Looking at this with the hindsight of 20/20 vision, Oh boy is the only thing that comes to me. This one certainly did one more up’s and down’s then a roller coaster. Looking at the project with a fresh set of eyes after a fair nap, I know that this is far from one of my best works, however it is one that I feel gives me most to reflect on and learned from.
Successes & Lessons Learned
- A proper & complex system architecture
- Research, Research, Research
- A better understanding of designing in the IRL
- Trying something not existing yet
Problems Faced (Post-review)
- Not comprehending the scope of the project
- Setting personal expectations to high
- Difference in designing in “The Real World” vs “The Screen”
- Motion Tracking & always have a tripod
- A demo is about a story and not the features
Ideation & Idea Development
Initially tasked with the goal of creating a project (concept…something) revolving around the use of data. This data can come from many different forms, be it personal, GPS, national, geological. This was quite the list of possibilities to start. Knowing this I narrowed down my focus initially with the goal of creating a creating a design/system that would be “useful” to the general public. Expanding on this meaning moving away from the general game, weather app, or foodie thing. I feel that many of these have been done before overflowing the market, yet in truth still generally successful. Mine would maybe have a smaller more unique market but would have a significantly greater impact on one’s life.
Coming back from my time back home in Washington DC traffic, driving, and parking has always been the gift of hell that has plagued the city. It is by far most complicated and frustrating aspect of coming back home. Here the aha moment kicks in, what if I can make something this makes the driving and parking in places like DC less S*****. I know that self driving cars are coming out in the next 20 or so years, but right now is the maybe the last generation of “drivers”. Now is the key intermediary time where we can implement the systems of automation, GPS, and in particular the SF Park Style trackers in the car and in a non obtrusive manner.
Goal: Make driving and parking in the Big Cities easy, efficient and simple
Some follow up data that supported my claims of driving and in particular parking troubles in metropolitan cities comes from Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA in an interview with Freakanomics discussing the difficulties of parking, finding it and it’s cost. Along with documentation like this I dug deep into interview and discussions with other drivers to see how this would fit and general approval was received.
Principle Design in the Car
Onto the easy/hard part of actually trying to figure out how to implement this concept. During this stage I faced my first major hurdle steaming from the workflow creation process. knowing I’m not using a phone app as that is: first illegal, and second highly dangerous in how much it can distract drivers (looking away from the road).According to the National Safety Council 52% of fatal car crashes in 2011 involved a cell phone, so nope there.
Here I would bounce around from dashboard ideas to tesla tablet interfaces, but both caused the same problem at the first more so exacerbating my workflow with now considering in car functions pulling away from my goal. Steering back to the right path though would be my solution of a transparent display system built as part of a unique led band stretching across the windshield. This would be in eye line of their normal vision and information “projected” approx. 14 feet ahead of them to prevent the tunnel vision effect and looking off the road in general.
Because of this projection based system, basic interactions like taps and such are out the window. After some searching into current car systems I decided on a a two part interaction where one would be using the built in steering wheel buttons for basic operational control and a secondary voice control option for quick non-distracting navigation. This 2-part system allows drivers to avoid having the friend random call outs situation common with the xbox one, yet keep interactions quick and non distracting. This was an important because I had to look at the IRL (In real life) designing since you can’t tap a window and have to account for drivers having passengers and what they might do.
The first hurdle faced with this design came from the workflow. I won’t lie here, probably my biggest fault as a designer is that I can get a bit tunnel vision myself and needing to have “every, single piece of my design laid out and accounted for.” A talent which is both good and bad but as you can see below (fig. 3.0) you can easily get lost in your workflows and in my case over complicating it significantly. Finally slapping myself back into game with my favorite project workflow.
Core system 1: Pick a Place 2: Go to the Place 3: Find a spot 4: Pay and Done
Production Period (wireframes – comps)
After a week of a solidifying workflow moving onto the comps was the for me the easiest part. For the windshield I knew that only at least half of it could be an operation/usable space so I divided the space into 3 primary quadrant system: the top left being dedicated to GPS menus and primary search structure, above the wheel is GPS information and top hierarchy info, lastly the area around the wheel (lower bar) is ancillary facts, apps, and notifications.
My second major hurdle came with the development of the comps. For the last 3 years or so of my design work has been focused on a screen based design. A holistic, all encompassing blank canvas, however in this case I know had to adapt to the constantly changing background of the roads and streets in front of the windshield. This took lot of testing to figure out and in truth I were to go back it would be the first thing to tackle again. While I took a primarily text based approach in this design After review I think a more symbol based with strong iconography might be better and worth investigating.
Selling the Idea
Probably the greatest struggle and last I had to overcome in the project as video is…well not my highlight talent. In this production I actually did learn a lot the the involvement needed especially if you need live video. Having to bring in multiple friends, reshoots, location hunting, and the motion tracking. Most important fact, if your doing any form of motion tracking find smooth roads. In review it was quite the excruciating process but overall I approve of the final out come.