ABUV & NODE

User Experience and Product Design
Project Overview
Our brief for this project was to create something to solve a problem which did not exist 6 months ago. Starting in September, this meant solve a problem that did not exist pre-pandemic. With the COVID-19 pandemic, everything changed in one way or another, and our team looked towards the automotive industry. By the end of this project we were required to create working high fidelity prototypes, coded and functional.
My Contributions
Like most UX projects, everyone tends to help with every part of the process, but roles are defined as the 10 weeks goes on. I started out having research as my main role, creating a timeline and goal for all of our different types of research. As the quarter went on, I was responsible for all of the product design and ideation with help from the team. This included user testing forms, sketching, rendering and creating the final form. My team was amazing for this project and we together created something which I feel could be placed into market today.
Timeline
September-November 2020
(10 Week Project)
My Roles
Product Design Lead
Initial Research Lead
User Testing
User Research
Team Members
Wyatt M. (PM)
Charlie B.
Sathvik k.
Guy C.
Quint B.
An unexpected problem
Our initial research into the problem area.
Initial development of an idea starts broad and our team did not eliminate any ideas until we flushed them out. We began by thinking about new problem areas in the workplace, with increased technology usage and increased uses for cars. We found a great opportunity in the car industry and decided to research further into every aspect of cars that changed as a result of the pandemic. We found people attending church and movies in their cars, new ways of ride sharing and even COVID testing being conducted in cars.

Then our team focused our research into ride sharing and the new adaptations that companies and people had to make as a result of the pandemic. We made this decision based on feasibility, impact and many other factors. We were surprised to find that companies like Uber did little to nothing to improve the riding experience for their users, and offered almost no support to their drivers. Besides requiring masks, the only thing that Uber did to facilitate a safe ride was deploying Clorox wipes to high population areas, which is obviously a temporary and single use solution.

We had found our problem and dove deep into the specifics finding what was wrong with ridesharing now and where companies were falling short in providing their users with solutions.
The Problem
Who and what are we designing for?
With our target problem better defined, we began conducting research ourselves and collecting data to later synthesize. This process is shown throughout this page but after affinitizing our data, the problem became abundantly clear:

The current state of ridesharing sanitation has focused primarily on their highest performing drivers. What existing products or services fail to address is providing all drivers with a viable sanitation solution. Our product or service will address this gap by creating an efficient and effortless way to promote the safety of all within the vehicle. Our initial focus will be providing freelance rideshare drivers with a solution to use inside of their cars for sanitation.
Interviewing &
observation
Talking to actual Uber drivers and
observing new habits as a result of the
COVID pandemic in relation to cars.
This is a picture of an Uber driver's solution
in India, where Sathvik was located.
Ideation &
Affinization
Gathering data and integrating ideas.
Hypothesis statements
Based on our research, what we believe to be true as a result of our findings.
  • Our solution must work fast and in between rides
  • Our solution should not harm the passengers or occupants in the vehicle
  • Our solution should be effective on all vehicle surfaces
  • Our solution should show the passenger and driver it is working
  • Our solution should not degrade a cars interior
  • Our solution should work both manually and automatically
Our Hypothesis
Based on our hypothsis statements above
to be tested in the near future.
We believe that a product used within rideshares will be accepted and encouraged.
We will know we are [right] when we see the following feedback:

