Verve

Verve is the google glass application that is designed
exclusively for the network administrators working in data centers.

About the project

CLIENT
MOXTREME CORP.

PROJECT
VERVE

YEAR
2015

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My Role

I was the UI/UX designer for the project, I was responsible for the overall UX design, wireframing, UI design, and prototyping.

Project Summary

The wearable electronic technology market is one of the fastest and innovative market spaces of today’s generation. Verve is the google glass application that is designed exclusively for the network administrators working in data centers to provide complete and comprehensive data of the servers.

Verve is used for monitoring and network performance. The major goal of the application is hands-free usability and increases the efficiency of the administrators. Verve collects basic system performance statistics over time and stores the data it collects in multiple formats. The view of this data is done on Google Glass.

Verve has a scanner that scans the specific barcode on the server blade and displays the information of the specific blade on the Google Glass. The network administrator is supposed to place the google glass on the spectacles and its mounted right in front of the eye. It displays the information just like that of any smartphone but in a hands-free format and is operated based on voice commands.

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The Challenge

Google glass is a technical revolution of the time but one of the major challenges that come with such products is usability. The major challenge which we face when we start the design is the usability of the glass.

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Google glass is a whole different screen and despite being quite an amazing device to use, but its interface is so radically different from a smartphone or a PC that it requires an investment of time. The whole of the design of google glass applications works fundamentally on the card approach and is completely voice-controlled and gestured controlled hence it takes a lot of time for the users to understand the basic usage of the Google Glass.

Another major problem while designing applications for google glass is the style with which the platform is built it is clunky, geeky, and sticks out like a sore thumb. Other than these another major challenge that is faced while designing applications for google glass is the adaptive design approach that is required to design the apps that work in google glass. Along with these the limited voice commands were another major problem while designing for the google glass, Google Glassworks on the voice commands which are given to it by the user, and these are pre-built in the operating system of google glass. Google Glass has a card-based User interface and the limited screen size is one of the major challenges while designing the application for Google Glass. The gestures that are used by google glass are new to the users to make the users adapt to the overall system is a time taking process.

The Solution

The major need to come up with a solution like verve is the number of servers that are in the data center, to increase the efficiency of the network administrators.

Google Glass is a much easier and convenient way to carry and get information across different servers. While designing for Google Glass we thoroughly went through the guidelines that we specified by Google for designing the user interface for google glass and thus leading to a card-based approach that helped us to achieve the desired results. We utilized most of the interaction that is prescribed by the Google guidelines of the Glass design. Along with the user experience, we used bright colors and used colors and fonts to differentiate between tasks and organizing the information on the screen.

As they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions, our product journey also started similarly, we wanted to come with a solution which can increase the efficiency of the network administrators working in data centers using google glass. More than the traditional mobile scanning devices google glass was a much and convenient device to carry and gather information from different server blades in the data center. While designing for Google Glass we thoroughly went through the guidelines that we specified by Google for designing the user interface for google glass and thus leading to a card-based approach that helped us to achieve the desired results. We utilized most of the interaction that is prescribed by the Google guidelines of the Glass design. Along with the user experience, we used bright colors and used colors and fonts to differentiate between tasks and organizing the information on the screen.

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We started our product design process with the most significant phase that is when we define the product roadmap. Even way before when we started to create the product, We spent a good amount of time understanding how it can help the network engineers in reviewing the server blades and getting an idea about the load and as well as the performance of each server at a glance. In this phase, we spent time in stakeholder interviews where we interviewed a lot of stakeholders to understand the goals of the product.

This is one of the most significant phases of the UX design process and is done at the start before the design process even begins. Before you can create a product, you must understand why it should exist and what purpose it will serve. This is the product definition phase and can define the success of a product. This stage involves brainstorming activities between UX designers and product stakeholders to understand the concept of the product and their insights on the goals of the product. After interviewing the stakeholders we spent a good amount of time in creating the value proposition where we understood about the target audience and is one of the first products in the market space, we took time to conceptualize the product and to draft an early sketch and blueprint of the product we were trying to build. Once these were laid clear we started our project with a kick-off project meeting where we brought all the team’s key members onto one table. At this meeting, a high-level outline of the product’s purpose is showcased, and important team members are identified.

After the product idea is defined in the product definition stage, We proceeded further with the product research, where we started of with the research of the guidelines of the products, here we started with with the individual in-depth interviews with the network engineers, We started with understanding the psychology and gained a deeper understanding of the needs and motivations of the engineers working in the data centers. Once we got a clear idea of what our users were expecting from the product, we did competitive research. It’s during the competitive research approach we learned about various products that are already available and the features that most of the products offered but at the time of the launch we were one of the first companies building products using google Glass. The research phase helped us a lot in identifying the opportunities of the product in the specific market segment we were trying to enter.

After we collected all the information and the data from the research stage, then we started analyzing the data. We gathered insights from the data which we collected from various sources. Then we started building a hypothetical persona for representing different types of users who may use our product in a similar manner. This helped in creating a realistic representation of audience segments for reference. This also helped us in analyzing how our network engineers can interact with the product.

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After data analysis and once were clear about the user expectations, We began working on the design of the product. We followed a collaborative process where we involved all the team members of the product development. We were prepared for an iterative process and continuously evaluated the ideas and assumptions at every stage of the design. We started our design phase by visualizing ideas of the product and how verve will look after completing it. Sketching gave us a lot of scopes to visualize a wide range of design solutions before deciding the idea which we can adopt. When we started wireframing the screens, The wireframes served as a guide that showcased the page structure and important elements of the product. This served as the backbone of the product and as a skeleton before creating the mockups. After wireframing, the next important phase was creating prototypes that were predominantly focused on enhancing user interaction. This helped us in giving both the look and feel of the product. We delivered a clickable wireframe to get the overall idea. After completing the prototyping we started designing the specifications for the development. In the product specifications, we outlined the functionality and style guidelines required for the development of the product. Then we produced the graphical assets required for the development.

Another important phase once we made the design was validating the design. We started validating the design by performing various activities. We started initially with low-cost user testing by testing the product within the product team. this helped us in validating the product without worrying about any excessive expenditure on testing. After testing the product internally we started the user testing. User testing sessions served as a validation of design. We did a usability testing and then we did beta testing of the product. After multiple testing sessions we understood along with the application there were a lot more challenges with the google glass as a device as well. One of them was the heating of the google glass which made the glass tough to use after a certain time.

Conclusion

After the launch of the application, it was initially tough for the network administrators to adapt to the system. Soon after getting used to the device, it increased the efficiency of the users exponentially and with the new geeky devices on top, the eyes the admins could diagnose the systems at a much faster rate than by using the traditional way of diagnosis. We understood that Designing for Glass challenged us to overcome various technological limitations and unusual contextual scenarios. It also paved a path to solve problems and to stay at the edge and understand the technology in a better way.

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