The design industry has been evolving over the last few years along with the landscape of Design. UX, UI, Product and Interaction design have one thing in common; design is all about solving problems. In this regard Product Design acts as the compass in finding the best solution for customers.
When you think about design in this way, you begin to see some parallels between the product development process and the scientific method. The Product Design starts with a hypothesis and sets out in multiple directions to see which solution shows positive results and then builds on that work. Understanding the business objectives and user requirements are key for defining holistic experiences. Product design defines the look, feel, and behavior of the whole product. Combining many of the functions of other design roles, and maintaining oversight of the product vision at a high level; from how does this feature add value, to how tweaking the design in a particular way can impact the user flow to reduce friction. It encompasses; strategy & research (Creating a product vision to establish a common understanding of what you’re trying to build and why); Product Definition (turning insights from design and business research into requirements); Iteration (creating preliminary wireframes, and iterating until a defined set of criteria are met); Implementation (using System and visual design to ensure consistency and establishing a link between front-end development and design).
My submission for the design challenge from Unicef and ARM to use wearable and sensor technology to help solve major problems for people in resource constrained environments, was a solution to encourage regular hand-washing and transfer of good hygiene practice based on the hypothesis of using gameification techniques to affect behavior change and specific algorithms to detect and measure effective hand wash movements.
Using the concept design I was able to create prototypes of the complete experience including the wearable device; testing the game interaction based on the 'Simon Says' game using LED lights and formulating the hand washing algorithm by using a 3-axis sensor and measuring the relative changes in x,y,z values as users wash their hands using the recommended 6 step process. I then created a mock-up of the full solution including the digital components; mobile application interface to capture and view data, and the interactive hand wash game to bring a fun element to the hand washing experience.
This allowed me to prototype the user experience and test my hypothesis / assumptions and get early user feedback on the likely success of the product design.