Project 3: City Laundry

Finding useful ways of introducing voice interaction to home appliances in order to improve family quality of life.


Project Summary: Integrating Voice User Interfacing into everyday home tasks and chores.

Challenge: Find useful ways to introduce voice interaction to the laundry process.

Establish a set of activations that would improve any busy professionals life.

Strategy: Establish a clear line of conversational flow in order to create a voice activated laundry process.

Time : 2020 - Assembled in 1 Month

Technology : Alexa, Terminal

Storyboard image - laundry


Understanding Current Process


Communication Research

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Laundry facilities & Noise

The biggest obstacle to consider is how the distinct sounds of laundry, and how it could effect the voice interactive process. 

Research compiled by Nielsen revealed this was a concern for voice interaction and the music experience. Users making commands required voice recognition and speaker systems in order to understand the difference between a command and the background.

This led me to believe the voice interactive process for public laundry would only be successful joined with an app to view progress, and the users own phone to recognize voice commands. 


Current Off Site Laundry Process

By understanding the off-site laundry process, we can clearly view the pain points, areas of opportunity, and all the components necessary to completing the task. 

I use an app called "Concepts" for IPAD, to draw and illustrate, and paste the illustrations inside Milanote in order to provide notes, details, and descriptions to the Storyboard. 


User Journey in Storyboards

Storyboard Image - Laundry Process
Storyboard Image - Laundry

Current User Flow

Only through walking step by step along the process of loading laundry I was able to identify patterns in the process that were important to capture inside the washing machine/app/voice command process.

By separating the process into 3 categories : User Defined Process, User/Machine interactions, and Customer/User Task. 

This distinguishes the tasks that could be addressed through technology, and the tasks that require time and energy on the user's part.


User Journey Flow

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By better understanding who might utilize system such as this, and the problems it could solve. Those unaccustomed to doing their laundry, or only recently took over the responsibility would be best served with thoughtful and yet clear questions to guide them through the process.

Profile was created utilizing Milanote.

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Mapping out the Conversation


Non Verbal Queues

Communication Facts

I decided to take a different approach to the voice activation process, by introducing sound cues in place of a verbal confirmation or verbal passing of information.

Instead of :

USER : Siri, please start the washing machine.

SIRI : Starting Laundry

USER : Start the washing machine

SIRI : (door locks)

 (water runs through washing machine)

Why? Because in real life, we are listening more often than we are talking. I feel the key to getting users comfortable with Voice Interactive Design is to recognize the users listening habits, not speaking habits. Afterall, we learn to speak as children by listening to non verbal and verbal queues.


User Conversation Flow

Conversation Flow

Final Outcome

Project Summary : The ability to utilize voice for laundry is great, but has many challenges: Noise, understanding of the laundry care, and the right machines to process this information.

What I learned : 

During the research and testing process, I learned the importance of keeping this to "yes/no" questions.

Testing was difficult due to the wide variety of machines on the market. 

This type of voice activation worked best when paired with an app.