As the world becomes more and more used to having products that will answer their every need, it is becoming increasingly important for products to have a user-centered design. Aside from allowing organizations to keep up with the rapidly changing times, such a design can also spell a myriad of benefits. As highlighted in one of our previous posts ‘User-Centered Design: Process And Benefits’, a user centered design can help avoid common mistakes, lessen the likelihood of failure, cut costs and, most importantly, bring brands closer to their users through an intuitive, minimalist and straightforward design.
Testing and Improving UX
A book authored by Pedro Antunes from the Victoria University of Wellington also mentioned that a user-centered design can open up avenues for evaluation with real users, make way for more productive systems, reduce risks through added contact with users, improve flexibility dealing with various stakeholders and allow developers to effortlessly revisit user demands and requirements. Of course, in order to achieve these benefits, the first thing developers have to do is to work on their current design.
Thankfully, you can test and improve your product’s UX through the use of Arduino, an open-source electronics platform for prototyping electronics. Arduino boards are known for being great platforms for new devices, as they include plenty of I/O pins, a MHz speed oscillator, dedicated power, and USB connectivity. Arduino schematics are often recommended for those just getting started with electronic design through building their first circuit boards. Many have also used Arduino to test and improve UX.
A great example of a project that’s utilizing Arduino is Zakhar the Robot. The main goal of the project was to develop a program that would decrease the anxiety users feel when interacting with robots. To do this, the developers would split the program into three parts: conscious, unconscious and reflexes. The robot’s programs would also be created in such a way that it mimics that of an animal, in the hopes that it will evoke some sense of familiarity and calm from humans. Zakhar’s sensors, face-module and platform will all be Arduino-based.
For those of you who are interested in tinkering with Arduino, Steve Ruiz mentioned that the process could be pretty straightforward. All you have to do is connect an Arduino board to a breadboard, plug in some components (such as inputs, sensors, lights, and display) and, finally, write a code that will control their interactions. With how easy it is to set up Arduino boards, it isn’t surprising that this platform is especially popular for those who are prototyping web-connected hardware — an emergent field of design.
Arduino boards come in many different models. At the moment there are five entry level boards: Uno, Nano, Leonardo, Micro and Nano Every, which are perfect for creative products. To make things even better, these boards come with a Starter Kit book, which has 15 tutorials that will walk you through the basics up to complex projects. Of course, aside from the entry-level products, there are also other kinds of boards that can deliver advanced functionalities, have faster performance, connect with the web and allow students to have a more hands-on, innovative learning experience.