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HP Photosmart eStation

Hewlett-Packard

Summary

The HP Zeen is an Android tablet that accompanies the Photosmart eStation All-in-One, acting as the control panel both when docked and undocked. My work on the product was primarily interaction design and management of the interaction design specifications. This was my biggest non-web project.

The printer with docked "Zeen" tablet.

Problem

The Android tablet ("Zeen") included with this system uses its web connectivity to encourage printing via several content-aggregating applications. The Zeen was unique in that, unlike traditional Android devices (i.e. smartphones), it required custom integration with another device, an all-in-one printer. This meant that it needed to be the control panel and settings manager for the printer, as well as use the printer as an input (e.g. scanner) and output device. Several applications needed to be customized to integrate with the printer, which presented a unique challenge for a platform built for smartphones.

When I joined HP, the initial interaction designs for several applications had already been created and documented. Partly due to this being HP's first foray into Android development and partly due to the nature of iterative design, there were a number of inevitable future changes that needed to be properly captured and managed.

Process

One of my roles at HP was managing the changes of these specification documents. Most of the time, this meant meeting with firmware developers to discuss development issues and attempt to reconcile development constraints with user experience design goals. For example, when we learned that the eFax service required different parameters than the original flow incorporated and that the parameters also depended on the user's locality, I created a few alternative flows to address those new problems and eventually narrowed it down to one new design.

Methodical change-tracking like this helped us know which features had been changed and allowed us to keep past designs; if a feature was temporarily scrapped due to shortened development time, we had historical documentation of the feature so that it could be re-used in the future. In addition, it helped us track which bugs or issues were the fault of the UX team and which were the fault of the developers.

Results

My management of the interaction design flowcharts and other documentation helped ensure that the applications and features were developed accurately. The product was released in October of 2010 and received generally favorable reviews. The interaction between the tablet's applications and the printer were effective and creative, and I'm happy to have worked on the project.

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