The All in One Asthma Inhaler

Zachery Eng
Draft · 18 min read

Friday, October 20th
Topic Discussion

On the first day that we worked on our project, we brainstormed as many possible problems that we could solve. To be quite frank, our exploration as a group was quite all over the place. Everything discussed was on the fly thinking. To narrow it down, the focus areas of our seven hour brainstorm discussion went from; Current health diseases, target audiences, contexts area, existing problems with existing solutions, and explorations of smart device objects. After many back and forth discussion between each other, we finally came to a tentative conclusion of having diabetes being the general topic for our project. We tried to explore as much as we could in order to have a solid base of thoughts to think about until we met again. This allowed us to research some more on each others own time without having any barriers. We wanted to still keep the topic exploration very open.

Individual Study

Due to this being the very first meeting, our only objective for the following days was to research.

Monday, October 23rd
Research and Confirming Topic

The main goal for this meeting was to explore our individual research and confirm on a topic. We had explored many many possibilities in our last meeting and decided on a tentative topic of diabetes. However, after a few hours of discussion we collectively decided to scrap the idea of diabetes due to so many innovative solutions already done. Additionally, we wanted something slightly more niched.

Again, it was back to square one for us. However, this time around, because we already had explored so many topics we knew what to narrow down and which general topics had potential. As you can see in the mind map below, we explored possibilities in concussion, firefighters, dementia, heart disease, movement impairment, and asthma. We had eventually decided on confirming our topic with asthma and explored it extensively.

First Critique Notes

  • Very good start to topic thinking and brainstorm
  • Need to narrow down to specific features
  • Smart inhaler idea is very good and has a niche market
  • Need to start thinking about the shape and form of the product (can be very conceptual)

Individual Study

Before we left our study group, we planned what we should have to show for the following meet. For this week, we discussed that we should have some visual representations of what we personally thought the product should look like (conceptual sketches), some style tiles, and name suggestions for the branding of our product.

Thursday, October 26th
User Researching and Visualizing Conceptualizing

Conceptual Sketches of Product

To gain a better understanding of our topic, and to find out if our concepts would actually work, we decided to visit actual individuals that would know more about the problems surrounding asthma — a Clinic. After a small visit and interview with the registered pharmacist that works there, we learned more about the basic function of asthma and how the medication medication actually works. We came into the interview with a new patch like idea to theoretically help prevent asthma similar to nicotine patches. However, we quickly learned from the pharmacist that that may cause more harm than good.

Although we may have lost one of our concept for our product design, another emerged from our study with the clinic representative. Moving forward, we decided to target a key problem that effects inhaler users. There is a huge percentage of asthma patients that are not correctly conducting the breathing technique necessary to inhale the right dosage of medication. Our visit with the pharmacists definitely helped us gain more knowledge about asthma than any other search engine would have given us. Additionally, it was very helpful to see the problems of asthma from a professionals perspective.

Rendered Conceptual Sketches of Product

Individual Study

An overall task for everyone was to come up with branding ideas for our next meeting. Therefore style tiles, colours, font choices, and potential logos. Additionally, if possible any type of 3D models would be a bonus as we would have a better representation to show and view.

Monday, October 30th
Branding and Colour Scheme

With everything coming into place in terms of models, the goal for today was to figure out the branding and colour scheme of our product. We sat down as a group and collectively decided that we wanted the branding to be very playful and inviting. The target audience for the product are kids within the 5–14 age range. Therefore, we wanted to produce a colour scheme that would represent that. Down below, you can view our chosen colour palette that will ultimately be used across all branding.

Most of our time spent on this day was exploration different names / slogans and illustration styles. In order to keep ourselves organized we created an InVision mood board with all our inspirations and final decisions. You can view this at https://projects.invisionapp.com/boards/M93EM35H8Y62W/. The primary logo and body copy types faces have had already been finalized (Core Rhino & BW Modelica), therefore we only had to worry about what the name / slogan would be. Our brainstorm lasted quite a while until a decision to name it “Duo” was made. This name comes from the idea that our product is essentially a 2in1 product. The air chamber implementation and inhaler itself. In addition, exploration of different illustration styles were explored. Luckily, as a group we all wanted similar illustration styles, therefore there was not much discussion regarding it.

