Peeper is an intelligent bird feeder that provides a smart way for bird watchers to observe wild birds. With a camera and a motion sensor, the feeder sends notifications to your smartphone when it detects movement. You can control it remotely to take photos and videos, allowing you to use these images to create bird journals based on what you saw.
Design both physical and digital prototypes to test this idea, along with its usability and functionality.
Gold Award in Mobile App 2018, Non-Pro, Indigo Design Award
You receive a notification when a bird visits the feeder. You can watch the bird via live stream or observe it in person and then take photos or videos to create a bird observation journal. Last, you can review the pictures and videos to relive the exciting moments when the birds came to visit the feeder.
With the filter and sort functions, you can identify each bird and explore more facts about them effortlessly. It is also possible to track each bird visitation history with the user's observation journal.
With Peeper, the smart bird observation feeder, you will never miss any delightful moment when birds come to snack at your feeder.
I followed the five steps of the UX design process, which includes empathizing, discovery, ideation, prototyping, and testing.
Ever since I was a child, my parents would always take me on bird watching trips, and I learned to memorize each bird I saw over the years. Nonetheless, now that I have a busy schedule, I am not able to enjoy birds as much as I would like. I have a bird feeder on my balcony. Unfortunately, I don't know when birds come to visit, and I may not be around the feeder when they arrive, so I missed many chances to see them.
For this reason, I decided to create a little window into the life of a bird. To solve the issue of not noticing when birds were in sight, I decided to create a smart bird feeder.
According to How to Avoid Common Bird Feeder Problems, by Sara Weich, I found some issues that many feeder owners have faced.
Because of the time of day, feeder owners do not see birds are visiting their feeders.
Squirrels often are attracted to the feeder, and it is challenging to attract birds and keep squirrels away.
Feeders put too close to windows will sometimes cause birds to mistake the reflection of the outdoors for an opening, and the birds hit the window when they attempt to fly through the opening.
To solve these issues, I decided to create a smart bird feeder with a motion sensor, a camera, and a buzzer. Therefore, owners can put the feeder in any place and monitor the feeder from afar to observe birds or drive other animals away.
With this idea, I wanted to know how other pioneers solved this problem. I tried to find competitors, but I couldn't find any direct competitors in the market yet. Therefore, I researched other IoT products and was inspired by smart pet feeders.
Smart pet feeders had many similar functions with smart bird feeders. They both needed motion sensors and cameras to track movements. The key differences were the bird feeder needs to be placed outside of the house, where other unwanted animals might visit the feeder too.
To better understand my potential target audience, I read several reports about the feeder market. According to the USA Wild Bird Feeding Industry Yearly Research 2015, by Ask Your Target Market, I narrowed down my target audience, which is people who live in the urban area and the suburbs who have a busy full-time job.
chose them as my target audience because these people don't have much of a chance to see the visiting birds as they are not around the traditional feeders when the birds are. Also, they can afford a higher price for a smart bird feeder.
To put myself in the user's shoes, I created a persona to vividly illustrate and summarize my primary users based on what I learned from the market research and interviews.
Eric wants to observe the visiting birds while he is not at home.
Beyond the primary flow, I wanted to consider this application as a whole project, so I could also pay some attention to other useful functions, which include media, bird guide, and more.
I followed the user flow and site map as a guideline to design a paper prototype because a prototype is worth 1000 meetings. With the paper prototype, I could test the flow visually with my potential users.
Based on the user's feedback, I ideated the prototype.
To consider the interaction between each page, I created a clickable low-fidelity prototype with Figma. In this version, I could get more interaction feedback from my interviewers.
Flow 1 - Receive a notification then save it as a bird journal
Flow 2 - Explore more facts about the American tree sparrow
Very clear instructions and interface. - An interviewer
To understand more about how the sensors working with the application, I printed out the feeder prototype and set sensors inside it. I coded the application to present the real data with the Ionic framework with AngularJS.
Here, I needed to thank Jesus Guerrero, a back-end developer, who helped me built the back-end server on Raspberry Pi with node.js and Sijun Yang, an industrial designer, who helped me built feeder prototype.
Beyond the limitation of the coding prototype, I considered how the data transports between the physical bird feeder and the application worked. Also, I researched what sensors I might need to add to my prototype for my core functions to work correctly.
With Peeper, you will never miss the chance to watch birds closely. You can receive bird notifications with photos on your phone wherever you go. Also, you can review your bird observation histories and learn more facts about birds whenever you want.
Based on an analysis of over 87 respondents,
I learned about several new technologies and improved my coding skills during this project, including Raspberry Pi, Angular JS, and ionic framework. To create this exciting prototype, I cooperated closely with Jesus Guerrero, the back-end developer, and Sijun Yang, the industrial designer. I got much useful feedback and guidance from them and the interviewers. Therefore, I could iterate the feeder and the application, again and again, to present my final design here.