ATELIER DE PASCAL

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” —Leonardo da Vinci
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Cair
A streamlined system to manage indoor air quality.



Introducing Cair:

Enjoy your undisturbed sleep.







Process

Modern technology exploration.



Using an automation chip, this indoor air quality monitoring device can automatically sync to a user’s existing smart air control devices with smart connectivity technology.
Devices could include purifiers, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers. To access air quality information on-the-go, users can use the mobile app on a tablet or phone as well as sync new devices.







Problem-Seeking

What is the ideal air quality monitoring experience?


Competitive analysis research revealed that air quality monitors on the market do a good job at informing people about the quality of the air in their environments, but they stop there. In my research I wanted to answer the question: What is the ideal air quality monitoring experience?    
Existing air quality monitors only focus on air quality awareness, leaving the user to manually control the air by using air purifiers, humidifiers, changing filters, and adjusting their thermostats manually.







User Interviews

Identifying painpoints.


According to the American Lung Association, indoor air quality (IAQ) is more polluted than outdoor air and 1 in 4 Americans spend 21-24 hours indoors on a daily basis. People with respiratory illnesses such as asthma are most affected by poor indoor air quality.
I conducted user interviews to understand how this group currently manages indoor air.From these interviews and observational research, I saw an opportunity to imform users about their air quality, while also helping them improve it.









Development

Crafting a clear user journey and visual language.


I turned to my target user group to better understand their ideal air quality control experience. From this process, I identified key features people wanted which included an easier way to get AQI data when they’re away from home, setting alerts and timers when they’re sleeping, and the ability to track their AQI improvements over time.
From this feedback, I brainstormed potential solutions and came up with the concept for an air quality control system. This concept introduces an app for my target users that works seamlessly with a AQ monitoring device. This device could live on their night stands, living rooms, etc.








User Testing

Validating the design with users and use-cases.


To help validate my design before polishing the app to its final stage, I conducted two rounds of testing with studiomates and my target users who I interviewed. Initial feedback included incorporating a lighter color pallete and a bold typeface. Users asked for a more seamless UI with animations instead of static pages.

Finally, users felt a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information displayed on each page, so I had to figure out a way to present AQI information more clearl and leverage the use of iconography.








Learnings

Final design & SXSW experience.


From user testing sessions and feedback from my studio professors, I gained great insights on ways to further refine my initial wireframes and moved on to the final design phase. As I made these refinements, I tried to develop a consistent visual language that moved seamlessly from the mobile app’s UI to the monitor’s display.
This project challenged me to think about the user experience in a digital (app) and physical environment (monitoring device). Next steps include exploring automation technology and using this to create a higher fidelity prototype of the monitor for additional tests and to validate this concept with users.





Credits
Instructors: Min Kang, Adam Wells, Jeff Feng
Project: Modern Technology Exploration, F21
Year: 2021
Location: University of Houston College of Architecture & Design
[Research Sources]
How the World Works: Breathable Air and Respiratory Health, 2018, p.38
Research Advisor: Brandi Harris | Read the journal
American Lung Association, State of The Air Report | Read the report


[Photography]
SXSW Photos: George Chow
Austin, Texas

[Special thanks]
A huge thank you to Anne-Elisabeth, Dalia and my studiomates who helped me bring this idea to life!︎