Understanding the user
To get a better picture of the core user, several personas based on data gathered in the research phase.
The next step was to map the user journey for the personas created to illustrate the steps a customer go through in engaging with the product to highlight important touch points, user concerns and potential problems the user might face.
The project utilizes the online software from inVision to display the prototype for the participants. This software has been chosen as it has a quick workflow for rapid prototyping and lets the participants experience the prototype as a simulated application on their phone.
The first prototype implemented ideas discussed in the focus group session in addition to carrying on some of the functions considered to be working well in the applications reviewed in the research phase. The screens were made to only show the bare essentials of the functionality the application would contain, which were hard for some of the participants as they according to themselves “approach things visually.”
Example of screens from the first prototype shown to the participants.
The second prototype polished the existing elements kept from prototype one and added more visual style as well. Icons have been added and visual UI elements have been upgraded. This makes the product seem more real and helped the participants understand the meaning of the icons according to the participants. The comments from the iterations done on prototype one have been evaluated and improved upon leading up to this prototype.
Example of screens from the second prototype.
The feedback from the participants led to the development of the final prototype which can be seen here.