3 Dimensional Modeling

Second Critique

  • Product model and form is needs to be re-looked at.
  • Model and form is not “kid like” enough.
  • Product name “duo” is too limiting in terms of usages.
  • Confirmation to work on all advertising methods (Video, web, 3D model, and packaging)

Individual Study

Considering the critique feedback that we got for our work up until now, we had to go back and look into some aspects of our model and branding again. In order to pick ourselves back up after both name and model got shut down, the following week was decided to be completely focused on getting new model ideas and product name based off of our feedback.

Mood board:

Monday, November 6th
Back to Square One

It is back to square one for us. With our original concept and branding shut down the previous week, today was all about rebuilding it. As a group, we all came in prepared with new sketches of potentially new forms for our product. Additionally, we also came with new names that could be used as our product name. Although it was kind of a restart button for us, it was not too difficult to come up with new ideas and quickly agree on them collectively.

The meeting started off by discussing different forms and shapes that we could use as the new base of the product. We still wanted to do something that was round edged and smooth in order to target kids. You can view a quick render of our model down below. During this process, we came up with the idea to create personable skins that the user can use to personalize their new smart inhaler. The skins are based off animals that we thought could be used by either boy or girl.

With our newly revised product pat down and ready to be model, we moved on to looking back at our colour palette. Our original colour palette was going in the right direction, but it was simply too dull. We had not explored any further shades of our colours which limited our potential styling. With this in mind, we recreated our colour palette with slight revamps of our original colours and more shade variety.

Colour Scheme

Now that everything was set in place for us, it was finally time to move onto looking at our marketing deliverables. As of right now, we have taken a look into an animation video explaining the current status of asthma and how our product can change it, all while going through a short animated story. Additionally, we quickly discussed how we want our website to be laid out. In order to tackle our animated video, we needed to brainstorm some different types of personas. Once we had a general idea of what we wanted to show in terms of character, we moved on to planning out our story boards. Following a very simple model;

Problem → Use Case → Solution → Features → Use Cases → Conclusion

We were able to quickly figure out how we wanted to represent each scene of the video. Some of the process behind this can be seen down below.

Just to make sure we were staying on the right track in terms of product trajectory and reasoning, we went through a quick exercise of answering product / business related questions. This simulated a sort of start up environment and really made us think about how we want to represent the product.

Individual Study

For our individual study over the next couple of days, taking a look at different colour combinations that are AA compliant is a task that everyone will do. Aside from that, we all had our own individual tasks to work on. Coming into the next meeting, we are hoping to have low fidelity wireframes for our website, personas, revised 3D model, illustrations, storyboard script, user scenario, and all of the website contents.

Monday, November 13th
User Researching and Visualizing Conceptualizing

Since last week, our model is coming close to completion, showcased below you can view the current variations. The animal skins, in this case a bear, has also been 3D modelled to see a more accurate representation of our “skins” on top of our product itself.

Conceptual Sketches of Product
Crafting and Modeling
Rendered Conceptual Sketches of Product
3 Dimensional Modeling
3 Dimensional Rendering
Branding and Testing Readability

In addition to our 3D model being finalized, we had also discussed some user personas. The user personas help us with our target audience. Often times in the beginning, we would drift off what we had originally planned in terms of target audience, therefore making specific user personas was important. We came up with four different personas that could potentially be using our product. Each persona is created purposely to have different motivations needs, forcing us to critically think about our products functionalities. This also helps us with laying down potential story boards.

User Personas

Script Writing

It did not take us long to find out that the script was one of the most difficult parts of our marketing deliverables. Originally, our script was very long, probably around 2 mins long of reading or maybe even more. None of us had any script writing experience, therefore this was quite challenging. After reviewing our first couple of scripts, we realized that compared to all other animated videos, our scripting was too detailed and too much to read for one short video. We had to shorten it. I guess you could say our second iteration of scripts were much shorter and to the point than our first iterations. However, we still weren’t satisfied and did not feel that it was complete. We struggled with vocabulary and finding proper wording within sentence structures, something we never really think about in traditional writing. With this much struggle, we decided to seek out help from Myles Bartlett, an IXD professor at Sheridan College. With his help, we are hoping to have a close to finalized script by next week.

