Ubicomp product design
Sep 2018 – Dec 2018
Kesava Karthik Kota, Chaitrali Gandhi, Rugved Arte, Xi Li
Ideation, Research, Design, Fabrication, Prototyping, Testing.
Alcohol addiction is a widespread issue in current society. In US, there are about 15.1 million people who suffer from alcohol disorder. There is also a statistic data of 6 deaths per day due to alcohol poisoning. It is hard to break habit due to various reasons, as it makes people more outgoing, helping stressful people relax, assisting in better social networking, etc. Irrespective of its other benefits many people try to control their consumption of alcohol based on health consideration, but it is difficult to get rid of overconsumption successfully.
As people who personally saw people falling prey to alcohol overconsumption in social situations, we observed how difficult it can be to break the habit and stay in control. When an opportunity presented itself to design a pervasive product, it felt natural to find a better solution to this long-lasting problem.
Lime is a smart glass to help control alcohol addiction and give better experience every time you drink! Lime is designed to help change users’ over-consumption behavior through persuasion and making recommendations with technical support from sensors, visual and motion information display. It helps build a safe environment for the users and the people around them and makes people adopt healthier habits and lead productive lives.
Lime greets the user with an inviting and friendly message,
Lime will help users keep track the number of drinks consumed and users don’t need to worry about immersing too far at a party again.
Lime recommends users to take a break if the user is refill the drink at a faster pace.
Lime suggest the user to get hydrated by drinking water from the water compartment.
Lime suggests the user to consume food while drinking to avoid over consumption effects.
Lime uses various animations to show the effects of alcohol during various stages.
Lime gently reminds if it is a good time to slow down drinking.
Our 14 week Project plan included 3 stages – Research, Ideation and Product Development. The path to the final product include application of various research methodologies, ideation, testing, iteration, fabrication and demonstration.
In order to understand how to reduce the overconsumption of alcohol, we came up with the following research questions to know more in detail about it. We divided the questions into how, what and why. Our research questions included identifying user’s behavior and attitudes while drinking; and motivations for them to start and stop drinking.
How and when do people drink alcohol and what are their motivations? (Patterns)
How do people control their drinking habits and their motivations?
In what conditions do people prefer drinking? (Environment)
Why do people drink and not drink alcohol? (Feelings)
To understand wider demographic attitudes, behaviors, and characteristics we used the survey as our first method as part of our formative study. We included 30 survey questions which can provide us a broad overall knowledge about people’s behaviors, motivations, and the relation between alcohol consumption and other factors that influence their drinking behaviors.
The survey received 192 responses which was sent to the students of the University of Michigan as the majority of our target audience falls under the student category.
We conducted 7 user interviews to know more in detail about the experiences of users with overconsumption of alcohol. The participants were within our target audience age group of 22-35. We asked the participants about their experiences in the past where they were a victim of over-consumption of alcohol, theur motivations for drinking alcohol and what measures did they take to control it.
We deployed cultural probes and conducted a diary study with 2 participants who had a high frequency of alcohol consumption over a period of 2 weeks to understand user behavior when intoxicated,. The cultural probe given to the participants was a kit which included 2 types of postcards, an online form and some alcohol to be consumed during the study.
One postcard was for the participant to fill up before he started drinking alcohol. It gathered data about the participant’s environments. The other postcard was for the participant to fill up after every subsequent drink. This postcard included an image which would show the ill-effects of drinking. It gathered information regarding the motivation for going for the next drink and the times between the drinks. The kit helped understand user behavior when they would drink in their house. The online form helped us understand the user behavior and environment when the users consumed alcohol outside.
At the end of the study, we conducted exit interviews to get in depth information about their experience and know more about the effectiveness of the visual clues given to stop drinking.
The findings from the formative study drove the brainstorming while the findings from the user enactments were used to refine the concepts and reach the final system concept. The key findings from the formative study were:
People drink to destress themselves from work.
