6 May 2009

User-centred approach drives the design of Intel’s new home storage solution

Be the first to share

Home storage architecture
In December last year, Intel design researcher Daria Loi made a very strong presentation at the UPA Europe conference showing how people in different cultures “keep, protect and find what they value”.

She and others in her team actually went into the homes of people around the world to see how they store both physical and digital things, in order to use their insights of people’s mental model on storage in the development of better digital storage solutions.

(The presentation is not online but can be requested by contacting surrealist.milliner@gmail.com.)

After all, we don’t store things like computers do. But what is a human-centred storage model and how to implement that in a digital storage system?

Now Intel has published two extensive and highly recommendable articles, co-written by Frank Hady, director of network storage pathfinding, and Michael Payne, director of experience definition and assessment, describing in detail how these insights of the design research have been taken forward.

Taken as a whole, they provide an excellent case study of the relevance of a user-centred approach in the design of new and innovative technology-based products and services.

The first article, “Why We Need Whole Home Storage Architecture“, describes the insights of the design research:

“Our findings indicate clear gaps in the ability of current products to simply and intuitively help people to protect, share and access media that is of value to them. […] This article presents an overview of what Intel’s consumer research tells us about home storage trends – and how whole home storage architecture can help fill the gaps.”

Five key insights came out of the design research:

  • People acquire digital media from many places with many different devices, and although people around the world share high-level objectives, including the desire to find and create digital media, protect and store it, easily find and access it, and ultimately enjoy and share it, there are also many differences to be taken into account.
     
  • The volume of digital media is growing rapidly, and it is clear that the continuing growth in the volume of media in coming years will be a huge problem for people worldwide, if comprehensive solutions are not made available.
     
  • Disjointed ‘islands’ of digital media stored on multiple devices make access difficult. As time passes and the media library and number of devices continue to expand, managing the entire media collection across these islands of storage can become an overwhelming problem.
     
  • People are concerned about the safety of their media. Yet many people do not back up, or if they do, they will often use failure-prone disks and platforms with limited lifetimes.
     
  • Today’s solutions have significant limitations. Many consumers report being overwhelmed by the task of managing their digital media collections and finding a storage solution that is reliable, trusted and easy to use

In response to these learnings, Intel sets out a vision: “We envision a whole home storage architecture that will bring the familiar, local storage experience to all the data and media in the home.”

This vision is then articulated in three key requirements: easy accessibility, data permanence, and fast performance, which are in turn given shape in a concept prototype.

Intel’s prototype solution for Whole Home Storage is described in the second article, “A Consumer’s Eye View of Whole Home Storage“.

Based on the user research and a number of usage scenarios — related to viewing and editing photos, storing and viewing videos, listening and sharing music, and whole home media backup — Intel created four value propositions that the prototype solution should cover:

  • It should be simple to set up and use
  • It should accommodate multiple user interfaces
  • It should provide personalization – and parental controls
  • It should preserve the essential magic of TV

The prototype Whole Home Storage solution, which seems to be mainly focused still on a unified directory structure, which is accessible by networked devices anywhere in the home, has been deployed in eight homes to allow early exploration of user experiences. The article describes the benefits and challenges faced by users, and concludes:

“It is clear from our experiences with the Whole Home Storage prototype that the solution has great promise, and people find interesting ways to use the capability. It is also clear that improvements in ease of use, especially during setup, would be required in a productized version.”

Be the first to share
22 May 2015
Conference Call: Design Anthropological Futures
Design Anthropological Futures conference Organised by the Research Network for Design Anthropology August 13-14, 2015 Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - School of Design in Copenhagen, Denmark The Design Anthropological Futures conference explores future-making from a design …
17 May 2015
We are ignoring the new machine age at our peril
In 2009, W Brian Arthur published a remarkable book, The Nature of Technology, in which he formulated a coherent theory of what technology is, how it evolves and how it spurs innovation and industry. Technology, …
17 May 2015
Design thinking without deep analysis is reckless. A more balanced approach is needed.
Larry Keeley, co-founder of innovation firm Doblin which is now a unit of Deloitte Consulting LLP, says that too often advocates of “design” regard it as an elixir that can somehow transform conservative companies into …
17 May 2015
[Book] Anthropologist explores the many faces of Anonymous
Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman Verso Publishers November 2014 Hardback, 464 pages Abstract Half a dozen years ago, anthropologist Gabriella Coleman set out to study the rise of this global phenomenon just as some …
17 May 2015
Policy paper: Making Good our Future
Making Good our Future: Exploring the New Boundaries of Open & Social Innovation in Manufacturing Policy Paper prepared for the European Commission May 2015, 49 pages As part of the Social Innovation Europe initiative, the European Commission has …
13 May 2015
Social Media + Society, an open-access journal
Social Media + Society is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal deeply committed to advancing the understanding of social media and its impact on societies past, present and future. With a leading editorial team, the …
13 May 2015
The thirteen Ps of big data
Big data are often described as being characterised by the ‘3 Vs’: volume, variety, and velocity, sometimes augmented with value, veracity/validity, virality, and viscosity. These characterisations principally come from the worlds of data science and data …
13 May 2015
We’re more than mere consumers, and business should remember that
Companies collect an ever-growing amount of information on customers, but forgetting the individuals behind big data is detrimental, not least to business, writes author and speaker John C. Havens. Today’s customers, empowered by mobile technologies and …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

See all articles