ULTIMATE LIGHTNING MCQUEEN 

 

This project is from my time at Sphero, a toy robotics company based in Boulder, Colorado. The aim of this product was to build the most life-like Lightning McQueen ever produced as well as to create a user experience which enhanced and facilitated interaction with the Pixar Cars franchise and the world of robotics.

Some of the main objectives included bringing Lightning McQueen to life, having a sensible fictional wrapper, allowing users to select and play different activities, and to design for the intent of expanding the content in the future. My team and I accomplished this while creating an app to bot experience that was easy to use, fun, and engaging. 

Project Timeframe: 9 months

MY ROLE 

 

I was part of the design team for this project and was responsible for the experience strategy, UX design, and research for this product. I acquired the background and experience needed for this product while working with Sphero on the project prior to Ultimate Lightning McQueen, the Star Wars Force Band, as well as working on projects within my coursework at the University of Colorado, Denver. Creating a connected UX environment requires fundamental human-centered design approaches. The user has not one, but multiple devices to interact with and each one demands equal time and attention in its production.

 

In the case of Ultimate Lightning McQueen, as with all Sphero products, the user's focus is regularly on the robot and the direction in which it is going. However, the app component needs just as much design attention. Both the robot and companion app must seamlessly guide the user towards their goal at every interaction point. 

SKILLS USED

  • UX Design 

  • Human-Centered Design

  • UX Research

  • Competitor Research

PROJECT DELIVERABLES

  • UX Flows 

  • Wireframes

  • Design Review Docs 

  • UXR Documentation

TOOLS USED

  • LucidChart

  • Marvel: Prototyping App

  • Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop

  • JIRA: Project Management Tool

PHASE ONE

EXPLORATION & INITIAL UX DESIGN

DEMOGRAPHIC & MARKET RESEARCH

 

With the third movie of the Cars franchise debuting in summer of 2017, the expected target demographic was that of higher income families with children of about 6 years old. These children would be eager to see the newest movie and thus ecstatic about the potential of owning their own personal, life-like Lightning McQueen. It was necessary for the Lightning McQueen team to create a product unlike any other widespread toy or Pixar Cars novelty item. Most Cars products to this date included basic driving functionality via remote controls and repetitious sound bites. In order to differentiate our product in this market, the team and I concentrated our efforts on designing the most life-like, fun, and engaging Lightning McQueen to ever be produced. 

FEATURE EXPLORATION

 

We began the process of developing Ultimate Lightning McQueen by brainstorming various feature ideas which would align with both the business' goals and the end users' goals. The features that would ultimately end up in the final product required a sensible fictional wrapper with content that could be expanded in the future. This design objective created the basis for all features discussed and eventually prototyped to be tested with the target demographic. These features also had to be fun and create new experiences with Lightning McQueen during each use, bringing the user back to the product time over time. The team and I continued to conceptualize features for this product as the project progressed and user research feedback/results came in. We also maintained a level of usability throughout production, whether features were being edited, added, or removed.

 

The app began with intertwined feature ideas where an action or achievement in one feature would be reflected in a separate feature with different attributes. For example, when the user completed a round of 'pit stop' or memory, they would have more options available to them in order to complete races faster. This system encouraged users to spend more time with the product and strategize their game play for maximum achievements gained. 

INITIAL UX DESIGN

 

After brainstorming various feature ideas, testing what we could around the office, and narrowing the features down for the scope of the product, I created the initial wireframes for the Lightning McQueen app. These proved valuable in determining the next steps for production as well as uncovering unforeseen questions about the functionality and usability of the app. 

App Overview: Wireframes & UX Flow

Landing Screen/Main Drive Console Flow & Artist Sketch

Garage Flow & Artist Sketch

Navigation and Viewing Achievements Flow & Artist Sketch

Navigation to Activities Flow & Artist Sketch

Messaging/Notifications Flow & Artist Sketch

Racing Activity Flow & Artist Sketch

Settings Flow

Out-Of-Box Flow

Messaging Flow

PHASE TWO

USER INTERVIEWS & TESTING

ROUND ONE

 

Once the Lightning McQueen app and physical product were in good shape, connecting to each other, and providing the ability to actually drive the robot, I devised a test plan to gather insight into our design plan and strategy. The first round of user testing involved usability testing as well as a smoke and mirrors test on a new feature. This feature would increase the scope of work dramatically, so we wanted to test it out with users to ensure we were dividing our efforts properly

  

OBJECTIVES

  • Establish interest level in the voice command features overall

  • Determine which voice command feature the user is more keen on

  • Identify user friction during voice command features

KEY MEASUREMENTS

  • Qualitative

    • What is the interest level for the voice command features?

