Iso is the culmination of a semester-long introduction to mobile UX design, sponsored by LG Mobile. The goal was to advance smartphone UX through an intensive process of research and design, with special emphasis on the transition between the two. Three phases of research explored what users say, think, and do with their phones. This need-finding consisted of contextual interviews, bodystorming and collaborative design sessions in which participants used props to creatively express their design concepts.

Our research revealed that smartphone usage is increasingly disruptive to real-life social interaction. Good smartphone UX is marked by a flow of interaction, but this flow can pull users from important conversations and tasks. We set out to design a phone that would correct for this fact, unplugging users from their devices and reconnecting them to reality

We initially tried to enforce hard limits on phone use, but this frustrated users in early tests. In response, we reconceived our design to make interruptions pleasant rather than removing them all together. At this critical turning point, I began to recognize the importance of packaging our product in an optimistic light.

We pared down our features to a concise core: Notifying, Broadcasting, and Creating. All three utilize an innovative LED display on the back face. Users can place Iso face-down position without losing access to their critical updates and games. This simple gesture relieves social tension and helps users focus on reality. Industrial design reinforces this, as Iso’s curved profile perfectly affords back face interaction.

To communicate our design, I scripted, edited and sound-designed the video sketch above. In addition, I used Processing to produce interactive prototypes of each feature.