Shopping Assistant

Shopping Assistant

Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

2011

SKILLS

  • - Contextual Inquiry
  • - User Research Modeling
  • - Storyboarding
  • - Rapid Prototyping

ABOUT

“Shopping Assistant+” is a concept system created by developing a multi-user shopping lists management system combined with in-store augmented reality navigation and product information and customer feedback retriever with barcode scanning.

Maintaining and organizing shopping lists is often a struggle for people, no matter for housewives or students who live by themselves. Some people tend to use a traditional way – writing down on a paper-based note, while others tend to use computer-based software so that they can manage and organize it efficiently and effectively. However, both of them do have some issues to deal with. For a paper-based one, it’s not easy to get re-organized and a pen is also required with the shopping trip, so that people can mark on the list to indicate which one is done. As for a computer-based one, how to keep the file safe and synchronized is not easy. Moreover, a common issue while people plan their shopping trip is that it’s hard to make sure how many stuff is necessarily needed unless one spends time going through the fridge and pantry. Plus, finding items in a supercenter/grocery store is time-consuming and ineffective, and unfamiliar shoppers usually can’t get what they want in a short time.

In this project, I try to improve the overall shopping experience by starting from observing how people interact in a supercenter/grocery store, their behaviors, and how they make, organize, and maintain their shopping lists before they go shopping in real cases. From the contextual inquiries, I found that it’s not only challenging for people to update their shopping list, but also hard to find the desired items on the list and get them efficiently.

After the research, I came up with a design on a paper prototype, which illustrates the concept “shopping assistant+” I mentioned previously, and conducted a usability evaluation to verify it. The most interesting discovery from the usability evaluation is that users felt this in-store augmented reality navigation system is a novel and useful idea, and they appreciated it, but also indicated that the inconvenience of carrying an augmented reality device while pushing a cart.

In conclusion, users were excited by this novel concept and had high expectations for it. Other research indicated this is helpful on minimizing user effort, as well as being practical. The future work is to optimize graphic user interface and make it consistent with iOS to have a better user experience.

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