Tempus

Introduction

This project shows the process of creating a physical interactive product to assist with time management during meetings.

Afterwards, the resulting product, named Tempus, is presented.

Semester group project (2018, 5th semester of the bachelor, Interaction Design at Aalborg University)

Team: Anders Høgh Hansen, Andreas Winkel Sigsgaard, Emil Kongsgaard Guldager, Frederik Dalgaard Moroder, Lasse Stausgaard Jensen and Joachim Klyssing Jensen.

MOTIVATION

The chosen area of focus for this project has been streamlining meetings. We chose this focus as we found this theme interesting with a lot of different possibilities for directions to explore.

Since most meetings revolves around a number of people gathering around a table, we found it engaging to explore how we could design for this space.

Users

Throughout the process, we involved users from different student political organisations. After our initial data collection with six different organisations, we discovered a general consensus of meetings easily becoming ineffective and unproductive.

 

Pain points

Analysis of the gathered data, allowed us to sum up the users key pain points, as being related to:
Managing discussion relevance and General time management

These problems were then transformed into needs that served as product requirements during the design phase:

Overall process

The overall process revolves around a user-centered design approach, where the purpose is to derive real-life problems and needs and embed these into a physical product that can potentially help solve these.

Through an iterative development process of alternating between identifying user needs, establishing requirements, refining the product and evaluating on findings, the pivot throughout the process is user involvement.

generating concepts

We conducted an ideation phase, generating ideas of possible solutions addressing the appertaining needs derived from the problem phase. The process of generating ideas was conducted over several sessions, each having a different focus.

The outcome of these sessions were two concepts to move forward with.

Agenda blocks

Shared pool blocks

The concept Agenda blocks addresses the theme of Overall speaking time by providing a dynamic and physical visualization of time for a meeting’s agenda. the user is provided with a series of towers that represent different topics on the agenda, and a set amount of blocks, each representing a certain time unit. As the meeting progresses, the state of each block changes to visualize the time passing.

Shared pool blocks addresses the theme Individual speaking time, as the idea behind this concept is to limit the speaking time for each individual at a meeting. For this concept, the attendees get a pile of blocks. The pile of blocks represents a certain amount of speaking time, as each block has a set amount of time. Each attendee has to take a block from the pool of speaking time, when they want to say something during the discussion of the given topic.

user testing

First user test

We conducted the first user test with a student political organisation using DUPLO blocks to mimic the intended use-case of Agenda blocks. The test provided a lot of useful and interesting observations and arguments on the prototype and the use of it.

There was a general consensus that the visualization of the agenda and of each topic in relation to each other was very beneficial and it helped people reflect on the importance of, what they wanted to say.

Second user test

We chose to conduct a second user test to gather comparable supportive data that could substantiate our decisions moving forward.

Through this test, we gained additional insights into the use and impact of the concept as well as substantiating and verifying previous insights

Third user test

To test the Shared pool blocks concept, dealing with management of individual speaking time, a third user test was conducted. 

The feedback received from the test was that the concept had significant limitations, especially regarding the lack of ping-pong

Prototyping

The user tests allowed us to revise our needs and requirements, and based on the feedback we chose to pick Agenda blocks to progress and build prototypes of.

To explore different possibilities of implementing it in a physical prototype, we held another ideation session that resulted in two concepts. 

Light-controlled Agenda blocks

Motor-controlled Agenda blocks

The light-controlled Agenda blocks concept is centered around serial connected LED towers. Each tower would represent a topic on the agenda and have a certain set of LED’s vertically aligned that would represent a time unit.

Motor-controlled Agenda blocks

The light-controlled Agenda blocks concept is centered around serial connected LED towers. Each tower would represent a topic on the agenda and have a certain set of LED’s vertically aligned that would represent a time unit.

The motor-controlled Agenda blocks implementation revolves around the concept of having a mechanism that automatically removes blocks from the tower as time passes.

lys1

To figure out whether we should choose the functionality of the light solution or the motor-based solution as the approach to developing the Agenda blocks concept, we chose to build working prototypes of both solutions.

After having build them we chose to progress with the motor-based solution, mainly due to the minimum height of the light-controlled solution being too high to fit into the intended application space.

After a lot of exploration of the form and the material composition of the tower, the blocks, the case and the tower base, we ended up with a quadrangular tower and appertaining blocks and a tower base and case that would interlock by a matching notch. All components were 3D-printed to reduce sliding friction and weight.

Tempus

An interactive physical time managing tool for meetings.

Through visualization and creating awareness of time, it is designed to assist in improving productivity and reducing the possibility of meetings running over time.

Block

Tower

Tower base

Case

Blocks are the primary interactive elements of Tempus. By placing blocks onto towers, the users create a physical rendition of the time assigned to a given topic. A single block corresponds to a set period of time, e.g two minutes per block.

The main purpose of the towers is to hold the blocks once they have been assigned to a topic. The narrowed bottom of the towers allows the bottom block to be removed, while keeping the remaining blocks in place. Towers can be used to represent a single agenda topic, or a subdivision of a topic if necessary.

Tower bases are fitted with magnets to easily connect with other tower bases and to ensure correct placement in relation to the case.

The case contains all the electrical and mechanical parts of Tempus. Once activated, a rack, connected to a pinion and motor, will extend through an opening in the case, pushing the bottom block of the linked tower, every time a round of the preset time elapses.

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