Connected Design Project

IXD III Final Project

Project Brief

This project explored the creation of an original connected experience and included an Alexa-enabled device, Alexa skill, mobile app, and one additional item. The focus was to figure out how each device would work together to create this experience. I decided to create an Alexa-enabled picture frame for Nikon that would allow users to share the pictures they take with family members they may not be able to see very often. My focus for my prototype was a grandchild who would be sending pictures through the app to the picture frame that the grandma would have, allowing them to keep up to date even without social media.


October 26 – November 8

Project Kickoff

Press Release

November 9 – 22

Multi-modal flowchart

Components table

November 30 – December 7

Demo video

Case study

Product Press Release

Today, the Nikon Corporation announced their release of a new Alexa-enabled picture frame. The Nikon Picture Frame connects users with their family live, by sharing photos taken with their Nikon or smartphone right to the picture frame. Made with the family in mind, this connected experience will help families stay connected even when not together. Allowing them to keep up to date even with those who don’t use social media.

Components Table


Experience Goal

Tech Specs / Requirements

Internet-enabled product

The Alexa and internet enabled picture frame plays a major role in allowing the sharing of photos between users even if they don’t use Social Media. Keeping
people connected even if a distance away. Pictures can also be changed as
needed just by asking.

This would require connecting current Alexa software into a computer screen based picture frame. It would also need Bluetooth or internet connection abilities so it can connect to the app. The screen would just display pictures with most navigation done though VUI.

Amazon Echo

The Echo plays the role of an informative and reminder in the connected experience. Allowing users to accomplish initial informative information to get their next picture or remind them to send a picture if they have not done so in awhile.

It would require that it be able to collect information from the picture frame/app and your camera. Allowing it to answer picture related questions like space and when it was last used. However, having to open the skill first rather than just being able to ask Alexa directly does not feel natural, so to make a more connected experience it would be nice to be able to code the experience right into Alexa probably using JavaScript. For now however, it would probably be designed as an Alexa Skill.

Mobile App

The mobile experience plays the role of allowing notifications to be sent to the user’s phone from VUI interactions from
the frame, while also allowing users to upload photos to the picture frame. It will also allow users to take photos with their phone that they can send as well. A place to keep all photos for the frame organized and up to date.

It would require a mobile device running either IOS or android systems. The first draft design would be designed using Google Material Design but as the product continues to expand it would also be designed and developed for IOS as well in the future. It will also need to
connect to the cloud to send photos to frame and access the camera to take photos. Bluetooth would also need to be enabled to download photos directly from a professional camera.

Additional Digital Component

The additional digital component of the camera plays the role of allowing the user to take higher quality pictures with their professional camera that they can send to the frame as well. Giving users options when taking photos.

It would require connecting current Alexa software into the camera along with Bluetooth capabilities so photos can be uploaded straight from camera to the app.

Multi-device Flowchart

Who is it for?

Nikon Picture Frame is for families. Especially now, when COVID has kept families from getting together this picture frame will allow families to stay connected even when far apart. Based on my own personal experience and others I have talked to, this idea came from the idea that my grandma usually always asks us to send her pictures, so she can stay updated with our lives. She does not use social media like most elderly, so she can’t just look there. That got me thinking, what if there was a way to send digital photos easily and without hassle. That is how I came up with this idea of a digital picture frame that would be connected to an app. That way family members could easily upload their photos to the person who has the picture frame staying connected in a fast and easy way.

Design Feedback

Feedback I received was from non-designers. I wanted to get feedback from someone who might use the product if it were to become a real thing. Feedback I received was that they really liked the idea and wished it was an actual project. From the app design they said they like the simple clean look of it and how it focused on the pictures. They also liked how you would be able to connect your DSLR camera to the app making it easy to access those photos rather than taking out their SD card to first download to their computer. One piece of feedback I received on how to enhance the app was to add an album feature that way users could easily organize their pictures by date or place. That way the user with the frame could ask for a slideshow from a certain album. Overall, I received positive feedback and small design suggestions on how I could improve my design and enhance the user experience. 

