Multitouch Lab Journal

Challenge

For scientists it is absolutely crucial to document their experiments in a clear and reproducible way. This difficult and tedious task often costs them a lot of time that would be better spend on the research itself. In collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) we set out to find a better solution as part of our Bachelor’s thesis.

Work

In order to gain a deep understanding of the users and their jobs, we did lots of user research. In addition to desk research and an online survey, we visited several biochemical laboratories and interviewed scientists in their context of work.

During the research phase, we found out that documenting a series of experiments in a linear fashion (as it is done in traditional journals) doesn’t support the often non-linear and parallel way how scientists are working. We also learned that a tree-structure is a much better way to visualize and organize experiments as it reflects the mental model how scientists envision their work.

With these two core insights in mind, we entered the ideation phase and did lots of sketching, wireframing and (paper) prototyping. After many iterations, we came up with a unique interaction concept and cool UI design for the touchscreen tabletop.

Result

The “Multitouch Lab Journal” is an innovative software solution that runs on a multi-touch tabletop, directly integrated into laboratory workbenches. It supports scientists in their daily work by helping them to better document their experiments and collaborate with others. The unique user interface is geared towards flexibility and takes full advantage of the multi-touch technology.

The Bachelor thesis won an award and was featured in several magazines. The feedback from scientists was also very positive.

Project Basics

  • Type of WorkBachelors's Thesis
  • Timeframe3 month
  • My ResponsibilitesUser Research · Conceptual Design · Visual Design · Documentation
  • TeamVitali Fischbein
  • ToolsPen and Paper · Illustrator · Photoshop

Awards & Publications

  • IIIDaward 2011 by the International Institute for Information Design
  • GIT Magazine (professional journal for laboratories) published a double-sided article about the MLJ (Issue 7, July 2011, p. 452)
  • PAGE magazine features the MLJ in a short article (Issue 08.2011, p. 20).
  • WEAVE Magazine published a short article (Issue 05.11, p. 013)