Shower Time

A digital shower control designed to allow users to set goals and monitor their progress with real time feedback.

project brief

Identify an opportunity for an Internet of Things product.

process

research
ideation
prototype
user testing
iteration

research

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.

problem

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.

Design directions

ideation

How might we visualise the user's water usage?
How might we encourage children to use less water?
How might we encourage parents to use less water?
How might we make shower relaxing and fun?

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

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.

user testing

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.

1st iteration

User feedback

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.

2nd interaction

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.

reflection