©2019 by Julia

Cricut Explore Air 2 Usability

Background

Crafters have been using technology for functionality and enjoyment for years. From early looms, home sewing machines, to 3D printers--creative tools have made crafting easier and faster, becoming a billion dollar industry.

 

A relatively new craft technology is the electronic printing and cutting machine, such as Cricut and Cameo products. I am a big fan of the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, but had some concerns about its usability. The product line has a strong online following, but questions on buttons, settings, and directions are common. I decided to introduce two new users to my machine and assess their experiences to inform some modifications. 

Challenge: Assess physical usability of Cricut Explore Air 2 machine and identify potential low-cost improvements.

Project Details

Tools

  • Sketch

  • Miro

  • Otter.io

  • Illustrator

  • WebAIM Contrast Checker

Notes

  • Personal project

  • Informal recruitment and testing process to practice physical device UX/UI

Process Details

Usability Tests

New User Task Observation (2)

Analysis

Affinity Mapping (Miro)

Heuristic Analysis

Comparative Research

Vintage Sewing Machine

Modern Sewing Machine

Computerized Embroidery Machine

Silhouette Cameo

Ideation

Sketches

Prototypes

Proposals

Decals

Next Steps

Software Usability

Planning and Research

Product Usability Testing

I invited two individuals who have expressed interest in the Cricut Explore Air 2 (A2) in the past to participate in solo 30-minute informal usability tests. I asked them each the following questions:

  1. Have you used an A2 before?

  2. Have you used similar electronic crafting machines?

  3. How comfortable are you with computerized machines such as this?

  4. What are you initial impressions of the machine and controls?

  5. Are you familiar with any of the controls?

  6. How certain are you that you understand how to operate the machine from what you see?

My users were both in their late 60’s and have worked with computers their entire adult lives, reporting high levels of comfort with similar machines. They are both crafters and enjoy learning about new techniques and gadgets. They had both heard of the machine before but had never used one. They were interested in trying a Cricut before the test and one would considering purchasing one.

My initial affinity map in Miro just assesses the users' initial impressions of the physical machine. A continuation of this project will address the machine's design software and craft execution. I found several similarities between my users' experiences:

Comparative Research

I came away with three main concerns:

  1. Legibility and intuitiveness of material selector dial

  2. Unfamiliarity of Cricut logo, the mysterious C

  3. Any other opportunities to provide error avoidance as the users expressed anxiety 

Comparative Analysis

After seeing the main features my users interacted with on the A2 and their concerns, I researched competitor products for comparison and reference. I was especially interested in how the Silhouette Cameo 3 and Broth ScanNCut 2 machines handled material selection, system status, and controls.

Synthesized User Interview and Contextual Inquiry  Findings

My interviews and comparisons gave me some ideas for low-cost solutions users could implement at home.

  1. Increase legibility and usefulness of material selector dial

  2. Customize the C logo to increase world system match and reflect software, which prompts user to press "Go".

  3. Provide error-avoidance and user support without the pixel space and interactivity of a touch screen.

Cricut A2 User Problem Statement

Home crafters need clearer, more supportive UI elements to increase familiarity and confidence while using the A2, which they have invested money in.

Hypothesis

 

We believe that by designing clear, customizable UI decals, we can support A2 users.

Ideation and Sketching

I had several ideas to explore:​

Increase legibility and usefulness of material selector dial.

​​Considerations:

Low cost to users

Customizable

How can we make applying the customization easy?

Change colors to meet contrast needs of machine themes

Keep design simple to avoid frustration while creating

Example of Current Dial

Proposals

Customize C button to increase familiarity and reflect software

​​Considerations:

Small button

Don't want to take away from logo recognition

Change colors to meet contrast needs of machine themes

Keep design simple to avoid frustration while creating

Example of Current Button

Proposals

Provide error-avoidance without interactivity of a touch screen.

Considerations:

Settings reminder

Customizable

Change colors to meet contrast needs of machine themes

Keep design simple to avoid frustration while creating

Example of Current Guidance

Proposal

Feedback on Version 1: In Progress

I am currently testing my designs and will report back!

Next Steps

Iteration

Initial Screen with View Choices (v2)

Content Creation Detail (v2)

Software Usability

Machine Usability