Open House Post-Mortem

Posted on: Thursday, March 6, 2008

Based on the feedback our team got from the Open House, here are the results and refinements we will be considering as we develop the Sustain-a-Stack:

Conceptual Refinements

  1. Year Round Gardening - We never did consider how changing seasons affected gardening until one interested lady came to talk to us. True enough, planting indoors would be great for planting fresh herbs for Christmas dinner! As an extension of this, the climate our product is capable of generating can also serve as a guide for suggesting a wider variety of potential vegetables and herbs that can be grown.
  2. Senior Citizens as a potential User Group - Many seniors suffer from ailments such as arthritis but may still want to grow some plants. Our product would allow for this interaction through our easy-to-use system: the seniors would only have to push two buttons to grow plants!
  3. Nursery- The sustain-a-stack could also serve as an incubator for seedlings to grow until they are strong enough to survive the outdoor environment. Since it will be inside the house, they would get the attention they require in a controlled environment.

“Experience” Refinements
(that can improve interaction)

  1. Watering Feedback- although we had the water spray working, we had taken this out in place of just a light that would turn on/off to avoid “flooding” the box as people would click on the widget. For our usability test, we might want to consider taking it out again but improve the feedback and make it more obvious to simulate the act.
  2. Light Feedback- Using the widget, the light inside the box would turn on and off but since we only had a few inside the box, the brightness wasn’t that evident from the user’s point of view. The feedback of this aspect will also have to be improved.
  3. Rethinking the shape- The group has to consider how to access the plant easily without taking the whole box apart. We’ve been concentrating too much on how to take care of the plant using this complex technologies but now we have to think of how you can physically interact with it.

Technical Refinements

  1. Lighting synchronization with widget- we noticed that the light timer in the box to turn the light on and off every 30 seconds did not totally synchronize with the widget. The widget was not able to detect when the light was already on as set by the timer and would still read as off and vice versa.
  2. Temperature & humidity sensors- as we had this aspect working as well, we were not able to show much on how this changed or would affect the lighting and watering of the plant or even alert the user during critical status.
  3. Overall look of the prototype- thought it is a draft of what we imagined, we could still work on refining the prototype we have.

Space Requirements

Currently, we are looking at a place to store. While the laptop lockers seem to be the best place- we have not been able to file the necessary requests to reserve one for the prototype. As far as testing goes, we have secured our access to the Fish Bowl (3400) and we find the room suitable to run user testing. However, the open space doesn’t quite fit with some of the project ideas where spaceis limited. Therefore we may do some of our user evaluations in team rooms.

Work & Preparation (Table)

With the work & preparation required for the Open House, we had to create a schedule that would work for all of us, and to make sure that each part of our project was taken care of.

Work & Preparation (Planned & Actual TABLE)