MEDP 299.XX Hunter College at the City University of New YorkPosts RSS Comments RSS

hotelroom media device.

i decided to place the media device in a high class hotel room.  it is made specifically for installation into one of these rooms, but i dont see why it would not be able to be placed in a private household, the only deterrent being its high cost.

 hotel room placement:  hotel room device setup.

control panel setup: control panel setup.

 Audience:  hotel room guests.  since they are not around the device for long periods of time, it must be easy to use and rapidly learned.  because of this, many cultural constraints and standardized buttons and symbols are considered in its setup.  led lights bring attention to items that require attention, such as the messages button.  play, pause, stop, eject, etc. buttons are themselves shaped in the standard symbols for their functions.  this also allows for easy use in the dark, as the buttons are easily distinguishable just by feeling them.  the lightbulb and headphones symbols are also easily recognizable.

Research:  devices like this are hard to come by.  i figured that it would be useful in a higher class hotel room.  i tried to make the design of the whole system itself as minimalistic as possible, as to not seem intrusive in a five star hotel room.  as a result of this consideration, the only visible parts of the system are the control panel (placed on the wall above a nightstand near the bed) and the speakers (placed on either side of the bed and in the ceiling).  because of the fact that norman believes that low visibility leads to a worse user experience because there is less feedback, a relatively large display screen was included to provide necessary feedback, which isnt much with a system of relatively simple entities such as these.  finally, consideration of the audience who does not get to spend much time with the device seems to be the most important research.

Affordances:  each button affords pushing.  the xm satellite radio button affords turning in addition to pushing.  the cd and usb drives and the headphones jacks afford inserting.  the lamp dimmer affords touching and sliding, as it is a smooth strip of touch-sensitive plastic.  the phone affords holding.

Constraints:  each insertion point can only be inserted with one type of device.  the ipod connection will only fit an ipod.  the input connection can only be placed into an out or headphones connection.  culturally, the symbols used are highly standardized.  the phone is not wireless, as to prevent theft.

Mapping:  each “section” is to be a slightly different shade of purchaser’s chosen color.  the visualizer/display screen will have one placemat.  the phone controls and the alarm controls will share another; when setting the alarm, the number buttons for the phone are used after the user is prompted to do so on the display screen.  the cd drive, usb drive, satellite radio tuner, and ipod/input device connections are contained within a third shade of color.  the light dimmer and headphones jacks are not on a placemat, but rather the standard brush-metal background plate.  for each device within these sections, the mapping is natural based on standardizations.  the phone buttons and cd control buttons are in natural order.  based on cultural constraints, the display screen is on the top left of the control panel, as we tend to explore from left to right, up to down. 
most importantly, the mapping is based on the fixed position of the control panel (in a hotel room over a nightstand on the left side of the bed).  this consideration places the light dimmer and phone closer to the right, on the side of the bed.  these two sections are more likely to be consistently used while in bed, and would be difficult to use if they were further away.  aside from the fact that the light dimmer uses plus and minus symbols, the mapping of “up is more and down is less” aids in the use of this device.  likewise, the radio tuner turns to the left to go to a lower channel and the right to tune higher.
the volume controls are paired with the speaker above the control panel.

Conceptual Model:  a user’s conceptual model of the device would point the “center” of the action of the audio controls towards the display screen.  based on standardization and the desire for feedback, this fact is considered in that all feedback pertaining to these devices is placed on the display screen (of course, excluding the audio feedback, which will come from the speakers).  the alarm clock buttons also convey a conceptual model of the device such that needed visual feedback should be displayed on the display screen, where the time is located.  users will automatically place the phone buttons in the realm of the phone itself, despite the fact that the receiver does not itself sit on the control panel. 
because of the placement, structure, and visual display of each part of the device, a user’s conceptual model will afford them with ease of use rather than confusion and a puzzle of parts.

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