Building Occupancy Visualization Interface

Summary

About the company

Institute for People and Technology is a group of research labs at Georgia Tech that do computing research in partnership with industry.

My role

Part-time UX Designer (Graduate Research Assistant)

Brief

Find the use cases of building occupancy data for operational units on campus and design an interface that allows these units to explore that data.

Deliverables

Delivered a high-fidelity design concept detailing the data visualizations, time filters, and navigation design. Also helped prioritize features for development using user research insights.

Impact

The user research effort helped uncover possible use cases that led to new partnerships for the lab. The new design when implemented will reduce the workload on the team since this data would be accessible online and the team will not have to pull it from the back-end every time someone requested it.

Other team members

Advising Professor

Process

Interviewed the project advisor and sketched some initial ideas to understand the data

I talked to the advising professor to understand the different data fields, the technology with which the data was collected, and its granularity and limitations. I also explored possible representations for this data.

I understood that the Wi-Fi infrastructure around Georgia Tech campus has several access points which detect the user's device and connect it to the 'GT-wifi' (the name of the Wi-Fi network). To connect to GT-wifi, users have to log in with their GT id and password. The Wi-Fi infrastructure, hence, knows who is logged in where and when. By aggregating that information, the occupancy of a building can be estimated without violating anyone’s privacy.



Interviewed users to understand use cases

I interviewed 6 different operational units on campus to understand the use cases they envisioned for this data. Based on these findings, the advising professor and I prioritized the use cases that we should focus on. We rejected ones that were too complicated for us to tackle, would not benefit from the data we have, or would require a unique dataset that most other use cases did not.


Created wireframes and iterated them based on feedback from users

In the first version of the wireframes, I represented data at three levels of granularity - campus, building, and floor. The line graphs were screenshots of an existing application that was using the same data. The campus map and floor map visualization were new concepts.

I showed these ideas to two users and realized that the campus level representations would not be useful. I also needed to add the option to look at the data at different time granularities. So, in the second version, I included data at building and floor level, across day, week, month, semester, and year. I also included average data trends that could be filtered by days of week and hour of day as that would serve several use cases.

I showed the updated wireframes and created an InVision clickthrough. I showed these to three more users. I explained the information represented and asked them if they thought it would be useful and, if yes, in what way and what action they would take. From those insights, I understood which of these visualizations would be useful for which use cases. This helped us prioritize features for the development stage. I also got feedback on smaller details, for example, labeling time as am/pm instead of military time and expanding 'min' to 'minimum' as that might be misread as 'minutes'.

After the project finished

Created visual mockups

Due to funding constraints, this project did not immediately go into the development stage. For my own practice, I later created visual mockups.