Enhancing your shower experience
Take an analog object and make it digital
This project was completed for my Interface Design course during my visiting semester at Savannah College of Art and Design. I thoroughly enjoyed this project because I got to complete a design challenge with students from a variety of majors, and we all brought something unique to the table.
The assignment was to take an analog item and redesign it with a digital interface to make the experience more accessible and delightful for the user.
I acted as the lead designer and project manager, and worked with four other designers. The work I present here is my own unless otherwise credited.
GRDS 387 – Interface Design
Savannah College of Art and Design
My team considered a variety of analog objects for this project – ranging from a Pacman plug-and-play to a toaster oven, but we ultimately decided to redesign a standard shower system. We had just started reading Giles Colborne’s Simple and Usable: Mobile, Web and Interactive Design, and I found a quote that inspired my team’s selection:
“You can’t control the environments where people use your software. You have to design it to fit.”
Stepping into a new shower is always a bit of a trial, and it can even be difficult to have a consistently pleasant shower in the comfort of our own homes. A shower is the perfect example of the need for a design that fits the environment. Shower users have to manage water temperature, pressure, and spray patterns, all while having to fight through a stream of water while trying to adjust the settings.
We could all relate to the frustration of trying to operate an unfamiliar shower, and decided we could design a solution that would be more intuitive and enjoyable for our users.
The shower system I am using as a model for this project is comprised of three separate components:
- The bath faucet (to switch from shower spray to faucet)
- The temperature handle (to turn on the shower and control temperature)
- The shower head (to adjust the spray setting with the dial in the head)
This current interface has a few issues. The shower handle is sticky, making it difficult to make minor changes in temperature. Also, the shower head is quite high on the wall, so shorter people or people with physical impairments might not be able to reach it to adjust the spray setting.
My group performed an accessibility study to better understand how users of different abilities may interact with the current shower interface.
My group created one user persona to guide our design process. We all worked together to identify our user’s key needs and motivations, and the graphic below was designed by my teammate, Luthfan.
I began by sketching the current environment and envisioning potential directions for a more unified, user-oriented interface. I knew that I wanted to consolidate the many features of the shower into one core panel or screen for easy access.
We wanted the name of the product to be short and unique, so we looked at different translations for the word “water.” We found the Romanian translation, apă, particularly interesting because of the accent on the second “a.” I worked on a few different logo options and settled on a mark that incorporates a symbol within the “ă” in “apă.”
REFINED SKETCHES + FINAL DESIGN
As a group, we gravitated towards a circular interface because it mimics the shape with which shower users are most accustomed to interacting. The new interface will feature a temperature slider with a physical sliding mechanism on the right of the circle, and a clicking slider on the left that moves through the pressure and spray settings. The center of the interface is a digital screen that displays the current time. The display also supports a timer functionality for environmentally-friendly users who seek to save water.