Monday, November 20th
Critique of With Jamie and Myles (app and script)

The goal for today was to view some initial exploration of wireframes for our mobile application, a voice over review of the script, and the finalization of our product model. We began by looking at the wireframe variations that two of us had come up with. It was refreshing to finally be able to move onto something different than our past couple weeks. Both wireframes that were shown were quite different in terms of style, but the idea of what to represent and show was very similar. Screen shots of our explorations can be seen below. With that being said, it was pretty clear that we wanted to have some sort of dashboard idea for our application. We further discussed some of the features that we wanted to include in the application and made a priority feature list.

Furthermore, we had finalized our product model, since last week, we had only discussed minor changes. Changes such has height in the ears of the bunny skin, inclusion of eyes or not, and the smoothness of certain areas. The last step was to get this approved by our professor.

3 Dimensional Modeling
3 Dimensional Renderings

Over the past week, we were also able to get a few potential narrators for our script. The voice overs were all different, however, there was one stand out. Although, because we had no experience in script writing or narration, we still weren’t sure if this was proper or not. We knew what tone we wanted but definitely were open to explore more options if possible.

Critique of With Jamie and Myles (app and script)

Script editing — script layout and emphasis + emotion threw voice

Addition features (tidal volume)

Application to bland/boring

simply application — to many feature

Our first critique about our script with Myles Bartlett went extremely well. Our script was off to a good start, but Myles was able to give us many important pointers in what to include and what to exclude. It was important for us to know this in order to produce the best possible work. Additionally, Myles as a parent of children with asthma, was able to give us suggestions on what to include within our application. One being the importance of knowing tidal volume, an important feature we had never discussed or ever thought about.

Summary of Myles Critique:

  • Complete review of script
  • Tone of voice
  • Definitely needs to be a female voice
  • Review of what needed to be emphasized and how

The second part of the critique was about our mobile application ideas with Jamie March. We showed our initial take on how the wireframe could look like and outlined which features we wanted to show. Some features such as our location tracking were completely shut down. Jamie stated that our application did not need to be complicated, only a few screens and it was done. Additionally, with the possibilities of the new iPhoneX there was a huge opportunity to create something that would utilize a full screen. He suggested us to look into full screen elements and stay away from traditional “cards” or “dashboard” style.

Summary of Jamie Critique:

  • No sense in including a location tracker
  • Reduce the amount of features, focus on what is important
  • iPhoneX has lots of opportunity to create something new
  • Simple graphs / data tracking

Friday, November 24th
Script Critique with Myles

After our first script critique with Myles, we made a couple changes and took some extra time out of our Friday night for another critique. As a group, we knew that the script was crucial to our overall project and needed to be as best as it could be. Myles discussed with us how to make an animated video successful with a proper script. The Script we original had was just okay to begin with, however, it could definitely be improved on. If we wanted a successful script, we needed to make sure that it was quick and concise. We had to figure out a balance between illustration / animation narratives and the voice over narrative. As a group we completely misread the fact that illustration can also tell narratives visually and had only focused on the voice over. By the end of it, we were able to shorten our script down by a couple seconds.

In addition to our script critique, we also received some feedback about our feature priorities from a parent with a child that has asthma. It was the perfect opportunity to get concrete feedback from a potential consumer. Seeing our current product and state, Myles pointed out something that we were missing but had to have. A practice mode. Due to the fact that tidal volume is so important within our topic of asthma, we needed a way to be able to practice it. We received feedback that many parents look for practice modes because of the specific breathing techniques required when inhaling. That is where we decided to add in gamification to help improve breathing and tidal volumes.

Saturday, November 25th
Finding our Brand Voice

Right after our script critique and edits, we went right into recording. Over the past week we had acquired a couple voice actor volunteers to voice our script. We had auditioned five different people, both male and female over the weekend of the 25th/26th. The whole process of voice recording was new to us, we had no special room with foam pads in order to get optimal sound quality. We had to make it work with what we had. Using the corner of a lecture hall in Sheridan College we were able pull through was a good enough recording. During the actual script recording, we learned how to to properly access each voice over time. The process was systematically broken down by letting the voice actor read over the script first, going through test runs, giving advice on which parts needed emphasis and which did not, and then the actual recording. Luckily, we were able to find our voice quickly and were confident that no other voice would be better for our animation.

