Control your smartphone camera from afar with a simple smartwatch app.
To start off my prototyping exploration, I created a paper prototype of a smartphone camera remote app for a smart watch. When using a smartphone to take a picture of yourself, it can be difficult to fit the background scenery or a larger group of people in the frame. Selfie sticks help solve this problem by allowing you to distance yourself from the viewfinder. But what if you want a picture or video of yourself doing a handstand? With a selfie stick, making memories is never hands free. That is where the “Wrist Shot” camera remote comes in. Users can set down their smartphone and manipulate their camera viewfinder from afar using a smart watch. Special settings also allow users to turn their smartphone into a time lapse camera and manipulate the screen from a smart watch without moving the camera. Due to time constraints, my prototype only documents a basic photo taking interaction for the smart watch half of the system.
This prototype was made using paper, pen, sticky notes, glue, tape and a pipe cleaner. A black paper frame serves as a watch screen. The screen is open on either end allowing a strip of interchangeable paper frames to easily slide into place. Some interactions, such as zooming in, require new images to be quickly added or moved by hand. This prototype was created and tested over the course of one weekend at low cost. Changes can be quickly and easily made to the prototype, lending well to ideation.
Video of cognitive walk through with user (4 minutes)
High speed demo cut (1 minute)
After running a usability test with a potential user of the device, I found that, while the app was well received overall, there were several improvements that could be made to the application interface as well as my prototyping technique. User feedback is summarized in the following lists.
Things about the app that worked well:
- Wrist Shot is a fun concept. It is nice to be able to take pictures and videos of yourself without needing a tripod.
- Zoom and filter options can be changed from afar while filming.
- The zoom feature was very clear.
- The “position smartphone” screen helped clarify that the watch app was compatible with a smartphone.
- The app used most of the same features as a smartphone camera.
- There was a good variety of filter options.
- It was easy to navigate to photos
- Having the settings on a separate screen reduced clutter.
Things about the app that could be improved:
- There is not always a shelf or table to set a phone on. It would be nice if there was a phone kickstand. It might also work better if the watch controlled a small (quarter sized) camera that could be stuck to a wall or tree with adhesive. Then the pictures could just be sent to the smartphone rather than being taken with it.
- The “set timer” page allowed you to scroll through hours, minutes and seconds. While some of this is helpful for setting up a time-lapse camera, it is cluttered and confusing for users that just want a few extra seconds to strike a pose. It was suggested that this page only show the scroll for seconds and that a separate page be created for setting up a time-lapse
- It is not immediately clear that the user can take more than just pictures. The photo to video control is only visible in settings. This could be remedied by adding a photo or video selection screen upon opening the app.
- The front facing cameras of some phones do not have flash. The setup picture should probably show the phone screen facing away from the user to use the main camera.
Review of Prototyping Technique
Things about the paper prototyping model that worked well:
- The prototype was inexpensive to make.
- The prototype was easy to modify.
- Putting screens on a strip made sliding them into place quick and easy.
- The slider within a slider was impressive to the user.
- The paper watch frame made the user experience more realistic.
- The scale of the prototype was just large enough to be legible on video.
Things about the paper prototyping model that could be improved:
- Use thicker paper. Printer paper began to tear after several uses.
- Pipe cleaner makes for an effective but itchy watch strap. Cover with tissue or ribbon.
- Having cut out pieces slows response time during user tests. Use sparingly.
- Sticky notes began to lose their stick after all the sliding around. Have spares.