A project designed by Diana Mundó for the multimodal designer interview at Amazon.
"Design a multi-modal service of your choosing, which is driven by voice, but also uses visual and touch interaction to add value. The service should be frequently accessed and useful to many, delivering clear benefit to the user. It is important that your design is sufficiently detailed – that means, the exact complete end-to-end voice interactions/conversations between Alexa and the user need to be described in detail, including unhappy paths as well.
Note: It is better to design only a few use-cases in detail rather than a broad variety of use-cases only superficially. Reading up on Voice User Interface (VUI) design methods will help you prepare for this exercise."
"Research" because with such limited time, I used myself as the user.
I’m a creative person and I love making things, be it paper flowers, amigurumi, voice skills, Arduino-powered devices, or simply colouring a book. But sometimes it can be very difficult to decide what to do. This is really frustrating! I’ve had all these ideas throughout the week and now I’m doing the same thing I do everyday, nothing new, same old. And I’m not alone in this. Most of my friends (designers or not) struggle with the same situation on a regular basis.
I try to write my ideas down, as much as I can, but my system is quite disorganised. I even grouped the way I record my ideas in terms of frequency of use of the tool.
Frequency of tools I use to record my ideas
Ideas are an awesome thing. I come up with ideas all the time and some of them are truly amazing! They come at any time, while walking around, in the shower, eating, in the middle of the night, watching tv; and in any form, paper crafts, painting, apps, IoT devices…
I have so many ideas on a regular basis and still, I don’t get to do “the things” I come up with. But why?
I had a look at the list of reasons why I don’t really do all the ideas that I come up with:
Sometimes, I have an idea for months or years and do nothing about it. Suddenly one day, I decide it’s the time to do it! But why?
What’s the trigger? I wondered. And I realised it can be anything:
With all these ideas in mind, I decided that it was time to use that creativity to get me doing all those new projects.
First things first.
We all have that friend who’s always doing something new and different and it seems like her day has at least 10 hours more than ours. She does so many things! How do they do it?
There are hundreds of articles about productivity but I’ve summarised my favourite tips and tricks here:
With the productivity tips in mind, it was time to look at my process.
I asked myself: how do I work whenever I’m doing a personal project? I realised that I follow a very similar approach as I do with any other design challenge: define the problem, gather requirements, generate ideas, define a solution, and do it!
While this process seems obvious for designers, I recognised that it might not be obvious for people with different backgrounds. So I figured that it was a good idea to write it down and assess what are the tools I use the most at each stage.
Design process applied to personal projects and tools used at each stage
Once I was happy with the process, I had to figure out how to make these tasks part of my everyday life.
As most people, I have activities I like to do when I’m not at work, so finding time to squeeze in a personal project can be difficult. In my life, I want to have time to sleep, work, run, do my activities (archery, crafts, any other personal project) and, call me crazy, but I also like to just relax regularly. So, in order to understand where and how I can fit a personal project, I took a look at my daily routine and the devices I interact with at each point of the day.
On a regular weekday I spend most of my time at work so I mainly interact with my phone and laptop.
Routine and interaction with devices on a weekday
During the weekend, it’s a very different story. I spend much more time at home and therefore I interact more with Alexa and less with the other devices (although the phone remains a strong competitor).
Routine and interaction with devices during the weekend
This is how, after a few hours (and many post it notes) of analysing my behaviour, the triggers and tricks to get things done, my design approach, and my day-to-day routine, The Ideator was born.
The Ideator is a companion that will help you get through your personal projects and make them come true! If you feel like you have too many ideas, active projects, or you’re not sure how to move forward in your current project, The Ideator will help you sort through your thoughts and organise them into tasks and actions you can achieve in the time you have.
The Ideator will keep you motivated in an upbeat and fun way, and it will encourage you to give your best on your personal projects.
Everyone! Well, everyone who has personal projects or ideas they want to make. Whether it is product or a skill you want to add to your life, The Ideator will guide you through a sustainable process to help you achieve your goals.
First and foremost, you create your project. Do you want to make a paper flower bouquet? Or maybe you want to develope a skill to solve your shopping lists problem? Whatever it is, you can create it, and you can do it from any device.
Scenario of the happy path to create a project after being reminded of a task and marking it "Completed"
Came up with an idea in the shower? No problem! Just shout: “Alexa, ask The Ideator to add red dahlias to my paper flowers project”. Found an awesome article about voice-powered shopping lists while on the bus? Open the app and add it your project. Just like that!
The key to maintaining productivity is to have a clear plan of the steps you need to follow to move forward with your project. The Ideator will help you in the process of breaking down your projects into small tasks that you can squeeze into your busy life. It will help you keep track of the tasks in progress and will guide you to not put too much on your plate. You can add the time it’ll take you to complete a task and The Ideator will create an estimate of the time you’ll take to finish the project.
With The Ideator you can keep track of the articles and information you find on specific projects. Simply add it to your reading list. As the good companion that it is, it’ll find similar articles and podcasts to help you in your journey. Also, if you draw a great idea on a napkin, or find anything interesting in a museum, you can take a picture or a video and add it to your project using the app.
With the daily updates in your flash briefing, you will always know what you need to do next, what podcasts or articles have been recommended to you or what ideas you’ve had abandoned for a long time. And by the end of the week, you’ll know exactly how much progress you’ve made when you receive your weekly report.
Scenario of the Flash Briefing leading to an interaction with the main skill
As The Ideator gets smarter, it will help you create new tasks for projects and remind you of your to-dos based on your calendar and your location.
It’s all you need to manage your personal projects, in one place!
When you're ready to create a project, just say the word and The Ideator will be ready to help.
As simple as this.
The Ideator is optimised to work on all your devices, including the Echo show.
The Ideator has been designed to listen to you and understand you in the way you choose to speak. Different utterances are added all the time to ensure you get what you need.
The Ideator will always try to help you and improve, even when an error occurs.
Finally, with the companion Flash Briefing skill, The Ideator will remind you about your pending tasks and notifications as part of your daily routine.
Wow, you made it this far!
Thank you for reading!