Making Hardware Interfaces more Approachable for Novice Makers

The current process of introducing new makers to electronics often overwhelms and discourages them from building working prototypes. We approached this problem using a systematic design process. With rapid prototyping, user testing, and quick iterations, we are able to make quick and informed decisions for our design solution.

During our user study sessions we asked novice makers to narrate their experience with our prototypes. Each session is giving us a deeper understanding of our user and is helping us create an experience inclusive of their needs and aims at achieving the ultimate goal of making.


DESIGN PROCESS OVERVIEW
While starting our process we decided to narrow our design problem to a concise problem statement.

HOW MIGHT WE ENABLE NOVICE USERS TO START MAKING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE WITH ELECTRONICS

TARGET AUDIENCE

Our initial audience was novice makers of all ages with the hardware/ electronics skill set of a middle school child. Our initial research was with Intel employees who have never worked with a microcontroller, but are eager to learn more. We also tested the same prototype with 10-12 year old middle school girls who were interested in making. We soon realised that the needs of each segment were very different. We had to narrow our audience down.

While talking to children we realised that they were learning similar electronics principles in theory in their school. However, they lacked the practical applications of this theory. This combination of knowledge they were gaining caught our interest and we decided to take them as our final audience. 

PROTOTYPE 1: Objective was to get quick feedback from users. 
BEE: Learn by taking an object apart
BOX: Sequential revealing of different electronics concepts


FInal Prototype and User Testing


While at work...