UI Design Concept: the eSticky project
After defining what the eSticky product functions are, the next step is to develop main ideas and solutions that fulfill these functions.
In this process, the individual functions are developed into separate solutions in order to better act on them. In the next step, these main solutions will be combined into several conceptual variants in order to select a key concept that will then be further explored in the design phase. The main distinction at this point lies in the user interface, that is, the graphic design of the display, and the physical design.
Initial ideas for the aesthetic and functional design of the user interface were generated. This involves the basic possibilities of three-color and multi-color E-ink displays. Considerations involve the interaction of the electronically variable graphic display surface with the graphically inactive display border and case.
Similar background color and display edge color
The display border is colored like the display background design. It is possible to achieve a uniform and quiet color scheme of the background.
However, this border is printed and does not have the same display color effect. As a result, it may differ slightly in color. This may have a negative impact on the aesthetic effect.
Different background color and display border color
In this case, the edge of the display is colored white. The background color of the display is a different color.
This contrast can be used to provide additional information.
However, it may result in too many color values which may unnecessarily confuse the user.
Color graphic to draw attention to one side
Regardless of the rest of the color scheme, an accent color in the display can indicate a message or other information.
- One could think of the indication of a message that has just arrived;
- An asymmetrical design might have a higher attention value;
- Aesthetic design may be disturbed.
Multi-sided color graphic element
The coverage is extended over the edge of the display. This means that only the variable area of the display is visible. Color accents can be extended to the whole area. In this way, predominantly decorative and aesthetic designs can also be realized.
- These can increase user acceptance for eSticky;
- It is difficult to satisfy the taste of many users.
The product functions that emerged from the brainstorming session are to be transformed into design concepts and construction ideas, with material combinations and style ideas.
Several partial solutions are presented below, which will be combined later to create more realistic concepts.
This idea seeks to enhance the device as if it were a real letter. The holder looks like a locking tab. The battery may be located under the locking tab.
Paper leather case
Here a textile material is used for the cover. It can be paper skin or fabric. Under the textile cover a substructure is needed to protect the electronics. The textile cover is sewn, glued and possibly screwed.
The style can be reminiscent of a portable calendar, which appears to have a positive image on users. The spaces between the parts can be filled with a sponge-like material. This gives it a smooth surface and good shock absorption function. The visual appearance may resemble a pillow. It is also possible to imagine a hinge, which allows for easy battery replacement.
Additionally, the eSticky’s mental closeness to paper notes can be captured from the upright angles. Practically, these nooks offer an easy way to grip the display when several displays and photo frames are mounted on the wall.
Button under the textile cover
The button can be sewn under a fabric cover. It can be recessed, protruding or flat.
A recessed button offers positive contact. If the button is placed under the fabric cover, the fabric above it may protrude. The indentation may no longer be visible. The outline of the button around the fabric cover can be stitched to make the button more visible. This gives the whole device a more like a piece of furniture look. This way, the product looks less like a high-tech device.
The button can also be covered with a wooden cover for a more natural look.
Customization: User replaceable fabric
To make the eSticky displays more familiar, you can cover parts of the device with fabric. By simply turning it upside down and clipping it or placing it in a frame, the primary user or a relative can adapt the look to the home environment.
Power outlet as assembly station and power source
An integrated plug, which can be inserted into the socket, serves both as a power supply for the display and as a wall mount. Here are the advantages:
- easy to use;
- reliable power supply.
If power from the eSticky system is not required because only battery power is provided, the pins of the plug can be modeled as non-powered holders. In addition, the eSticky display covers a wall socket which could be perceived as annoying. The downside is that not every desired location has a wall socket to which an eSticky display could be attached.
Adaptable photo frame
Another customization possibility is the photo attachment. Firstly, photos of relatives or operators should convey the belonging of the displayed message to a person. In addition, pictures of any pattern can also be attached. These can be photos of relatives and friends who are not the authors of the sent messages. Even images of pets or that arouse positive emotions and animate the main user to look at the display.
Furthermore, this frame can also be equipped with other materials. In addition, the frame can also be equipped with space objects, such as dried flowers or small keepsakes. Remember that in these cases the activation of memories is a very important issue. This frame can be thought of as a hanging system or held together with the help of built-in magnets.
From a cost point of view, it would be advantageous to use common parts. The display frame can also be used as a photo frame. This ensures easy handling.
The construction of the case can be done in different ways. Here are some considerations to identify any difficulties in advance. For this purpose, simple sectional diagrams were created to roughly indicate the joining of the components during production and to better understand the construction.
Insertable wooden back panel
In this type of construction, there is a bezel that holds the display hardware at the front and is closed with a plate at the back. The advantage is that material cut at right angles can be used. This principle lends itself to the use of wood or other natural materials as a panel material. This is an economical and environmentally friendly way to use environmentally friendly materials.
Mounting with magnet and metal plate
Wall mounting with the help of magnets promises easy handling. An adhesive magnetic sheet is placed on the back of the case.
The second component of the mounting system consists of a nano-removable adhesive sheet on a metal foil. This mounting part is glued to the wall. The display is positioned and attracted to the metal foil by the magnetic sheet. This makes changing the battery very easy. In addition, daily use with an attachment in another place is facilitated.
A stand function can be realized with folding parts on the back. We hypothesized several variants. This type is known from tablets, where they have proven themselves very well. Other variants can be considered later once the type of case has been determined.
Since multiple eSticky displays are used most of the time, the possibility of stacking is an issue that should be addressed. Furthermore, an orderly system also has a positive symbolic effect.
With a slight cylindrical shape of the case, easy parallel stacking is possible thanks to the close-fitting shape. However, the end positions still need to be aligned manually. The ability to mount the displays flat on the wall gives the cylindrical shape its own aesthetic effect. When magnets are used as a stacking aid, an automatic alignment of the stacked displays occurs with each other.
Button and photo frame concept
In this case, the photo frames are placed in small shapes next to the buttons. Display and button form different units.
The compact form gives the user a good overview. Visibility can be a disadvantage. Users often suffer from vision problems due to age. The display is foldable and can also be used as a tabletop device. The button remains easy to use thanks to the split display, because it lies flat on the surface.