A proposal to a futuristic product called the Solar Stove, which is a small, compactable, easy to use alternative to the current portable stoves. The goal is to improve the users’ experiences, mainly campers, with portable stoves and to preserve the environment simultaneously. The project includes designing the interface of the solar stove and a poster to promote the product. This project was done in collaboration with Jade Zuspan.
The Solar Stove will be made using solar cells in a thin matt-like form. The slender, flexible form will allow for easy storage and help prevent breakage. There will be a touch screen control panel on the bottom left corner, which will enable its users to control the heat on each burner. The harvested energy will be used to heat the stove burner(s) and to power the control panel.
The flow chart shows the preliminary concept of the navigation system. The rough wireframes indicate the key screens: Burners, Temperature, Timer, and Settings.
Different visual approaches to the interface were studied. An inVision prototype was created (for iPhones) to test each set of screens and changes were applied according to the results of the usability analysis tests. After testing the first draft of the interface on a group of people, we were able to indicate the ease at which users can navigative the interface. Changes were made to problematic features such as emphasizing the priority of turning the burner on and then setting the temperature, in addition to how to delete the timer.
The first set of screens was designed without a color scheme to focus on enhancing the technical features of the interface. The second set of screens included a color scheme which seemed afterwards quite incoherent, and was then changed to fit better with the environmental principle of the solar stove.
Another round of usability analysis tests was made and consequently additional changes were applied. The final navigation is as follows:
Setting the Tempearture
Tap on the burner to be turned on. The chosen burner is filled in the “burners” icon at the bottom (back-left burner in this case). Tap on the degrees tab and type in 350 and save. The solar stove is now turned on and set to 350˚F. The solar stove supports international users in which the temperature can be converted to ˚C.
Setting the Timer
Tap on the burner to set the timer to. Type in the number of minutes and then save. The timer will automatically be turned on. The user has the option to set an autotimer in which the solar stove will automatically indicate the necessary amount of time needed.
Adjusting the Settings
"Heat Settings" indicate the weather forecast and conditions of the current location. The user can check the solar power of current location or of any other location in the world. The user can also check the solar energy history in order to keep track of previous uses of the solar stove.
Usability Analysis Tests
The following examples show some problematic features that were fixed throughout the process. Users were confused how to convert from ˚F and ˚C, and didn't comprehend that "˚C/˚F" is a button. It was changed it to a button that looks more familiar to users.
The bottom tab was unnecessary when typing in the temperature, so it was removed in order to create more space in the layout. In addition, the numbers keyboard seemed unorganized and was changed to a more convinient structure. The shape of the buttons was also simplified.
The above proposal of the Solar Stove meets the minimum expectations of users. Some features could be implemented in the interface to enhance the user experience, such as introducing social netwroking. This feature will allow all solar stove users to be able to connect with each other, which is in line with the international aspect of the solar stove. Users will be able to share thoughts and experiences with each other, and eventually they will have easy access to recipes of food from different cultures.