Design Exploration

The past couple of months have been a little crazy, and I had very little time to update this blog. But some things happened on the project I am working on for my thesis, and I want to post a review of the first stage of design exploration I have gone thru before and after the initial presentation of the project. As I mentioned in the previous posts, the project I am working on is a personal budgeting application which is trying to geo-locate expenses. The project has also a name now, it’s awear

Research

In order to discuss the design process, I need to introduce you to a couple of previous works which brought me to following specific design and implementation patterns for the project. An excellent research, conducted by Kaye, Gulotta et Al (2014) showed how a group of selected people, interviewed in the United States, track their expenses and incomes in the most various ways – from paper, to spreadsheets, to specific application to a mix of a little bit of everything. Another helpful research paper is the one published by Li, Forlizzi et Al (2010) which explains the major issues related with how marketed technologies deal with life logging and monitoring our activities.

First wireframes

Starting from insights taken from those papers and personal experience with using existing application, I have mocked up an initial version of the interface. Since the main interaction with these kind of applications is numerical data input and visualisation, those are the two points I have focussed on for this early stage prototypes. Also, as the app is meant to come with a companion wearable extension, which will allow an even easier and immediate interaction with the application.

Initial mockups

After the first sketches, I have decided to just move on to something more “attractive” and to start designing some more realistic mock ups that I will later use to gather some feedback from the people involved in the development of awear. As I am designing an application that will be mocked on Android, I have decided to follow the recently released Google Material Design guidelines which are extremely helpful to develop applications that blend with the operating system and immerse the user in a great experience while using a kind of application that is not traditionally engaging or exciting to use.

Mockups V2

Since I didn’t feel those mockups were exciting enough, I have been inspired and decided to work on a new version of the concept. Everything is still based on circles, as coins are circulars and watches are circular too! What a coincidence… Anyway, I think the new version is the one I will go with for the implementation of the prototype. The idea of designing a new set of mockups came to my mind after I started using an Android Wear device. I have soon realised that my design wasn’t consistent and was not following any of the pattern I was getting familiar with on the small screen of my Moto360. The new design is much simpler to use, and way more intuitive. The following are the mockups for the “new expense” process.

 

Stay tuned!

Hopefully there will be more and more coming in the following weeks and months as I will start developing and I will keep keeping you up to date with my development process and research findings (when I will start having some!)

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