Cloud based printing kiosk

CMU students have access to cloud based printers, allowing them to send files from their laptops to printers all across campus. However, this process is complicated by inarticulate directions and an uneditable sequence that ends up creating more work for the users.


Problem Space

 
 

PROBLEM SPACE

The goal was to design an improved printing experience for students, that also applied the values and design guidelines of Whirlpool.

 

RESEARCH

I wanted to start with observing pain points caused by the existing system, so I began observing the way students were interacting with the printers, and interviewed my classmates.

Two major issues surfaced from this research

  • Since students could not edit or preview their files before being printed, they would often have to restart several times, doubling the time spent printing.
  • Students would make edits on their laptops, while standing next to the printers, crowding the area and preventing other people from completing their print job.
 

STRATEGY

It was important the interface provided more functionality than being a gateway between laptop and printer. Due to the complexity of the cloud-system, my options were limited to the kiosk interface. I realized that if I added more customization at this step in the process, students would not have to continually restart the sequence.

 

PROCESS

My goal was to design a cohesive printing system, combining physical and digital experiences united by strong and consistent visual language.

At the same time I began incorporating Whirlpool’s values of reliability and universality into my thinking, developing brand guidelines with three of my classmates Gabriel Mitchell, Diana Sun, and Vicky Hwang.

 

MODELS

I also created a series of dummy models to explore options for height, orientation and ease of use for a variety of possible users. I asked several passersby to interact with the models, and used these findings to inspire sketches and more detailed, scale models.

 

USER INTERFACE

Because the existing interface was text-based and strictly linear, I needed to develop an interaction that would allow users to preview and edit their docs at the kiosk, to prevent them from needing to restart the process for every print.

 

SOLUTION

A simple, visual digital interface that offers more functionality, housed in a universally friendly kiosk, gives students the flexibility to preview and modify their prints before they are delivered.

 
 

The new interface provides options for size, number, orientation, and color, as well as a preview mode to confirm a file before it is printed.

The new physical kiosk has a small footprint, and would always be positioned the same relative to every printer across campus. By implementing a more central, distinct kiosk with a more versatile interface, students are able to confirm their documents before printing, reducing each user’s time spent printing, lessening foot traffic near printers.