Steve Glynn, user experience (UX) and research lead at Timex, visited Eastern Connecticut State University this past November to hear from students in the Human Computer Interaction and Design (HCID) course about the design of Timex’s new fitness wristband. Students were lent the IRONMAN Move X20 Activity Band at the beginning of the fall semester so they could perform industry standard usability evaluations. Glynn came to hear of their findings.
With a “user-centric” approach in mind, students conducted various studies and heuristic evaluations — evaluations conducted with an understanding of design principles. “Good understandings of user context and experience are invaluable, as they are strong indicators of how technology is adopted by people,” said Business Administration Professor Sukeshini Grandhi, developer of the HCID course. “Such understandings combined with creative thinking ultimately lead to a functional and usable design of technology.”
The wristband has a number of functions, from tracking sleep patterns to telling the weather, and the students tested all of them while putting it through different user scenarios. Students found positives in the design, including aesthetics and simplicity of certain features, as well as several hard-to-use features. “After putting together evaluation reports and presenting them to Mr. Glynn, students found that Timex was in agreement with much of their findings,” said Grandhi. “It was a validation of their work.”
“It was a pleasure to meet the class and see how the relationship between Timex and Eastern was employed to teach the fundamentals of UX research and design,” said Glynn. “It was great to see the students’ results. My management is excited about continuing this relationship.”
The HCID course explores how humans interact with computer systems, and offers students in the Business Administration Department practical experience in evaluating existing designs, from microwaves to remote controls and other software applications. “When choosing a new technology device, you need to understand quality design in order to make wise choices,” said Grandhi. The course is not geared just toward technical students, but to all students in the major, as the principles of product usability and design are important for leaders of business to know.