Boil Monitor

Monitor your pot on the stove and keep track of the cooking state with your iPhone/Apple Watch/Apple TV without watching it yourself.

Universal Design  |  Wireframe  |  Prototypes  |  Interaction Design for iPhone / Apple Watch / Apple TV 

Photo credit: Greek lentil soup from Phoodie

Photo credit: Dreamstime

People with hearing loss may have trouble taking care of their pot, like hearing the pot boiling when they are busy cooking, not facing the stove, or have to leave kitchen for a while.

This project tries to solve such problem through an monitoring app using mobile phone camera to detect boiling status, and then notify user by Apple Watch & Apple TV.

I am into universal design and assistant device for people with hearing loss, because I have encountered many difficulties in daily life due to my double-sided hearing loss. I think it’d be wonderful to design some solutions for people who have similar difficulties whether they have normal hearing or not.

Design Process

I started from the iPhone platform, then I explored the possibility with Apple Watch and Apple TV platforms. Throughout the process, I simplified the user flow and app structure to improve the user experience and make it more intuitive.

Wireframe

In the beginning of this project, I imagined to set up a wireless camera above the stove and link it with iPhone for detecting boiling. Here are the scenario mockup, app map and some views of the wireframe I designed for the monitoring app on iPhone:

Photo credit: Roast Chicken & Bone Broth from Debra Lynn Dadd

Prototype 1

After user tested the paper prototype of the wireframe, I got some feedbacks: the navigation flow of the wireframe was said to be too complex. While user could figure out where to touch, there’s too much mental load for learning the flow. So I simplified the structure and user flow in this prototype version. In addition, the wireless camera was said to be unnecessary — directly using the phone camera for monitoring, and Apple Watch for notifying would be more straightforward and easier to use — and without the need to buy an additional wireless camera.

Prototype 2

During the previous prototype’s user testing, users didn’t realize the two bars in the home view was touchable, without the “>” chevron icon. And I got some feedback that the landing experience would be better if user could view the camera immediately after they opened the app, which would allow them to know it’s working as a monitor, and would help them adjust the position of phone, because only after correctly placing their iPhone above the stove could user start monitoring (i.e. tapping “start”).  Same problem with Apple Watch — the camera and status should be the first view, before alerts would show. And I found that my previous design for Apple Watch didn’t follow Apple Watch HIG. Thus, I further adjusted the design and made it an single-view app with multiple alerts and status bar displaying on both iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple TV Wireframe

After playing with my friend’s Apple TV, I thought that an Apple TV version would be an interesting add-on for this app. Maybe, when waiting for boiling, user could leave the kitchen and easily monitor the pot and track the process with a glimpse of the TV. So I designed the wireframe for Apple TV:

Apple TV Prototype

After user tested the paper prototype of the wireframe, I found that there’s a need to edit the timer using the TV. So I added a view for that.

In addition, while Apple TV didn't provide a picture-in-picture function, that would still be a nice way to monitor the pot when watching TV. So I designed a mock-up view for future reference.

Reflection

In this project, I learned that to achieve same goal through different devices, I’d need to design and think differently. For example, iPhone could carry out the core task and settings, Apple Watch could be an extension for portability and quick notification’s purpose, and Apple TV could be yet another extension for more informative/detail monitoring’s purpose on a big screen (and, were there no technical limits, for monitoring the pot while watching TV at the same time). Thus, how to define and allocate different jobs to the most suitable devices, and to minimize the user flow / app structure to serve the functionality in an integrated way, is the main challenge in this project. Here I see both the value of designer’s creativity and design strategy (user testing).