Individual Study

  • 3D Rederings (Mohit)
  • Mobile Application Concepts (David)
  • Illustration, sound design and story board (Zachery)
  • Brand (Carson)

Monday, December 4th
Critique with Jamie and Application Development

Before this weeks critique, our main focus was the mobile application. As a group we compiled what the main features would be and how we would execute on them. We came up with a list of multiple potential features and divided them up by importance and priority. We had concluded that the three main features would be a graph showing the most recent and past usage, a notification section where all recent alerts can be seen, and the switch between viewing dates (weekly, monthly, yearly, all).

Critique With Jamie

For the application, we knew what we wanted, however, we weren’t so sure on how to execute. We already had a couple of ideas sketched and digitally thought out, but again, we did not have any concrete decision made on what it would be. For our critique we had discussed multiple aspects of the application and got guidance from Jamie about how we should approach each feature. Also, interaction design within the application was also talked about; How should this screen transition into this one, how do we want our graph to flow, and how do we make things intuitive were all questions that needed answers. We even dove further into human interaction about if we should stick with buttons or gestures as main ways to get around the application itself. Furthermore, we questioned the execution of pairing our product and device together. We were not sure on if it would have to be through bluetooth, data connection, and or if it could be used across multiple devices. With examples like the apple watch and iPhone, we concluded that the simplest and most efficient way to pair would be similar to those products. A single product to mobile connection through bluetooth.

Individual Study

  • Work on illustrations, colour, and animation (Zachery)
  • Application layout and function (Mohit, Carson, David, Zachery)
  • Photography of product for advertisement (David)

Monday, December 11th
Critique with Jamie on Application Development and Website

Continuing on from last weeks critique, this week, three of us came in with different potential styles of how the application could look like. We realized that this was quite sub-optimal in terms of how we wanted to approach a collaborative application development, but considering our schedules and timelines, this was one of the only ways. Showcasing all of our ideas, we were able to pick out specific elements from everyones example and put it into one application. We knew that we wanted a little screens as possible. Probably the most challenging part of this, was figuring out where each and every element would be placed. What made the most sense for a user, and how would the interaction be? We explored many different concepts of this. Our first few explorations came out unsuccessful, but eventually we were able to figure out what was the most optimal. Some images shown below show our explorations and process.

In addition to the mobile application, we also explored some website ideas. It had already been decided on how we wanted the website to look like and its layout. The challenging part was incorporating our brand within it. We came up with multiple ideas to work with, however, just like everything else we explore, we had a hard time choosing which colours to use and also fonts. As you can see down below, we ran through multitudes of different ideas and approaches. It was not until the very last minute that we were able to fixate ourselves on one concept. Although, it was a rough concept, we knew that it was going in the direction we wanted.

Individual Study

  • Animation video, Illustration (Zachery)
  • Mobile Application (Mohit, Carson)
  • Website (Mohit, David)

Monday, December 18th
Presentation & Feedback

After our presentation on the project we received major constructive criticism from upper year Michelle Vu. She outlined many things that we had missed that could be crucial if our product were to actually go live and become a real life product. Some of the major feedback that was given was to properly label our graph axis’. From an initial viewpoint, it was difficult to tell what meant what on our graph, Michelle specifically told us that she did not know what the Y axis was representing when she viewed our graph for the first time. Additionally, a safety lock feature was also mentioned, an extremely important feature that we had completely missed out on. Because our product is meant to look friendly and toy-ish, it could be appealing to other children as well, which might also mistaken it for just another toy. Therefore, having a lock feature just incase other children mis-use the product would be very extremely important.

Final Individual Study

  • Finalization of Animation video, illustrations for website, application and instructions sheet (Zachery)
  • Finalization of Mobile Application (Mohit, Carson)
  • Finalization of Website (Mohit, David)
  • Process Website Finalization (David)