Empathy map allowed to aggregate our learnings from the formative study. The map provides four major areas in which to focus our attention on, thus providing an overview of a person’s experience. The empathy maps are also gives us a background for shaping our personas later.v
Before starting the brainstorming and ideation process, we built personas based on user research and the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of your target audience.
Based on the insights and findings from the formative study we brainstormed 30 ideas and filtered down to 11 main concepts capturing users’ pain points, emotion and interactions with each solution.
Our prototypes revolved around the following persuasive techniques to stop users drinking, which were found during the research phase.
Evaluating the brainstormed concepts with the criteria listed below, we filtered down to 3 concepts.
Smart Beer Mug has a led light at the bottom, the color of the light changes based on the no of drinks the user had. It is ideal for drinking at home as well in bar where user can just pour alcohol in it and it track every refill. “Smart” beer mug displays the drink count and persuades user to stop drinking. The mug uses various colors such green, orange and red, based on the amount of alcohol that is consumed.
To persuade the users by notifying the alcohol content in their body, we ideated a concept where the breath analyzer equipped mug automatically closes the mug with a lid notifying that the user had exceeding the alcohol limit to drive. User can open the lid and continue drinking if they want to. It can be used as a personal mug to drink at home, and the bar for the users who wanted to be notified about their alcohol intake.
Smart coaster has an LCD/LED display which shows the number of drinks the user had and the time interval to be given between each drink to avoid over consumption. The display is also used to persuade users by projecting animations to stop drinking too much. Along with the ideal pace that the user need to drink, the coaster also projects the current user pace of drinking alcohol. This idea is designed to convince the user to drink slowly and responsibly.
Speed dating approach helped us explore the diverse applications and combination of persuasion techniques which would help us achieve the end goal of making the user stop drinking. This method helped us explore various levels of persuasion people would accept while drinking. Based on this criteria, the following speed dating matrix was designed.
Thus, we chose three different contexts of being sober, happily drinking and being completely drunk. We came up with scenarios based on our previous observations and concepts.
Taking various scenarios into consideration and to get feedback from the user, we created prototypes for 12 prototypes and performed user enactment study.
As we are trying to persuade people from drinking less while they are drinking, it was essential to understand how they react to the product at these stages and how might we make the product more pervasive. For performing our user enactments, we recruited participants who consume alcohol on different levels. We wanted to understand the perception and thoughts on our ideas that we got through our matrix. We recruited 7 participants aged between 22-35 years.
We tested our prototypes with multiple iterations to get the following insights.
Visual language is more efficient in calling one’s attention. Information presented in the message should be clear and easily-understood for ordinary people.
There is a need for more private experience.
Users want to make their own decisions, with information provided in a proper way as references.
Motion effect attached to a device like a mug held by users could be helpful in assisting increasing users’ awareness of reminders especially in the environment when it is noisy and the light condition is unpredictable.
From these enactments, we narrowed down on our system concepts using a matrix which rated our improvised concepts based on Effectiveness, Enjoyment, Trust, and Acceptability.
We narrowed down based how effective, enjoyable, acceptable, trust-worthy, and plausible the product is. With which, we picked out beneficial features from several ideas and refined them into our final design, Lime.
Visual language is more efficient to gain attention.
Need for a private experience in the bar.
Users want to make their own decision.
Motion effects are helpful for user awareness.
Base on this selection criteria, we created a final lo-fi prototype and validated our design decisions through hall-way testing before creating a hi-fi prototype. Based on the product concept and its usage we created scenarios where our product can ideally be helpful for the user.
We iterated through different design sketches to reach a final design sketch which included all the features derived from the user enactments.
Tracking the blood alcohol content(BAC) using the alcohol sensor and show the effects of the current BAC on the body to increase self-awareness.
Tracking the drinking speed and remind the user to slow down using the water level sensor.
Water compartment to keep user hydrated while drinking and being reminded of it.
While prototyping, we iterated over the form factor to make the prototype compact and usable while drinking. We introduced a removable sleeve which would carry the screen and can be put on any other glass to make sure the data isn’t lost when the user gets his next drink. It also provides haptic feedback to make the user aware without notifying anyone else.