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Oce Internship: Fireflies

Internship at Oce Technologies as part of my Bachelors degree.

Intro: A design concept developed during an internship at Oce Technologies that uses the metaphor of fireflies to give the user a pleasurable magical experience as well as a functional one. The fireflies guide the attention of the user to the part on the printer that is relevant at that time while going through a problem solving procedure.

Not a Christmas tree 🙂

Project Concept

The assignment I got was to design an alternative interface that does not use the regular screen + buttons in order to provide a richer interaction. In my analysis phase of the project I’ve discussed the question why would you want anything different than the regular GUI + buttons? The answer to that question is in short: The experience users get from using the regular printers/copiers can be classified as “dull”, after using a printer/copier you’ll probably not remember it unless it has been a negative experience. The design challenge here is to design an interface that provides the user with a positive experience. The second design challenge is to design an interface that is easier to use when the printer wants something from the user (resolve paper jams, refill paper, refilling toner etc.) than the regular guides displayed on the screen. The final concept consists out of a lot of leds that have been mounted on the body of the printer just like a swarm of fireflies. Once the printer requires attention at a specific area of the printer the fireflies will move to that specific area and will point out a specific place e.g. a handle. This way the regular GUI is only used to make clear what is wrong and the fireflies will guide the user to do the rest of the steps necessary to resolve the problem. This concept will also provide the user with a more positive experience; just like in a fairytale the fireflies have something magical.

The user was asked to resolve (multiple) paper jam
The test participant was asked to resolve the “depleted tray” error

A printer can be quite complicated and intimidating

Software running the LEDs made in good old Flash