One of the big problems with pet adoption is that many do not fully understand the responsibilities involved and often animals end up back in shelters. We aimed to employ technology as a means to help preventing pets from being returned and keep Austin's no kill ratio above its target - 95%.
The rig consists of an Oculus Gear VR headset, which was designed to turn a Samsung Galaxy phone into a portable virtual reality device. It is my understanding that this was chosen because it was the most effective and economical solution for the product. Similar low vision aids on the market are significantly more expensive than Irisvision.
In addition to standard UX challenges, this project had accessibility, hardware, hand gesture, AR / MR, voice user interface and android ecosystem components.
First time dealing with an interface that had to be strictly functional over aesthetically pleasing.
Had never worked with VR / AR applications before.
Worked independently, set my own deadlines.
Oculus VR Gear
Presentation to stakeholders
Feature improvement suggestions
User / support staff / engineer interviews
The first component of my ongoing contract with the company was to explore and evaluate the functionality of the product in its current build. I used Neilsen's ten categories as a jumping off point to begin quantifying the effectiveness of various hardware and software features.
A couple of other products exist in similar, but not completely overlapping market spaces. Part of my job was to evaluate them and highlight their competitive advantages and disadvantages relative to Irisvision's product.
User can walk while wearing it.
Smaller, lighter and less bulky headset.
Custom prescription lens option.
Two color options.
Hands free use.
Sun baffle for light sensitivity
Lightweight, less bulky design.
Less conspicuous appearance.
Hands free use.
Optical character recognition
Optional 10 hour battery (with cord)
Higher cost than Irisvision
Shorter battery life
Fewer features / viewing modes
Worked independently, set my own
Various accessories sold separately
Higher cost than IrisVision.
Fewer viewing modes.
Smaller field of vision.
No online features.
Shorter battery life.
OCULUS VR GEAR - BASIC FUNCTIONALITY
The headset is worn over the eyes and has a trackpad on the right hand side, which allows users to scroll up, down, forward and backward. Depending on what viewing mode the software is set to, the controls do different things. Forward and back typically zooms in and out, up and down usually acts as a selector. One of my tasks for this project was to create a universal gesture library. In the wireframes that follow, I will only show the track pad alone, to save space. The second image is what the headset looks like from the inside, when you put it on the two separate images converge into one.
BASIC PHOTO GALLERY
This feature explores a simple and straightforward way that a user could scan through a gallery of saved photos, a feature our users often requested. When I came on as a consultant, the gallery feature was in its very first iteration. After I offered suggestions, it was rebuilt and received with resounding approval from the user community.
FURTHER DESIGN EXPLORATION
At the direction of our creative director, I developed two additional interaction patterns for the photo viewer function. We wanted to develop and test these against our current build to see if we could improve upon the existing core functionality.
BASIC DEVICE SETTINGS
One of the application's most basic controls allows users to adjust vales and positioning of text or image elements. Visual impairments can vary greatly from person to person depending on what condition they have and how advanced it is. For this reason, the device needs to be highly customizable for each user. This menu helps them to get the device calibrated to the setting that work best for each individual.
FURTHER DESIGN EXPLORATION
Again, my creative director wanted to see a couple of variations from the existing menu. Our whole team felt that existing UI was clunky and rudimentary, albeit for good reason, but we thought that it could be better and wanted to test some new options against what was already built to see about improving the product.
The team brought me on to do a comprehensive heuristic analysis of the existing hardware and software components of the product. This was a very unique challenge for me, because it combined many different facets of UX design that were entirely new to me. First of all, the mobile platform was Android, which I have limited experience with. In addition to that VR is also a first for me. Then there are the hardware, voice interface, accessibility and trackpad gestures to work out...no problem at all!
As part of ongoing contract work with CitrusBits, I consult with a client of theirs called IrisVision. They operate in the med-tech space; their product utilizes Oculus VR and Android phone technology to create a new kind of low vision aid for the 21st century. It is deeply rewarding to help people see the world clearly for the first time in many years. I really look forward to watching this device evolve, because it serves a particularly disadvantaged group.