OLED technology ecosystem for moving services
Under the influences of urbanization, increasing global wealth, and changing/emerging markets, mobility is set to change drastically. While the transportation of people and things touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives, moving goods and services is an element that is often taken for granted.
The experience of moving is still using antiquated methods and has yet to see truly innovative changes.
Argo is an device ecosystem based on OLED and electronic paper, technology that will become available in the next five to ten years. Through Argo, we explore what mobility with moving services can become in the near and far future.
Current moving services in the United States are old fashioned, lack fluent communication with users, and often fail to provide hassle-free moving experiences. Because our goal was to envision an ideal experience five-ten years from now, we wanted to integrate technology that would be available then as well. We chose moving companies because the user experience had a high potential and need for technological advancement.
From our initial domain research, we were inspired by electronic paper and interactive displays. OLED is a desirable choice for a wide range of wearables and other mobile products. We looked at many concept products that utilized OLED displays and wondered if OLED devices could be used in tandem, with each separate device functioning differently, but using a centralized database.
If OLEDs could be individually configured and "printed", we could create an entire service ecosystem that seamlessly synced data across all stakeholders.
The Argo ecosystem is a concept for the future of electronic paper - the printer prints out an individually coded "node" into the display material, which transmits and stores all the information. We came up with three artifacts for the Argo system that can be used to support moving companies. We incorporated these artifacts as platforms or tools that addressed the key pain points we found in our research.
Each artifact is a technologically advanced version of what we considered to be the three most important touchpoints in a streamlined moving experience.
What kind of information does the customer want to see? What kind of information do the movers need?
We needed to be conscious of the time users spent worrying about their belongings. Our participants described user involvement with moving companies was "exhausting" and "time-consuming". Our system allowed a range of involvement from hands-off to complete control.
The OLED tablet serves as a central communication and operations device for movers. The data within the system would allow them to input and keep track of inventory, view the customer account, and process payments.
The OLED business card for customers solves many transparency issues that was mentioned in our research. It serves as digitized paperwork, inventory tracking, exact quote generation, and a portal for feedback and reviews.
Exploring how people move is essential to understanding what relationships exist directly and indirectly within the chaotic experience of moving.
We started by characterizing the current state of the space to realize an aspirational future of mobility. Our maketools and survey/interview questions were formulated to help illustrate the emotional journey of users in today's moving service.
We had 42 participants from a wide range of demographics respond to our Mechanical Turk survey. We also created a research tool for users to prioritize specific aspects of looking for a moving service, as well as to map out their level of satisfaction during each stage of the process.
However, we found that each stage had significantly wide intervals between the lowest satisfaction vote and the highest one, so our next step was to figure out the differences in what makes a moving service successful and unsuccessful.
There were clear points in the service that had the lowest satisfaction votes.
Because experiences of moving services varied greatly, we needed to be able to see the big picture. Thus, contextualizing and being able to categorize the feedback we received was key to effectively designing the solution. So, we created a service blueprint and a stakeholder map. These tools helped us understand the greater context of moving services.
We performed competitive analysis, and mapped out every touchpoint of a comprehensive moving service. We used the most popular moving companies as data points.
Our stakeholder diagram illustrates the many players in the moving experience. This helped us scope our solution to mitigating the hassle of managing so many different lines of communication.
We saw that a common theme through our data was the need for clear communication between customer and mover. Transparency was clearly lacking in the moving experience, when there was an obscure back-end system beyond the many pieces of paperwork, and the quote/time estimation was significantly unreliable.
In one case, the customer recieved a time estimation that ranged two weeks for when their belongings would arrive.
We wanted to illustrate to our clients how Argo would work. We first storyboarded each point of interaction, and decided that a video would show how each moving part would function together. While we were not able to gain access to OLED technology, we decided to physically create the artifacts that would be used.
We fabricated the artifacts from our concept art from pieces of wood, and decided to use acrylic sheets to represent the OLED displays.
Our storyboards touched on each point of contact for the Argo ecosystem. We were under a pretty tight deadline schedule, so we had to plan out every shot/location. We designed each interface and animated them in Adobe After Effects.
Our project was chosen out of 6 by Ford to be featured in a FastCoDesign article, which stated that "the insights gleaned from the project could impact the company's future products and investments."
I'm pretty proud of the direction in which we took the vague and lofty prompt we were given. While I had the urge to start thinking about an equally ambitious and lofty concept that illustrated a Minority Report kind of future in transportation, finding an existing problem that was so antiquated provided the perfect infrastructure for futuristic design ideation.
During the course of the project, when we were exploring OLEDs and future technology, I realized that our solution could be scoped way beyond the prompt. I think OLEDs are going to be applicable to so many things, and our ecosystem concept felt much more relevant towards what our clients were looking for.
We began framing our solution as if improving moving service was merely a proof of concept for how Argo could work, but having this ecosystem has so much more potential in any area. Even now, Apple's Handoff system is becoming something I heavily rely on. I have a strong desire to continue exploring the possibilities of multi-device ecosystems for services and tasks.