    • Is one of these voice command features favored over another, current feature?

    • What are some pain points for the user in each voice command feature?

  • Quantitative

    • Which voice command feature is favored over the other? (Drive vs Interaction)

    • What is the expected frequency for app updates?

    • What is the user’s familiarity with different products?

STAKEHOLDERS

  • Product Team

  • Software Team

  • Firmware Team

PROSPECTIVE TEST SUBJECTS 

  • Internal employees (not on LMQ team)

  • External participants within target demographic

TEST PLAN 

  

DEPENDENCIES

  • Hardware

    • LMQ EP2-29

    • iPhone/iPad

  • Software

    • Current App Build

    • Marvel Tutorial

  • Other

    • Card Sorting

 

LOCATION

  • Sphero (temp) HQ

 

LEGAL

  • NDA not required for internal employees

  • NDA required for any external participants

  

45 MINUTE SESSIONS

  • Darby to control LMQ during voice commands

5 MINUTE INTRO

  • Intros & explain the process

  • NDA/photo release, if required

  • ASK: Familiarity with driving Sphero products

  • ASK: Familiarity with driving RC products

  • ASK: Familiarity with using voice command systems (which ones?)

  • Talk through your experience as much as possible!

2 MINUTE UPDATES QUESTION

  • ASK: What is a reasonable frequency for app updates?

  • Additional feedback

5 MINUTES WITH VELOCITY-BASED DRIVING EXPERIENCE

  • Give participant driving command list at this point

  • OBSERVATION: What do they do?

    • How much fun do they have?

    • What pain points do they encounter?

  • Do they ask for help?

    • If so, why? What did they ask?

  • ASK: Did LMQ move fast enough, too fast or too slow?

    • Expand on your experience with this type of driving.

  • Other observations/additional feedback

5 MINUTES WITH DISTANCE-BASED DRIVING EXPERIENCE

  • OBSERVATION: What do they do?

    • How much fun do they have?

    • What pain points do they encounter?

  • Do they ask for help?

    • If so, why? What did they ask?

  • ASK: Did LMQ move a far enough distance each time, too far or not far enough?

    • Expand on your experience with this type of driving.

  • Other observations/additional feedback

TEST DESIGN 

  

3 MINUTE DRIVING DEBRIEF

  • ASK: Which driving method do you prefer?

    • Why?

  • ASK: Would you have expected this feature on LMQ?

    • Why?

  • ASK: Do you want this feature on LMQ?

    • Why?

  • Additional feedback

  • What did you like & not like about each of these driving modes?

5 MINUTES WITH CHARACTER INTERACTIONS

  • Give participant character interaction commands at this point

  • OBSERVATION: What command do they say first?

    • How much fun do they have?

    • What commands do they have trouble with?

    • Why?

  • Do they ask for help?

    • If so, what did they ask?

  • ASK: What was your favorite interaction?

  • ASK: What other types of interactions would you like to see?

  • Other observations/additional feedback

5 MINUTE DEBRIEF 

  • ASK: What was your favorite part about today?

    • Do you prefer the drive commands or character interactions experience?

    • Why?

  • ASK: If you had to pick 5 out of 6 of these features, which would you pick? You do not need to include your choice from above if you don’t want to.

    • Why?

  • ASK: Did you encounter any confusion during this experience? If so, where?

  • ASK: What are some ways we can improve this experience?

  • ASK: Any additional feedback?

PHASE THREE

USER TESTING & DESIGN ITERATION

DEEP DIVE

 

To keep this page from being too overwhelming, the rest of this project is tucked away in Google Drive folders. If you would like to dive deeper, please feel free to use the links below.

303.803.2161
Denver, CO
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