feeling safe while ridesharing and/or more rideshare users and/or drivers wanting to use our product
personas &
journey maps
Giving our team a clear definition of our users and their journey to identify key opportunity areas.
Opportunity areas
Some of our key areas of impact.
  • The drivers efforts cannot be seen by the passenger and thus make the passenger feel unnecessarily uncomfortable
  • Any small concern of cleanliness and safety is exaggerated by the passenger not knowing of previous cleaning inside of the car
  • One bad experience can drive customers away from companies like Uber
  • The driver spends time cleaning his car manually between rides, but has no way of displaying his efforts
Sketching & Ideation
My form exploration and early development.
User Testing
Testing our hypothesis on real users with low fidelity prototypes, I created our low fidelity pink foam prototypes.
First Revisions
Our expert and user testing provided us with the opportunity to refine some features...
  • The form of ABUV is too chunky, it gets in the way of the rear view mirror
  • The product colors are distracting
  • Confusion over the placement of ABUV
  • The app doesn't have a short summary of Far UVC technology
Second User Test
Testing our hypothesis on real users with user improved prototypes, taking into consideration changes that can be implemented in a timely manner.
Final Revisions
Our expert and user testing provided us with the opportunity to refine some features...
  • Users wanted to see even more information about the devices (battery life, progress, etc.)
  • User wanted ABUV to have a removable battery for charging
  • Users overall had a greater understanding of how things were working and at which times the car was safe
Final Solutions
Reasoning behind every decision we made.
The mounting process
It became abundantly clear during our user testing that our users wanted flexibility with each of our products. During testing, questions often came up naturally from our users around the mounting process, the temporary mounting solution we used was duct tape on the ceiling. They asked questions like, "How would this mount? Would it hurt my cars interior? If I take it down can I put it back up?". Because of the frequency of questions and importance expressed by our users, we developed a system of VHB taping magnets to the ceiling, which allowed the magnets to stay on the car, while allowing for ABUV to be taken down and put back up with ease and without wasting the VHB tape.
Removable battery and light placement
Two other important insights derived from our users were the removable battery for ABUV as well as the placement of our Far-UVC lights. Users felt that bringing the entire product indoors when it required charging would make them uncomfortable. They were concerned about the sanitization of the product themselves, so we created a removable battery to resolve this issue. Each time we user tested, day and night, our users had concerns about the light placement of ABUV, mostly because of the tendency for the height of the product to interfere with the rear view mirror. Because of this, we reduced the height of the product and also directed the lights away from the eyesight of the driver and towards their surroundings.
NODE's important scale
Our product design always had the inclusion of a main cylindrical component for our NODE product. This was derived from the cylindrical cleaning products of old, "Bar Keepers Friend". My intention with that decision was to subtly play to products that already existed in the sanitation industry, as well as allow for cupholder storage of the product. During user tested we refined this shape by playing around with different diameters and tapers. We found the users expressed frustration if NODE didn't snuggly fit in their cupholder, and when that happened they didn't store it in the cupholder. We made revisions based on their feedback, slightly tapering the design to fit more cups and modifying the proportions to connect to the users habits.
The (theoretical) application
Our creation of the RIDER/DRIVER app was purely representational, our goal was to have these products adopted by rideshare companies that exist. However, the application was crucial in helping the user understand Far-UVC. Because of this we added information pages which explained the technology briefly and showed how quickly it worked, in addition to providing links to credible sources. We then indicated the technology numerous times throughout the application because our research told us that just because something is clean or being cleaned, doesn't mean the user will believe its clean. Each direction we took with the application was as a result of user testing. Overall users expressed satisfaction!
Building the
final prototype
Make sure to look at the process book for much more in depth images showing my process for creating our prototypes.
Final Deliverables
After just ten weeks of class, we presented our final work.
ABUV & NODE
Far-UVC 
A new technology which is safe for occupied spaces.
To continuously and safely disinfect occupied indoor areas, researchers at Columbia University have been investigating far-UVC light  (222 nm wavelength). As of June, manufacturers of UVC technology have began designing and manufacturing affordable and effective far-UVC products that will likely become implemented within the near future.

Far-UVC light cannot penetrate the tear layer of the eye or the outer dead-cell layer of skin, so it cannot reach or damage living cells in the body.

Based on their findings, the researchers estimate that continuous exposure to far-UVC light at the current regulatory limit would kill 90% of airborne viruses in about 8 minutes, 95% in about 11 minutes, 99% in about 16 minutes, and 99.9% in about 25 minutes .  

With great demand and little supply, we were not able to acquire actual Far-UVC lights but instead tested our hypothesis with LED lights which had similar brightness and color.
ABUV & NODE
The final products.
Our App Integration
Our final Presentation
Reflecting on the project
What I would change, do differently or tweak looking back on the project.
This project was a ton of fun and coincidentally fell into the industry that I am most interested in, the car industry (trust me I didn't push to take this direction, Charlie our teammate found great insight into the car industry from the beginning). I felt that our professor let us take lots of liberties into how we wanted to conduct our research, define efficacy and structure our process. Our group has always felt that what lacks usually in the process of UX projects is the user testing phase. We decided to focus on getting rapid user testing done to have a polished final product which had reasoning behind each decision.

Given more time our team would have done even more user testing with our final products. We almost had time to do this but decided rather to focus on having great final deliverables for class. Looking at my roles in the project, I am relatively happy with the final product design and execution of the products. Given such a short amount of time I felt that these models were exceptional. However, I would revisit ways for completing very polished prototypes which don't show any seams or imperfections. The difficulty with this project was the fact that at all times the prototypes had to be openable, because of our need to mess around with the Arduino components inside and swap them between our two products. This created tons of complication and resulted in a less refined final prototype.

In the future our team hopes to enter the Red Dot Design Awards and get great feedback from that competition that could further our idea. Maybe while that is happening I can further refine the products and get them to a place where I feel they should be.
Project OverviewThe ProblemResearch Final SolutionsFinal ProductReflection