Milestone 6: Hi-Fi Prototype


Hi-Fi Prototype: An original, full-scale, and usually working model of a new product or new version of an existing product. (



During Milestone 5 our team developed a basis for future testing of user experience without building an actual product. Our goals were to test three different user responses: emotional, logical, and active.

We have since completed a one week journaling study, where we emailed participants transit notifications based on each participant's anticipated schedule for the week. We then had each participant blog about his or her experience with the notifications. For example, participant X sent us her schedule for the week, complete with addresses, times, and planned modes of transit. We researched information pertaining to her particular trips (e.g. alternative routes, nearby businesses, bus times, weather data, cost savings, etc.) and sent email notifications to her at some point before each trip. Each day we sent her a blog prompt and asked her to respond to the prompt as well as talk about the notifications we sent her.

After the completion of the study, we analyzed all of the participants' blog entries, looking for themes in notification information and presentation, savings tracking and comparison, and community building. From here the team began piecing together a hi-fi prototype based on the analysis of the study participants.

At our protoyping session, we re-developed a list of features (e.g. motivational information, sharing/comparing savings, real-time traffic/weather information, etc.) and design ideas (e.g. subtle notifications, prominently displayed route mapping, etc.) gathered from our blog analysis. We then went to work in pairs, using Adobe Illustrator to create a simple representation of our product interface.



Instead of directly moving to a hi-fi prototype from our lo-fi prototypes and scenarios, we decided to conduct a user experience study in order to both determine if our understanding of the desired user experience was correct, and to further enhance that experience by bolstering our product with supporting user response data. This proved to be beneficial in two ways: 1) we knew our previous research was accurate because our participants were excited about the product, its capabilities, and its potentials and 2) we were able to glean off a number of useful design ideas as well as effective feature representations.



Journal Study

Below are the themes we discovered in our analysis of the blog entries from our journal study:
Notification Information and Presentation
    notification frequency
  • Majority of users wanted to be able to access notifications on-demand. The ability to choose when our program notifies a user resonated as an important control.

  • useful notification information
  • Users wanted useful information to plan trips (i.e. directions, routes and schedules, live data, nuances of public transit, etc.).
  • Users also thought that these notifications could help newcomers to public transit.

  • motivation for change
  • Users desired easily understood, but compelling information in order to help them break habits and make changes to their transit decisions.
  • Users liked being reminded of the "green way" of doing things. Solid cost/benefit comparisions were key to invoking this feeling of helping the environment.

  • mobile needs
  • Users responded with very little interest or enthusiasm to mobile capabilities. While our team initially thought this would be the most sought after feature, users did not express this.
  • One user mentioned the desire to have an easily accessible and simple txt-based route finder for a mobile phone.

  • miscellaneous
  • Users found the factoids interesting and fun.
  • Users felt that quantifying small trips by displaying savings helped to justify change. As one user stated about how quantifying information keeps people honest: "I can't put 'I'll drive less' into a donation box."

  • notification pitfalls
  • Users found pop-ups disturbing and annoying.
  • Users felt that they would tune out unwanted or unnecessary pop-ups.
  • Users were frustrated when they received "pie-in-the-sky" notifications about transit options. They wanted information that was realistic and useable.
  • Users wanted the notifications to be personalized and sent at unexpected times. They felt that boring notifications sent at standard intervals were often easily ignored (think word-of-the-day emails).
Tracking and Comparing Savings Progress
    what to track
  • Users were in consensus that carbon emissions were a key item to track. This allows them to quantify their harm to the environment. [as a side note, users wanted to see this quantified in terms of the number of trees saved, however, this is scientifically incorrect as trees absorb CO2 for nourishment purposes]
  • Users also wanted to track calorie savings, however one user raised concern about self esteem issues due to weight awareness.
  • Users did not find the financial cost savings very influential due to a myriad number of latent/trade-offs costs, which were not accounted for in the notifications, but of which the users were aware.

  • with whom to compare
  • Users were more inclined to share/compare savings within larger groups (work offices, communities, etc.), especially with respect to a global goal such as "saving the world."
  • Few users mentioned comparing or competing with individuals such as friends or random site users.

Social Aspects
    social experiences
  • Most users tended to report feeling shy with respect to speaking with other transit users. However, when they did speak with other transit users their experiences were positive overall.
  • Users consistently reported being more comfortable with strangers on an airplane as opposed to public transit. One hypothesis is that this is associated with a fear of flying. We hypothesize that there is an incentive to remain cordial because of the constraints of air travel (enclosed space, assigned seats, 30,000 feet in the air, etc.).
  • One user mentioned the desire to commute with people of the same social or peer group, which would add value to transit options such as car/vanpools or even bus/air travel.
  • Users also brought up the idea that notifications and savings comparisons could be a topic of social gatherings taking place outside the context of transit.

  • design implications
  • Community building may best be accomplished on longer and more consistent transit routes.
  • Should our product move towards creating profiles for user communities or should our product extract profile data from other sites such as Facebook?
  • Users want the ability to organize social happenings on their commute and add notes to route maps or discussion boards indicating system nuances and route ratings.

Mid-fi Prototype

These themes and findings were worked into the creation of a mid-fi prototype. Here are some screenshots of the prototype:


Next Steps

Our next step is to re-use the story boards we created in Milestone 4, but combine these with further interview questions about our product. We are showing users the story boards and asking them if they could identify with the story. We are also asking the interviewees how they feel about the stories and what might compell them to make transit changes. We end the interviews asking about specific features such as tracking and comparing savings and community building through discussion forums.

Once our interviewing process is complete we should have an interactive hi-fi prototype that outlines our basic features and system designs. This will carry our team into the final presentation for the course, but we do not plan to stop there. The comments and recommendations we receive through our final presentation and evaluation will be analyzed and incorporated into the paper we submit to the CHI student competition in January.