Team  

Changhua Hseih  |  Gautam Madaan  |  Sahil Kumar  |  Stefanie Owens  |  Xi Liu

Description

A software solution to minimize risk in product design decisions using visual conjoint analysis IP from Carnegie Mellon University

My Role

User Research  |  Design Strategy |  Product Design  |  Go-to-Market Strategy

Timeframe

4 months


Project Objective

My team and I were challenged to develop an enterprise application for raw technology patented by Carnegie Mellon University, which we would then pitch to Sand Hill Angel Investors in Silicon Valley at the end of the course (Dec 2014).  We had to find a way to not only leverage our core technology, a visual and experiential conjoint analysis method capable of quantifying a user's aesthetic preferences (Patent WO 2007127432 A2), but also correctly identify an ardent need in the marketplace that this technology could fill.  A few of the initial applications brainstormed are shown below: 

 A variety of applications discussed during our initial brainstorming process, INCLUDING THE SUPER WEIRD

A variety of applications discussed during our initial brainstorming process, INCLUDING THE SUPER WEIRD


Process

My team and I went through at least five major design iterations of our solution over the course of nine weeks before realizing that our solutions were getting further and further away from harnessing what was truly unique about the patent we were working with.  We had narrowed our target applications down to the online education and enterprise software arenas before realizing that the patent enabled something much more special than what we could do in these niche spaces.

Pivot

We went through a few more iterations of user research in the wearables, online education, and enterprise software arenas to validate our suspicions, and through these interviews we began to observe more general trends that applied to the design of products and user interfaces as a whole, regardless of industry.  We shifted our study to expand to a wide variety of companies who leverage design as a core competency to their competitive advantage, including the trucking industry, consumer products, design consultancies, and architecture firms. 

  I took the research lead for this phase, conducting interviews with designers across a wide spectrum of companies in order to uncover insights that might guide the ultimate design of our platform.  

I took the research lead for this phase, conducting interviews with designers across a wide spectrum of companies in order to uncover insights that might guide the ultimate design of our platform.  

Insights Discovered

The entire design industry is reconfiguring and consolidating, with many large companies investing more in bringing design in-house since they are further realizing its core value to their business.
...what designers sometimes lack is quantitative leverage to battle the programmers and engineers with when it comes to decisions relating to the design of a new product or software.

Introducing - Attribeaut Design Software

Our research insights ultimately informed the prototype development of Attribeaut, a web-based design platform to enable product development stakeholders to harness rapid feedback from their target markets during all stages of the product development process.  Designers, design engineers, product managers and marketers can automatically generate hundreds of product designs on-the-fly (using visual conjoint analysis) and then constructs a statistically valid survey to email out to test users in order to determine their optimum utility function.  The platform crowd-sources key parts of the design process, and enables designers to have quantitative leverage to optimize time-to-market of their new products.

Take a peek at the final deck my team and I presented to Sand Hill Angel Investors: