Identify an opportunity for an Internet of Things product.
Alleviate water scarcity by reducing water usage at home
Even though our planet is covered by water but only 1% of the water is available for use currently. With the current rate of consumption, by 2025, two-thirds of the population will face water shortage. Within a household, shower is the second biggest (21%) water waster (after toilet) and every 8 minutes of shower is equivalent to 62 litres of water down the drain. Can we limit the use of water through design?
WHO is the target?
12 years old boys are found be taking the longest shower. Habits usually takes root at a young age, targeting at children and parents an help the next generation develops a good shower habit.
WHAT is the problem?
People are not very good at estimating time. They are not fully aware of how long do they spend in the shower and how much water they are using.
WHY is it hard to solve?
Shower is an unconscious habit and it is difficult to bring about long term behaviour change. Especially when shower is a time for people to wind down and relax, they do not want to compromise their shower experience.
Families want to user less water when showering
Because they want to save the money and the environment
But they do not know how much water and do not have much control over the behaviour.
- Real time feedbacks allow user to recall more Information about their habit
- Goal setting give the user something quantifiable reference to reach for
- Gamification drives user engagement, helping user to make the necessary change
- Encourage user engagement for a long term and sustainable solution
wireframing & prototyping
Visualise water usage in a relatable way
Inspired by the “Show Me” Project, where they use the metaphor of a blocked drain and water level rising within the bath tub. I used the element of rising water and added a little avatar to build user engagement.
Habit tracker that help user see improvements
A graph showing the change in water usage overtime allows the user to make improvements based on data or keep up with the good progress. Infographic also shows user the accumulated water usage in a relatable unit
Using gamification elements to increase children’s engagement
- Avatar: Children can create their own avatar to establish a stronger emotional connection
- Story: Children should use less water to prevent avatar from drowning
- Time pressure: Children should try to finish the shower before the set time
- Reward system: Points will be awarded to the user if they reached the goal and it can be used in the virtual shop
- Leaderboard: Shows who use the most water to stage a friendly competition
Using money incentives and friendly competition to motivate parents
The app shows parents the money saved on water bill compared to first started. Hopefully, the opportunity to cut down on spending motivates them to keep up the good habits. The use of the leaderboard also encouraged them to do better than their kids set a good example for the children.
Music playlist to creating relaxing mood
Pairing your device to your favourite music app to play your favourite tunes during the shower. Other than creating the relaxing mood , the song also show the user roughly how long has the shower been.
Digital shower control instead of merely a water usage display
The concept started off to be a digital display showing users their shower habits, situated near their conventional shower tap. However, after discussing with my tutor, combining the display and digital shower control is a better solution as having two devices in the shower might confuse the children in this digital age.
Instructions aren’t clear: Through flipping through the interface, the user didn’t realised the shower has started.
Limited options: Another participant thinks only “play game” and “play music mode is not sufficient. She points out that when she has a long day she might just want a quiet shower and spoil her self a little with a slightly longer shower.
Wet fingers on touch screen: A key problem was that touch screen or voice control not ideal way for user input during shower, as user’s wet finger might not work on touch screens and with water falling from above device might not be able to pick up voice demands.
Not very kids friendly: Although I couldn’t conduct the user testing with children, I showed the concept to a parent. They think the interface is really cute but the appearance of the control is not very kids friendly.
Features added based on feedback
1. Tangible/ Physical control and digital feedback
Two physical slider with non-slip touch point is incorporated to the device, one for water temperature one for water flow.
2. Clarified instructions and more diverse options for users
A little count down before shower starts is added to give user time buffer to get ready.