Loop

Crafting an interactive skill learning experience

Over the course of 15 weeks, we set out to enhance and extend the learning of craft skills through thoughtful and meaningful use of emerging technology.

The Problem

Learning hands-on craft skills such as knitting, book binding and pottery require very careful manipulation of hands, materials and tools in 3 Dimensional space. Learning these skills presents unique challenges not present when, say, following a recipe or trying to troubleshoot your router.

We set out to see if existing tutorial platforms could be improved to improve the learning of these skills. We used a user-centered design process: conducting primary and secondary research, ideating based on our findings, creating several prototypes to test ideas and assumptions with end users before finally creating high-fidelity visuals for our proposed design solution.

Type

Group project with Garrick Li, Lauren Rakusin, and Ranjini Krishnan

Project Aspects

Research, Ideation, Prototyping, Evaluation, Design

My Role

UI and interaction design, prototype construction, motion design

Also contributed to primary and secondary research, ideation, brainstorming, sketching and prototype evaluation

Timeline

May - Aug 2015 (15 weeks)

Sponsor

Deliverables

We created a short, 2-minute video to explain the problem and our solution. We gave a 10 minute presentation to faculty, students, and professionals in the Seattle design community after which we stood by our poster and fielded questions.

I also created a 50 page process book that outlines our process and highlights my contributions.

Research

Within the DIY space, we wanted to learn more about people who wish to learn these skills (the users), experts who create tutorial content or teach people skills (the experts) and the systems used to teach and learn (the tools). Our three main researh questions were:

  • How do users currently learn DIY and craft skills?
  • What types of tools are currently used to learn.
  • What measures do experts take to create content for learners?

Our primary and secondary research consisted of interviewing with local experts and content creators as well as looking into what current tools and services are used today to learn DIY skills.

To experience craft tutorials first-hand, all team members learned to knit from different video tutorials. Learning, and watching each other learn would prove to be exremely valuable.

We interviewed numerous experts in both teaching and performing various DIY and craft skills.

We performed a competitive analysis of the different tutorial platforms that exist today to identify gaps and must-have features for any platform.

Ideation

We brainstormed and came up with several ideas, both rational and wild, for both the system as a whole as well as for individual features. We sketched our ideas and created storyboards to present to the cohort and to ensure the team was on the same page.

Sketches ans storyboards. We narrowed down and consolidated some ideas based on their strengths, weaknesses, and feasibility.

Prototyping

We created several prototypes of varying degrees of fidelity to test assumptions and design ideas from the research phase.

Our final prototype was a custom created knitting tutorial with an adaptive learning component, voice control, and supplementary content to aid in the understanding of the content. To save time and development effort, while still being able to get useful feedback from participants, I created a behavioral system to remotely (and secretly) control voice-controlled functionality and adaptive learning features.

The team working on creating our own knitting video tutorial.

One of the screens of our final prototype. The tutorial detects the user having trouble following the steps and suggest that they switch to an easier track.

Testing our final prototype. The participant believes that the system is entirely voice controlled and is unaware that I am using a control panel to 'react' to his voice commands.

I also take detailed timestamped notes of quantitative data such as playback controls used, time to completion, and response to various system prompts.

Design

Designing for a holographic, or mixed-reality system came with a lot of challenges:

  • How can we elegantly afford voice-actionable controls
  • In the absense of interface guidelines and established practices, how do we design for UI that lives in 3-Dimensional space.

We used several paper prototypes, wireframes, and UI iterations and guerilla tested with users at every stage before finallizing our UI.

Garrick and I debating type and color choices with some of our early UI concepts.

System diagram showing the major components before, during, and after the tutorial.

Diagram showing the track-switching logic

Deliverables

We created a short, 2-minute video to explain the problem and our solution. We gave a 10 minute presentation to faculty, students, and professionals in the Seattle design community after which we stood by our poster and fielded questions.

I also created a 50 page process book that outlines our process and highlights my contributions.

Final Thoughts

This project gave us the opportunity to utilize all aspects of the user-centered design process. We were grateful not only to have been able to work with a topic that all of us are passionate about, but also the opportunity to design for emerging technology.

We feel our solution solves many of the short-comings of existing tutorial platforms. We see our solution not only applying to the craft space, but any space that requires development of muscle memory and hand dexterity. We're also excited for the potential for something like this in accurately preserving the practice and performance of artisinal skills.