Working from the spring semester’s research and analysis, we combined our findings with relevant usability guidelines in human-centered design in order to develop the following user experience goals. As we progressed through multiple cycles of iteration, these fundamental principles guided the development of each prototype, insuring that the user’s best interests were never far from our thoughts.
Support crewmember autonomy
Reduce ground crew uncertainty
Make activities easier to execute
Prevent user frustration
Encourage a bond between user and device
Provide shallow and intuitive navigation
We began the design process by brainstorming over a hundred conceptual ideas for our prototype, drawing inspiration from our research insights. We narrowed the field down to fifty concepts, which we tested using speed dating and card sorting exercises. We conducted a workshop with members of the NASA Ames HCI Group, using this opportunity to validate our findings and uncover any unexpected opportunities.
Taking feedback from Prototype 0’s speed dating session, we began generating concepts for our first full interface, to be realized in paper. We started by sketching the refined wireframes on paper, creating a low-fidelity mock up of our interface. This prototype was designed to test and validate several high level concepts within our application, while remaining deliberately generic and flexible.
After initial high level concept validation in our speed dating session and approval of our first rough interface in Prototype 1, we had defined our final functionality to the point where we were ready to create our first interactive prototype. Another round of wireframe sketching further defined the functionality of the most important elements within the system. A coherent narrative was developed that would touch upon each of these features, guiding the user through a defined scenario while still allowing them a degree of autonomy.
Building upon the successful feature implementations of Prototype 2, we began with another round of targeted sketching in order to address users’ concerns and errors. We also developed an extensive experiment scenario which would carry through to all subsequent rounds of testing. It was at this point that we began to develop a formal design language for the finished application, making aesthetic decisions that would remedy previous ambiguities in the interface’s structure and hierarchy. As the design progressed, the scope of this prototype narrowed to focus on the performance of the application and its features, prioritizing functionality over visual polish.
This test showcased a nearly-completed prototype, at last unifying visual design and technical development. Visual design details were added to the functional skeleton of Prototype 3, as well as additional features requested during testing. We tested with HCI professionals employed at NASA Ames, individuals uniquely equipped to offer insights on space-related usability issues. A two-day scenario allowed for an even more realistic usability test, as participants underwent training before executing a series of interrelated task.
Our final test involved an updated method for taking notes, highlighting new messages and replies in the ground communications panel, and other miscellaneous fixes.