Project 02
The Smart Home driven app built to assist the hard of hearing with day to day life.
Over 5% percent of the world's population suffer from hearing loss, which is approximately 466 million people. Hearing loss ranges in severity, and often impacts communication in social situations. There have been various efforts to improve this type of communication, but what improvements have been made for those who struggle at home? When these individuals live alone?
obi monitors your surroundings and recognizes various sounds throughout your home. obi does the "hearing" for you and sends you an alert when various sounds are detected. The app also connects with Smart Home devices, so that your entire home is connected to your phone.
Initial research involved putting myself in our users shoes. What does a deaf person think, feel, do, and say? What struggles do they endure? How can technology help improve their lives? These are the questions I asked myself when figuring out what to focus on.
My initial idea was for an app that recognizes sounds and sends an alert to the user. Sweet and simple. My goal from the beginning was to keep the app utilitarian and minimal. I wasn't trying to cure this disability, but trying to help make life a little bit easier. I explored how sound would be visualized, and how notifications would be displayed for the user.
usability testing
There were many variations of designs that went through user testing. In version 1, users didn't know what the graphic at the bottom represented and thought it was too distracting. In version 2, the variation of colors were too confusing for users to understand.
version 1
version 2
final version
When obi detects a sound, you get a notification saying something was heard nearby. Notifications come from the bottom for easier reachability.
smart home
obi also connects to Smart Home devices like the Google Home Mini so that you're not just limited to your phone's range. Add a device in your kitchen, in your laundry room, or wherever you want! obi is connected to them all.
personalized colors
The varying colors are unique to where the sound originates from. Notifications from the phone itself are defaulted to blue. Smart Device notifications have customizable colors so that users can personalize them to their own home. For instance, you may have a Logitech camera in your backyard and give that the color green. Or have silver for the kitchen to match your appliances.
customize your sounds
When prompted with a new sound, an edit icon is shown so that users can customize it. The next screen shows where the sound was heard and gives a suggestion of what it may be. Users can go ahead and select that or choose one from a dropdown list.
adding a smart home device
When adding a Smart Home Device, users are temporarily taken out of the app in order to select the device from the appropriate manufacturer. Once back in obi, they are able to select the color for that device and where in their home it's located.
obi in action
In order to show the full potential of obi, I wanted to put viewers into the shoes of someone who would use the app, so you can better understand how it would would be integrated in someone's life.