Kaloyan

portfolio

Madzhunov

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EV Charge Sim

A simulation enabling product designers to test virtually how users interact with a charging station for electric vehicles.

Period
2021–2022
Expertise

Unity Development

Interaction Design

3D Design

The pains of physical prototyping

The project goal was to discover a method for product designers to evaluate how users interact with a physical product and its digital UI without actually making the physical product. The project occurred during a 5-month full-time internship at VanBerlo agency (acquired by Accenture).

Conducting user research showed that during UX testing sessions, users sometimes struggle to envision what the prototype they are testing would look and feel like as a final product. At the same time, designers strive to test the overall user interaction efficiently to ensure design quality. Such cases can impede the design process and produce inaccurate testing results. There was a need for a way to enable designers to skip iterations and gather rich user feedback sooner in the design process.

physical-prototyping

Building a VR testing environment

While pursuing the desired goal, a VR testing environment was in the making, focusing on a specific case: evaluating the user interaction with an electric charging station and its digital UI screen. The concept was brought to life by creating a 3D environment in Unity and configuring it for the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. A 3D model of the physical product was created in Blender. The immersion in the 3D world was enhanced by adding interactive cables, additional environment models, and appropriate sound effects. Finally, ProtoPie was used to design an interactive prototype of the UI. The most exciting challenges were making the UI interactive within the VR environment and establishing communication between ProtoPie and Unity.

charger-shape-exploration
charger-blender-render-wide-shot-1
charger-blender-render-wide-shot-2
charger-blender-render-mid-shot-1
charger-blender-render-close-up-1
charger-blender-close-close-up-2

An immersive and interactive VR experience

The result enables product designers to gather valuable testing feedback by virtually simulating an immersive prototype of a physical product with its digital UI. Users and clients can put on a VR headset and experience interacting with a product that still doesn't exist. In the case of this project - an electric charging station. An extended idea for this VR experience was using it as a blueprint for making similar cases in the future.

unity-start
unity-card
unity-grab-plug
unity-plug-car
unity-successful-plug
unity-car-charging
unity-car-charged