Monday, 18 February 2013


The task was to observe some people and derive a product by finding a need that they had.Unfortunately most of the people that I interact with regularly aren't suitable subjects -I had an idea based around homework, but understandably schools won't let you in to observe the pupils; the other idea was based around the elderly but similar problems arise and, in addition, there comes a stage where the new technology you are going to be picking up  is a Zimmer and not an iPhone.

Capturing a document
Capturing a document, need to share it

In my interactions with these two groups I did observe some tasks that I was carrying out, so I decided to use these for my needs. Both groups get documents that need to be dealt with, say homework for one and hospital appointments for the other, this generates a lot of paper, people need copies and all the usual. I found myself taking photos of these, as did my daughter -who promptly deleted it highlighting the need for off-phone storage, with our phones. So far so good, but the filing is where it falls down.

Document filing
Document upload and filing -there has to be a better way.
The document has to be got off the phone, one way or another, then filed somewhere locally or remotely and found again when you need it.

Needs and Goals

Here's a brainstorming list I came up with :
  1. Quick
  2. Simple
  3. Easy to use
  4. Documents are easy to find
  5. Categories
  6. Tags
  7. Date/time stamps
  8. Location stamps
  9. Safe
  10. Secure
  11. On hand -don't have to find a computer to access.
  12. Shareable
  13. Feature extraction for filing/tagging
  14. OCR for filing/tagging
  15. Social coz you have to
  16. Calender integration


Five things that might help define the solution :

The fridge wall of information
The fridge wall of information

Important household information is posted in a known, obvious and prominent place.

Filing Wallet
Filing Wallet
The old school definition of organised, either alphabetically or, as this one is, 'tagged'.

Filing Clerk
Filing Clerk
Someone to get the piece of information you want. They may have their own system specifically tailored to where they work. Slobber extra.

It should be, one click is a bit of an ask but we need to get as close as possible.

Shiny, the app should look sleek and crafted -which will be a challenge for me.


  1. Interesting - I'd say this relates to Allison's going paperless point of view: something we all struggle with I'd say. I wonder if there will be another breakthrough like the USB thumb drive that suddenly makes it easier to get things between devices - I guess an app that would auto correct photos of document to make them legible, OCR them and turn them into some distributable open format like PDF perhaps - that would be pretty cool, a smartphone camera app that would turn a photo of a document into a best effort PDF ...

    1. Yes, I did some playing around with this sort of thing in the Autumn for someone with a scanning system -but there you needed a scanner to get the image. Having got it, it can be OCR'd with greater or lesser success, I think I'd let the backend handle the image correction and OCR but it would be good for the smartphone to try and guide the user to a decent quality photo.

    2. that's a good idea - provide some tips and advice to the user while in camera mode - maybe something like a green red bar that would give you incremental feedback on the lighting, angle etc. It could almost be like a missle lock or something - once you get the tone, hit fire and you've taken a picture most likely to work for OCR ...