Indico is a set of interactive tablets designed for team collaboration. The tablets have an interface primarily used for individual sketching and can further be connected with other tablets to form a larger collective working space. Inspired by challenges from team work sessions where there is lack of wallspace, an abundance of sticky note waste, and poor documentation, Indico aims to alleviate these issues. Each device serves as a digital sketchpad for writing and sharing notes. Notes are collected and posted in a virtual pool that can be viewed at any time. When Indico is connected altogether, the tablets create a larger wall space for annotating and organizing the pool of notes. Combining the tablets encourages physical team cooperation as well as on-screen participation. In addition, a digital workspace allows for documentation to be accessible and sharable.
The idea for Indico stemmed from key pain points in team collaboration: lack of wallspace, an abundance of sticky note waste, and poor documentation for clients or outside team members. We compared competitors to adopt features that would strengthen Indico as well as features should be avoided. Competitors included softwares, applications, and digital products for real time sketching, document sharing, and team collaboration, ie. Slack, Basecamp, Sketchboard, Google Apps, Microsoft Surface, and Google Jamboard.
We conducted interviews to find out what teams needed or struggled with during collaborative meetings. From the interviews we formed three personas: the Novice who has never worked in a team setting, the Intermediate who is working with a new team, and the Advanced who works with multiple teams. The personas influenced what features would become essential for Indico, such as a simple interface for new users, multiple connection forms for diverse teams, and seamless documentation for outside parties.
After collecting all the insights from our research, we moved on to the prototyping stage. One of the most challenging problems we faced in our project was figuring out what physical shape Indico should take. We decided that Indico was not going to be another downloadable application. Instead it stands alone as its own unique physical product. Indico required screens that seamlessly connected with one another, a screen that would slip over the edge of the product without a border or barrier. The weight and size also had to be considered specifically for Indico. Being a device for sketching, Indico is the average size of a notebook. And noting its purpose to connect with other tablets, we had to calculate the particular light-weight and durability for these interactions. Thus, the aspects of being a unique sketching tablet that can transform into different structures demanded that Indico was its own physical shape and not just a software.
The name "Indico" is derived from the statement "INDIvidual yet COllective." United, the individual tablets created formations that was narrowed down to three styles: Dome, Linear, and Fan. The Dome allows the tablets to stand up and create a vertical working space. The Linear makes a flat rectangular shape. Lastly, the Fan creates a flat surface that curves in a circular segment. The various forms encourage participants to move and walk around their workspace, stimulating action and creativity. The type of connection is dependant on what is most comfortable for the team, strengthening productivity. We tested Indico's endurance and formations by building physical prototypes. The prototype materials consisted of medium density fiberboard (MDF) and acrylic, laser cut for precise measurements. Connecting individual tablets together was made possible by inserting neodymium magnets into the MDF. We intend to construct Indico's final shell with aluminum and polycarbonate glass.
Alongside building the physical form, we developed the user interface and user experience. Before even diving into the interface design, low and mid-level fidelity wireframes were sketched. These wireframes were used for user testings including paper prototyping and digital applications such as Invision or Principle. Our test subjects were given different objectives and multiple scenarios such as: sketch ideas, organize notes, filter ideas, create a new team, or connect the tablets. The digital prototypes gave us insights on how to make Indico more user friendly, digital yet physically engaging, and simplify the interface's core features. We landed on three main components for Indico: Sketching, Template Sketching, and Saved Sketches. Sketching is the most upfront and essential feature for Indico: this allows teams to write or draw their ideas on the interface. Template Sketching provides teams with an agenda, strategy, or system to guide and stimulate users on what to sketch. Lastly, Saved Sketches is a feature that permits teams to return to previous projects for review or sharing. Sharing is seamless from Indico to other devices, ie. mobile phone or desktop, so that data can be accessible for all team members as well as those not present in the meeting.
On top of being a set of tablets for team sharing, Indico can stand alone as a single device. Most convenient for users on the go, Indico can store sketches that can be later shared with a group. Indico has a "live feed" feature that allows notes to be shared at all times on every device, regardless of being connected or not. This is especially beneficial to team members who are not present but are synced in the same ideation group.
Indico intends to assist in collaborative team sessions. By providing a digital surface for sketching, Indico saves resources and wall space. By allowing multiple connection forms, the Dome, Linear, and Fan, it engages teams into hands-on participation. Designed for seamless sharing from one device to the next, Indico creates a better system of documentation for everyone. As a physical and digital product, Indico can accommodate for every team's needs.