NASA  

Enabling Effective Procedure Execution for Astronauts

Role

Lead UX Designer

Methods

Analogous Domain Analysis
Contextual Models
Contextual Inquiries
Prototyping
Think Aloud Testing
 
 
 
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About the Project

NASA has presented our team with an exciting challenge: to improve task efficiency on board the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, crew members use the International Procedure Viewer (IPV) to view the steps necessary to complete a given task. The IPV has a number of problems: it’s stationary and it lacks full support for rich media. Additionally, crew members spend a significant amount of time locating tools because of an inefficient and inaccurate stowage system.

 

Goal

Spaceflight is incredibly expensive and crew members on board the International Space Station (ISS) need to work as efficiently as possible. Additionally, the ISS is only funded until 2020, so optimizing its remaining time is crucial. Because of this, our goal was to increase the efficiency of procedure execution in zero-gravity.

Solution

Through our research with analogous domains, we identified 8 key insights that drove our final design solution. We created a completely hands-free device through the use of a head-mounted display which utilizes audio communication to navigate through a procedure. With the use of a head-mounted camera, we recorded when a procedure is being executed to be played back for future reference.

Outcome

We created a prototype of our solution and conducted usability tests using our prototype. This process repeated until we were satisfied with the outcome. This final deliverable was handed to NASA to use as they so choose.

Research and Design Process

At a high-level, we conducted tons of literature reviews, competitive analyses, and interviews with analogous domains. This helped us get a true grasp of the problems at hand, and allowed us to dig deeper and ask better questions that ultimately guided the designs of our solution.

After concluding on our derived insights, we came up with a solution and began testing it as early and often as possible. We began with paper prototypes of head-mounted displays and gradually designed, built, and tested with a higher-fidelity, more fully-functioning prototype, as you see in the image below.

 
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Read All About It

We spent many late nights distilling insights and creating flow diagrams, but it was all worth it since we packaged all of it up into research reports that go in-depth on our process, insights, and final outcome.

You can access the PDFs of first research report here, and the second research report here.

Below is are a few pictures of the team that made it all happen. We had a ton of fun together along the way.

 
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