iRobot's Defense & Security division (now Endeavor Robotics) requested a complete overhaul and unified digital platform solution for their Defense & Security product line of robots, ranging from 25 to 500 lbs, all with varying capabilities and attachments. iRobot’s robots are deployed worldwide, and their uses range from reconnaissance work, reading radiation levels in nuclear power plants, to bomb-disposal duties at home and abroad. They previously had been operated by various handheld gaming joysticks connected to ruggedized laptops, not only creating constraints of a tethered and restricted environment, but also serving up different product operating systems, thereby increasing the learning curve of the operators.
Our goals were to align the suite of robot operating systems to be housed under one touch interface tablet-based controller, thereby:
• Lowering the barrier to operation across products
• Reducing FSE (Field Service Engineers) client training time
• Allowing users to become empowered operators
• Becoming best in class user experience for digital robot controls
This project started with extensive user experience research and information gathering period, stakeholder & contextual interviews, user analysis, persona development, and competitive analysis. I co-lead alongside another UX designer who headed up the user research, information architecture, and modularized framework, while I drove the interaction patterns, branding, and visual design system. Over the span of several weeks, we conducted field studies and user interviews to collect feedback from both FSE's and customers directly. Once we understood the users, their painpoints, and example use cases, we tested out an intial proof of concept before progressing into the detailed design phase.
Challenges included everything from the need to design a both adaptable and scalable UI based on the model of robot connected, to limited screen real estate for localization of text areas, to creating ethnographic-friendly iconography system.
The app was first to market amongst their competition with a tablet controller in the robotics & defense industry. This was the company's # 1 priority at the time, and we had the backing of the SVP/GM calling it a "game changer" for the company.
Due to the client's positive reaction to our work and gaining green light approval on the Proof of Concept, our original 12-week engagement received a 14 month extension for the full design and build, which was an additional $1M work.
Company: Mobiquity | Client: iRobot
Role: Lead Designer, User Research, Interaction & Visual Design
Date: April 2015