The aim of this sprint was to combine a number of similar types of push buttons into one device. In modern HMI systems physical controls there is often limited space available in the centre stack, and so controls need to be multifunctional.
The idea of placing multiple controls within one device is called Multiplexing, which is a topic I discussed further in my research phase. In this sprint I wanted to explore the concept of multiplexing by trying to explore how I might be able to incorporate a number of different modalities of a button into one object to create a multi functional device.
The idea was to create a device that would allow for a number of different controls. My goal was to explore a different control method than the previous weeks. I started by thinking about buttons as the modality I wanted to explore.
The initial design featured a puck-like disc that housed capacitive touch strips on the sides. The sides could also be pushed in to activate two more buttons internally.
Initial testing on this proved that the pushing force needed to activate the internal buttons was quite difficult for most people, so I modified this so that the buttons were easier to activate.
Directional control is a key function of most HMI controls. To create this functionality I installed the puck onto a raised spring assembly. Under this four buttons were located in an Up-Down-Left-Right arrangement to create a joystick.
The joypuck offers the user three different levels of control. The user can control the directional buttons, or these can be controlled in conjunction with either the tap functionality or the press functionality.
What I learned
This week was probably the least successful of the work that has occurred so far. One of the outcomes of this week was that it became even more clear that designing for functionality of a control requires a very close relationship between the design of the screens that go with them
There is a close relationship between the information architecture of the system and how a control mechanism works, and vice versa. This was a valuable learning that must be reflected upon when building physical controls.