6 May 2009

User-centred approach drives the design of Intel’s new home storage solution

Be the first to share

Home storage architecture
In December last year, Intel design researcher Daria Loi made a very strong presentation at the UPA Europe conference showing how people in different cultures “keep, protect and find what they value”.

She and others in her team actually went into the homes of people around the world to see how they store both physical and digital things, in order to use their insights of people’s mental model on storage in the development of better digital storage solutions.

(The presentation is not online but can be requested by contacting surrealist.milliner@gmail.com.)

After all, we don’t store things like computers do. But what is a human-centred storage model and how to implement that in a digital storage system?

Now Intel has published two extensive and highly recommendable articles, co-written by Frank Hady, director of network storage pathfinding, and Michael Payne, director of experience definition and assessment, describing in detail how these insights of the design research have been taken forward.

Taken as a whole, they provide an excellent case study of the relevance of a user-centred approach in the design of new and innovative technology-based products and services.

The first article, “Why We Need Whole Home Storage Architecture“, describes the insights of the design research:

“Our findings indicate clear gaps in the ability of current products to simply and intuitively help people to protect, share and access media that is of value to them. […] This article presents an overview of what Intel’s consumer research tells us about home storage trends – and how whole home storage architecture can help fill the gaps.”

Five key insights came out of the design research:

  • People acquire digital media from many places with many different devices, and although people around the world share high-level objectives, including the desire to find and create digital media, protect and store it, easily find and access it, and ultimately enjoy and share it, there are also many differences to be taken into account.
     
  • The volume of digital media is growing rapidly, and it is clear that the continuing growth in the volume of media in coming years will be a huge problem for people worldwide, if comprehensive solutions are not made available.
     
  • Disjointed ‘islands’ of digital media stored on multiple devices make access difficult. As time passes and the media library and number of devices continue to expand, managing the entire media collection across these islands of storage can become an overwhelming problem.
     
  • People are concerned about the safety of their media. Yet many people do not back up, or if they do, they will often use failure-prone disks and platforms with limited lifetimes.
     
  • Today’s solutions have significant limitations. Many consumers report being overwhelmed by the task of managing their digital media collections and finding a storage solution that is reliable, trusted and easy to use

In response to these learnings, Intel sets out a vision: “We envision a whole home storage architecture that will bring the familiar, local storage experience to all the data and media in the home.”

This vision is then articulated in three key requirements: easy accessibility, data permanence, and fast performance, which are in turn given shape in a concept prototype.

Intel’s prototype solution for Whole Home Storage is described in the second article, “A Consumer’s Eye View of Whole Home Storage“.

Based on the user research and a number of usage scenarios — related to viewing and editing photos, storing and viewing videos, listening and sharing music, and whole home media backup — Intel created four value propositions that the prototype solution should cover:

  • It should be simple to set up and use
  • It should accommodate multiple user interfaces
  • It should provide personalization – and parental controls
  • It should preserve the essential magic of TV

The prototype Whole Home Storage solution, which seems to be mainly focused still on a unified directory structure, which is accessible by networked devices anywhere in the home, has been deployed in eight homes to allow early exploration of user experiences. The article describes the benefits and challenges faced by users, and concludes:

“It is clear from our experiences with the Whole Home Storage prototype that the solution has great promise, and people find interesting ways to use the capability. It is also clear that improvements in ease of use, especially during setup, would be required in a productized version.”

Be the first to share
1 May 2016
Report: User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems
User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems Final Report 1/2015 FIMECC (Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster) November 2015, 225 pages Five years ago, some of Finland’s metals and engineering industry companies were looking for new ways to tackle …
30 April 2016
Security versus UX
Gwendolyn Betts explores how to reconcile one of the biggest challenges in interface design: security versus user experience. Betts writes that it is not uncommon for security measures to be tacked on at the end as …
21 April 2016
The product design of IoT
As more and more ‘Internet of Things’ products come into the market, most, if not all will come with significant challenges. The key to overcoming any obstacles, writes Joe Johnston, VP Experience Innovation for Universal …
19 April 2016
Co-creating policy and public services in Ireland
Governments, public sector and community organisations are addressing increasingly complex challenges such as the ageing society, climate change, sustainable behaviour change, youth unemployment, impacts of austerity, health, housing and homelessness. They are doing this at a …
14 April 2016
Anthropology is not only undersold, it’s misunderstood
Dr. John Sherry, Director of Business Innovation Research at Intel, says in an long profile on Epicpeople that anthropology is not only undersold, but also misunderstood: People too often talk about ethnography as a tool for …
8 April 2016
Markus Giesler on customer experience design
At Experientia, we live the mantra that experience design is always contextual experience design. Understanding and designing for people within a culture, a context and how people evolve and change within these, is at the …
8 April 2016
Welcome to the ‘unstore’ of the future: retailers go experiential
As technology enables ad blocking online and ad skipping on TV, marketers are increasingly searching for ways to better engage consumers in person, Adrianne Pasquarelli explains. As consumers get more comfortable with e-commerce, marketers are …
8 April 2016
On the need for ethnography in user experience design
Michael Thomas of Ford Motor Company argues in a thoughtful personal piece that User Experience design is greatly enhanced by establishing classical ethnographic methods as foundational for defining the domain of design intervention. How can UX …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

See all articles