Cheryl Platz: Interaction Design Process

As all good designers know, the value of our work is not measured simply by our output but by our approach to problem solving. The below represents only a portion of my work. Much of my work at Amazon and Microsoft is still under NDA and cannot be shown publicly.

Case Studies

For an end-to-end look at my interaction design process, see these detailed case studies:

Selected Project Briefs

PerceptOR: Operator Control for Off-Road Robots

PerceptOR robot
  • Role: Project Lead, Interaction Designer, Prototyper
  • Client: National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC) / PerceptOR Team
  • Target users: Military operatives
  • Team size: 5 designers/researchers

The PerceptOR project was a DARPA-funded initiative to develop efficient unmanned military reconnaissance robots. Our team was asked to design and prototype an improved interface for remote operators of the PerceptOR rovers.

Our end-to-end design process included blue-sky brainstorming, information architecture explorations, wireframing, interactive prototyping, and iterative usability testing. Our proposed design was integrated into the functional robot prototypes.

Interesting learnings included the 'delight' our users found in mastering our system - in the end, what we provided 'felt' like a game in the way it provided ample immediate feedback and opportunities for mastery.

Final console design as shown in the design document deliverable, which also covers previous iterations and changes made.

Virpets Theater (Children's Museum of Pittsburgh)

  • Role: Technical Director, Lead Usability Specialist
  • Client: Pittsburgh Children's Museum
  • Target users: Children, museum patrons
  • Team size: 4 (2 artists, producer, and myself)

During my graduate study at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center, I spent the Spring 2003 semester working on the initial Virpets Theatre team (later renamed Animateering). Our team worked with the Pittsburgh Children's Museum to create an early prototype of an interactive virtual puppetry exhibit for permanent installation opening in the Fall of 2004. The exhibit would allow children to puppeteer digitized 3D models of select puppets from the Museum's collection in real time, creating and performing stories for their family and friends without causing any harm to the museum's artifacts.

On this project, my duties included improving and extending the existing software architecture; designing a new Flash front end for the installation; creating technical specifications; creating a control communication system between the stage, front-end and physical controls; and orchestrating user tests.

For more information on later extensions of our work, see the Animateering website.

Disney's DTV

  • Role: Interaction Designer, Prototyper
  • Client: Destination Disney On-Site (Walt Disney World)
  • Target users: Disney resort guests
  • Team Size: 2 designers, lead, Imagineering consult

In 2002, I and another designer were tasked with prototyping an idea for a new resort television system within the Disney resorts that would deliver interactive information, reservations, and more delivered via in-room set top box systems.

Our deliverables included a deep information architecture for the system, an interactive flash prototype, and a DVD-based animatic version of the system. Our prototype was presented to the President of the Parks & Resorts division but was eventually killed due to the cost of obtaining the set-top boxes and softness in the travel industry post-9/11.

Interesting learnings: the difficulties of developing for low-resolution televisions; how to adapt to the 10-foot viewing problem, and the challenges presented by remote control based navigation.

Cheryl Platz