The Design Objective
The goal of this project was to redesign the existing Wi-Fi login system to benefit the students and facility at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design.
Our group started by gathering user data about the wireless login, to gain an understanding of the problem. However it became clear that peoples dissatisfaction extended beyond the existing login interface, expending to the whole Wi-Fi network.
Most people we talked with felt that their inability to connect to the internet, or stay connected was somehow there fault, leaving users frustrated and discouraged. We built visibility into the network so that people can understand more about this limited resource, how they interact with it and the habits of the group as a whole to encourage them and perhaps nudge them to change.
Defining the Problem
I found a network survey tool to see if the issue was a perception of the user group or if there was technical reasons why the network was unreliable.
After testing the network, and consulting with a network engineer, we learned that the problems most people where experiencing where infrastructure problems. However since we could not make changes to the network we decided to address a few key points that we could design for.
Areas to Affect Change
Authentication for the network
Tie in to web-mail and courses site
Personal impact of the network
Overall network use
To provide a more holistic solution to the problem we created a desktop application that allowed people to:
- Connect to the network and school services.
- To understand how long there session would last before they would need to reconnect.
- The health of the network, based on active sessions.
- Their personal impact on the network in upload and download traffic.
- The general metrics for the types of traffic going through the network in the form of a icicle graph.
Initially the scope of this problem was too limited to address the actual issues being seen. Through user research and gaining an understanding the technology, we were able to identify the extend of the issue. With this we could design a more complete solution that bypassed the need to modify the network infrastructure. We created a solution to address the authentication issue, the network status and how usage impacts the overall experience. Giving users the a little visibility helps people feel better about their user experience and perhaps will nudge them to be mindful about their internet use. Overall having better wireless infrastructure would have been the ideal solution, but using design allowed us to mitigate the some of the issues and give people visibility into others.