After getting feedback, I realized if I had more time and COVID was not an issue I would have loved to get in person feedback from my design peers. I think this feedback would allow my to improve my design even more.

Video Demo


What was most challenging about creating a connected UX product concept?

One of the most challenging things about creating this project I think was creating my press release. I am not the greatest of writers and it always takes me a long time to put my thoughts on paper. We were also assigned to create this project using Amazon’s “Working Backwards” approach. This means that the press release was the first thing I created. It was hard to write how I envisioned my product working or even how it would actually work as a connected experience. However, after completing the flowchart I felt way more confident about my idea. 

What part of this project did you enjoy most? What part of this project did you enjoy least?

I really enjoyed creating the app mockup in Adobe XD and creating my demo video. One of my hobbies is photography, so creating my own type of photo album app was fun. I also enjoy editing videos and creating motion pieces, so creating the demo video was also fun and allowed me to be creative. My least favorite part was writing the press release. Just like I said earlier, I am not the best writer and found it to be the most challenging part of the whole project.

How was your creative process challenged by this project? What were the similarities in how you approached this project and other digital design projects? What were the differences?

I was challenged as I had to think about how each aspect of my experience would be connected. What would the app look like? How would it be connected? What type of question would a user ask their Alexa that would be connected to my product? It forced me to use different aspects of design rather than just focusing on one. There was VUI, a mobile app, and a motion design demo video. The similarities in how I approached this project were similar to my previous projects, I just had to work on different types of design all at the same time. One big similarity was the creation of a flowchart as I use flowcharts in other projects as well to figure out how everything will go together. One of the differences was the working backwards approach as usually I start with sketching ideas. However, this approach made me really focus on what my idea actually was and get my thoughts out on paper. Later giving me a good direction to go off of.

What new challenges did you face when communicating and prototyping your connected UX product? How did you overcome them?

The challenges I faced were thinking of how everything would be connected. This challenge was pretty easy to overcome, I just had to think long and hard and eventually I figured it out. Another challenge I faced was how I was going to layout my app. I tried multiple different layouts until I finally found what I thought was the best one. I then asked for feedback and made changes based on that feedback. Overall, I think it turned out good but to make it even better I would want to ask for additional feedback from my designer peers.

Between designing for digital and designing a connected experience, which do you prefer? Why?

I enjoyed designing for a connected experience and it is an important thing to learn. However, I think designing for digital is what I prefer. This is because I felt like I was thinking about so many different  things all at the same time. I probably would have preferred connected experiences more if I first focused on creating an app. Designed the app until it was basically perfect. Then figured out how a VUI would connect. Focusing on one thing at a time until it is perfect then putting it all together. I don’t know if that would actually work but in my head it makes sense. Overall, I think I was able to create a successful product.

For this project, you had to simultaneously focus on original concept, physical/digital interaction, and movie magic. How did you juggle those responsibilities? Which were your strengths? Which can you improve on, and how will you work on those areas of improvement in future projects?

What helped me juggle these responsibilities were how everything was scheduled each week with different assignments due. It helped to spread everything out. However, I did have to keep myself accountable and work on it each week so that I would be able to complete it on time. I gave myself deadlines besides the ones that were already given so that I would not fall behind. My strength was being able to manage my time properly so that I could finish on time. I think I could have improved by doing a bit more research and applying that research to my work. Research is an important step and I feel like I did a bit but if I did more my project may have taken a different design approach or even ended up looking different then what I came up with. It would have allowed me to also do a deep dive to see if there were any similar products already out there. In the future I hope to be able to use my strengths to my advantage. Also since I know what I can improve I will be able to keep it in mind the next time I create a project. I will give myself extra time to do the research I need to back up my designs and create compelling user friendly pieces.