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What to wear

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 An investigation into mobile app support for wardrobe management.

Awarded Best Final Year Project by the School of Computing & Communications at Lancaster University.


A common problem for many people is having plenty of clothes, but ‘nothing to wear’. This project focused on creating a prototype smartphone application to improve the user’s interaction with the contents of their wardrobe and help them to make a decision on what to wear.

The target audience for the project was female smartphone owners between the ages of 18-24. As this project took a user-centered design approach, potential users were involved throughout the process. Various techniques were utilised to gather quantitative and qualitative responses in order to measure the success of the prototype from inception to completion.

Summary


  • Existing systems

  • Questionnaire

  • Scenarios of use

  • Wireframes & heuristic evaluations

  • Walkthroughs

  • Cognitive walkthroughs

Preliminary research & design

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First iteration

Prototype

The first prototype was based on the original concept, which had been further shaped by the research carried out before the design stage.

The prototype was built using Java, and features such as colour were intentionally left as the Android default for components in order to encourage participants to express their opinions in the feedback sessions.

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Feedback gathering

To refine the prototype, user feedback was gathered so that the second iteration would be more suited to the user’s wants and needs.

  • Outfit Diaries
    These were used as a way of highlighting any disparity between what the participants thought they needed in the app, and what they actually needed.

  • Reaction cards
    These cards were a rapid way of receiving qualitative user feedback in a way that would be easy for participants.


Second iteration

Prototype

Based on user feedback, the second iteration focused on improving the hierarchy and visualisation of information being displayed to the user.

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Feedback gathering

To measure the success of the second prototype user feedback was gathered.

  • NASA-TLX
    These tests were a quantitative way to measure the workload required for a task by participants.

  • Focus group
    An informal focus group was then held, to discuss the qualitative responses to the What to Wear app. This Was done to gather opinions that could not be expressed through the NASA-TLX tests.


Conclusion

The final product is an app that helps the user decide what to wear each day based on the occasion and what is clean in their wardrobe.

Carrying out this project from a user-centered design perspective has been successful and insightful. By having members of the target audience as a consistent source of inspiration and feedback, the app produced is one that is well tailored to the requirements and desires of the target audience. Some of the features that increased its usefulness and uniqueness would not have been envisaged without their participation.