WIRELESS MOBILE UTILITY

Transmitting photos on the go.

Background

I picked up photography in late 2014, and my camera choice of brand was Nikon (which I still use today). When I first learned the importance of photo editing, I was obsessed with finding ways to transfer the photos to my computer with ease, and discovered Nikon Wireless Utility. However, I was unhappy with the interface and decided to conceptualize a potential application redesign.

What is Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility?

According to the Google Play Store, Wireless Mobile Utility is an application that connects smart devices to Nikon digital cameras, allowing the user to download, take remote pictures, and share their photos with friends or social networks.
Wireless Mobile Utility is an app for convenience, and for transmitting photos on the go.

Existing Features

Main features included:

  • Viewing the scene through the camera lens live in the application

  • Establishing a wireless connection and taking pictures with the camera and/or remotely from the Android smart device (self timer function included; other commands such as zoom and brightness can also be controlled remotely)

  • Importing and downloading new pictures (automatically)

  • Viewing existing photos remotely

  • The ability to “share” the photos with other applications

  • Imbedding information from the smart device to picture during upload

Concept

Instagram

As a hobbyist photographer, I understood the thrill of sharing a good photograph, or the nervous anticipation of an upcoming post-processing session. But the existing app was confusing and unfriendly to me - someone who frequently uses her phone - let alone someone who was less tech-savvy than I:

Why did I choose to model my redesign off Instagram? I was particularly enamoured with the bottom menu bar, which allowed me to switch between screens and functions seamlessly. It was integrated well with the photo-sharing nature of the application and the use of clear-cut iconography (and little text) only streamlined this more. By incorporating this idea, it would present the application capabilities to the user upfront, without him/her having to pause, backpedal, and pull up miscellaneous menus along the way.

Disclaimer: by no means did I expect all users to be acquainted with Instagram, but I would expect most to have at least heard of it.

Goals & Objectives

By basing the redesign of WMU off of a popular photo-sharing app - Instagram, my goal was to evoke a somewhat familiar experience. I opted to go down the path of similarity instead of radical innovation because it would be easier to navigate through. Despite this process heavily involving a visual redesign, the purpose would be invalidated if it didn’t make the user’s life easier.

  • Taking photos through the phone interface was fairly disorienting for me, especially when switching between camera and phone mode. I also felt that this feature was redundant - if I’m using the application, it would infer that I want to take pictures remotely. My camera should be allowed to toggle between camera and phone freely, without having to specify a switch.

  • Poor use of space allocation - the lack of menu bars meant that a lot of potential functions were either omitted or clumsily placed.

  • The lack of navigation buttons frustrated me; although I am accustomed to Android devices and their soft button controls, my iPhone-using parents are not, so they would be stuck on virtually every screen. It also left me unable to gauge where I was within the app.

Process

Personas
  • Rachael Smith, age 23

    Rachael is a fresh grad working in the entertainment industry, who enjoys regular social outings with colleagues and friends. She uses Instagram regularly, checking for updates while idle surfing and posting photos regularly (at least once a week).

  • Jonathan Hartgrave, age 67

    Jonathan is a retired English teacher who spends his time taking nature walks and photographing birds. He is not well-accustomed to technology and uses his phone mainly for emergencies, but would like to share his photos with more ease.

  • Jasmine Clough, age 41

    Jasmine is a working parent, who mainly uses her phone for taking casual photos of family and events, calling and texting her children and friends, and occasionally checking her email. She is aware of most social media networks due to exposure from her teenage children.

Navigation and Menus

As previously mentioned, I was rather annoyed by lack of navigation buttons and menu bars. To eradicate this issue, top and bottom menus were added to the application - the top encompassing the ability to go back and to call forth a help screen, (and for the import page, additional features pertaining to deleting or adding photos) and the bottom presenting available application features.

Design (Implementation)

Reflection

This was the first time I worked with Material Design (Android), which was somewhat more challenging than I had anticipated. I followed the colour scheme according to the design guide, as well as icons and elements.

I’m not fully sure of the application redesign because it has not been tested by users. Perhaps all features have not rendered properly, and I’m 110% sure there’s room for major improvement, but I had fun doing this. All in all, I am looking forward to working with more application design in the future.