Make your laundry experience smoother than ever.
Scope & duration: a one-week personal project
Role: UI/UX design from the initial stage of user research to the later visual layout and prototyping.
LaundryBot is a redesigned version of the CalNet laundry system that allows on-campus residents to manage their laundry and check machine availability. The project was completed for the Berkeley Innovation design challenge.
Phase 1: Defining the problem
How might we optimize the laundry experience for college students to maximize efficiency?
- I conducted 15-min interviews with 10 Berkeley undergraduate students.
- All of them use public laundry machines on-site.
- Through our conversations, I tried to understand the following issues:
- what are some of the general concerns during laundry
- what aspects of laundry make the experience problematic
- what are some of the potential drawbacks of laundry machines
KEY INSIGHTS + SYNTHESIS
The common pain points come from time management and concerns about sanitation;
Many interviewees reported that seeing clothes not removed on time was annoying, especially during rush hours;
“I don’t want to take out people’s clothes for them, but if I’ve waited for 5 min and no one comes, I am just gonna do it anyways.”
They also said that having their own clothes removed by other people was “uncomfortable”;
The need to know the vacancy of machines ahead of time was highly desired;
A freshman living in dorm pointed out to me that there was an existing CalNet system for laundry, but she rarely used it because “it’s too complicated to pull out a website on your laptop just to check if there is available machine”;
The experience of laundry doing appeared to be similar across on-campus and off-campus residents who use coin or card-operated laundry room on their premise.
Based on the feedback from interviews, I decided to focus on the transition between different users who share public laundry machines, as it involves both problems of sanitation and time efficiency. Here are the two personas that I created to represent two types of target users:
- college freshman living in one of the on-campus residence halls;
- there is no laundry room on her floor, so she always has to drag her laundry bag either up or downstairs;
she often encounters people who do not take out their clothes on time. She doesn’t want to take out people’s clothes, but is often forced to do so in the end because she could wait no more.
- 2nd year living off campus in a student apartment with public laundry room every other floor
- often forgets to keep track of time when doing laundry, so often forgets to take out his laundry promptly
- for several times, he saw his laundry sitting on top of the machine when he finally remembered to go get them. This makes him a little upset.
pHASE 2: IDEATION
To tackle the transition problem, I brainstormed and had some ideas. Here are some examples:
Laundry tracking mobile application app
Washing machine that dumps out clothes to the basket
Washing machine that elevates the clothes out
“Clothes waiting zone”
Washable laundry bags
In the end, I decided to design a modified mobile app based off the existing CalNet system that allows residents to check online for machine availability and keep track of the laundry cycle. My targeted users are college students living in dorm; in this case, it would be specifically Cal students.
I first looked into the existing system and tried to look for some problems that make students less inclined to use it. Here are several notes that I took down:
Less accessible by students as a website
The tab itself is mixed with a bunch of other different functions and is therefore hard to locate
Not so user-friendly interface
So I decided to set my goals as:
to create a more user-friendly interface on a more accessible platform;
to allow some sort of reminder message communication between users
to help students regulate their laundry cycle.
Here are the major features that I wish to incorporate:
Check machine availability across campus
Reserve machines 5 min ahead
Laundry timer and notification
“Poke”: send a reminder message to the last user of some machine
Other features include:
Load money to Cal 1 Card
See my laundry history
Set periodic laundry reminder
phase 3: prototyping
Here are some issues or places for improvement that were discovered during the first round of usability tests:
Cannot view the current laundry reminder setting
Lack a display screen of what a “Poke” message is like to give a sense of how the button works
Missing the machine type on page “room status”
Cannot view current reservation status and wait queue status
Better if set notification preference on the same page as the timer
Set laundry reminder on “My Laundry” page or “My Account”?
On the page My Machines, the user can
- browse through locations on campus and view machine availability
- make machine reservations for five minutes, sparing a short period of time for them to transit to the laundry room.
After tapping on a specific location, the user can
- directly select a specific machine to reserve
- send a "poke" message to the last user as a reminder if the last person has not come to get his/her laundry
On My Laundry Page, the user can:
- view the timer for his/her current laundry to keep track of time
- change the notification setting for the timer
- set laundry reminder to send a periodic reminding message for doing laundry
On My Account Page, the user can:
- deposit money to their Cal 1 Card which is used for laundry payment;
- manage favorited locations and poke preferences