Enhancing the user’s door experience
ASSA ABLOY asked students at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology to put their imaginations to work to enhance the user experience in a door. The activity generated a number of innovative ideas, proving that doors can be used for so much more than opening and closing.
Interactive doors that welcome shoppers, hinges that harvest energy, NFC post-it-like notes that enable anonymous communication between neighbors – or why not use doors as a creative space for kids to doodle?
These were just some of the innovative ideas developed by students at Stockholm, Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology while working on a class project and competition with ASSA ABLOY to envision interactive doors of the future.
People are used to intuitive products
The ideas were developed and refined over a three-month period with the help of representatives from ASSA ABLOY’s Shared Technologies. “We took the challenge to interaction design students to develop concepts and come up with new ways to use doors,” says Fredrik Einberg, Concept Innovation Manager, adding that the company is increasingly focusing on the growing field of User Experience (UX).
UX goes beyond safety, security and function, as Maria Wikforss, an ASSA ABLOY user experience designer and the student’s mentor, explains.
“Today it’s not enough to be functional. You need to create a user experience that is pleasurable, fun and works fast too.”
And all touch points of the experience need to work smoothly, she explains. A good user experience is also a convenient one. Technology should not add complexity, but make our lives easier.”
At ASSA ABLOY we focus on technology and behaviors with a user-centered approach to innovation. It is fantastic to have that opportunity and work with things that people use every day, like doors and handles”.
Students envision interactive doors
Sharing these efforts with universities and other organizations is a way to be even more innovative. In the recent project with KTH, students had to identify scenarios based on real needs and develop concepts with true UX value, which they then presented to a jury from Shared Technologies.
One such scenario was the “AdDoore” concept using cameras and face recognition as the trigger for interaction between passersby and images of models on the doors of a store. When a passerby looks at the door, the model waves to catch their attention. This action should draw them into the store rather than make them uncomfortable, which is where the behavioral part of the user experience comes into play. Going a step further, Geofencing (used by downloading an app) could make the user experience even more suitable by adjusting the gender or age of the model to match the passerby.
How can doors increase the quality of our lives rather than just providing us with fulfilling the basic needs and functions of a door?
Another student concept, “Color Me,” encourages children to draw on a door, which has an interactive touchscreen on it. Children are provided with a large, colorful drawing canvas and can save their images through WiFi connectivity.
Doors as electronic bulletin boards
The winning submission, “Notify”, uses NFC tags to leave direct, yet anonymous messages between neighbors on their doors. If your neighbor is playing loud music in a school dormitory, for example, you can discretely “Notify” them to turn it down by using your smartphone. “We wanted to do something that would solve some problems,” says Gabriella Sanchez Karlsson from the Notify team.
“This isn’t going to replace all interaction with your neighbors but it will make the uncomfortable parts easier.”
As KTH course manager Jarmo Laaksolahti sums up: “Nowadays, technology is not just there for security but also to provide experience to increase the quality of our lives.
I think the time maybe has come for doors. How can they increase the quality of our lives rather than just providing us with fulfilling the basic needs and functions of a door.”
How important is the user experience of a product compared to other features? Comment below or send an email to email@example.com
Text: Cari Simmons
Photo: Niklas Björling