Knock Knock: Our Winning Project at C2MTL
Par Pascale Morneau
Last week at C2MTL, I participated in the Design Challenge (#deschallenge) organized by Tata Communications and F. & Co. It was a creative experience, rich in ideas and interesting meetings. A total of 15 Montreal designers were invited to participate in the Design Challenge; we were divided into five teams of three. After two days of work, each team presented its project to a jury of five members.
The team consisted of Cynthia Savard Saucier, Sébastien Camden and myself. We worked hard, motivated by the goal of creating an interesting project. Personally, my primary goal was to take this opportunity to come up with a promising idea of which our team would be proud, but I have to admit that being awarded first place by the jury made the experience even better.
We were given a large mandate that could be approached from different angles. We had to find a way to improve collaboration within small work teams that were often remote, but always connected. We were free to undertake the project as we wanted: as a prototype, a sketch, a wireframe, or a more advanced design. Briefly, here is the vision that Cynthia, Sébastien and I developed:
The project that we developed, Knock Knock, facilitates spontaneous face-to-face team meetings while reducing unwanted interruptions. According a CubeSmart study, unwanted interruptions cost more than $60,000 per year per employee, since it takes an average of 200 minutes per day (yes, 200 minutes!) for employees to regain their concentration after such interruptions.
Knock Knock allows team members to meet quickly and easily, since all the necessary communication tools (electronic or voice mail, sending documents, video conferencing, etc.) are centralized and accessible from the desktop.
Each tab allows the user to see the list of team members for a given project. This structure makes navigation easy while also providing functions that optimize the effectiveness of communications. For example, the automatic completion of email subject lines according to the name of the project makes it easier for users to search their email accounts and classify its contents.
When users view their list of team contacts, they can see a photo as well as the status of their colleagues (e.g. at the office and available, at the office and busy, or out of the office). With a click, the user can see the possible modes of communication in the order of preference of the selected colleague.
With Knock Knock, we sought a fast and intuitive way for users to communicate their status. A quick move with a smartphone is all it takes for a status update, and a stylish and useful object helps them to remember how to keep their status up-to-date: when users dock their cell phones with the back of the phone toward the wooden dock, their status is “available”. If the phone is docked with the face toward the dock, their status becomes “busy”. If a request is received while the status is still “available” but that the user is suddenly busy, the phone only needs to be given a little shake for the request to be postponed. The docking station can be carried anywhere and it can also be used to charge the device.
We opted for a discreet notification: an elegant red glow on the computer’s desktop tells the user that he has received a request. Teams are also hidden when not in use to avoid visual distractions.
We thought of the name Knock Knock as we reflected on the meaning of our tool. We thought of the ritual of knocking on a door before addressing someone, hence the name “Knock Knock” and the choice of wood for the material of the docking station.
The Next Step
After being awarded first place in the Design Challenge, my teammates and I were invited by Tata Communications to Las Vegas from June 17th to 22nd. We presented Knock Knock several times at the InfoComm Conference. This wonderful experience continued beyond C2MTL and I had the pleasure of sharing news of this project on my Facebook page and my Twitter account! Here is my photo album of the event!