While I was working at LDLC (a french IT reseller) as a UX/UI designer, I had the chance to be part of one of the biggest projects of the company : working with the R&D team to create a lightsaber connected to a mobile app.
Waan is a fully connected lightsaber balanced for real immersion with a perfect sound responsiveness. I collaborated with an amazing team of engineers, product designers, and IoT experts for almost a year to help them create a mobile app allowing the users to synchronize their saber and configure the light and sound effects of it.
Solaari was created by LDLC, bringing together several high-tech engineers, passionate about innovation, technology and science fiction. And since (almost) nothing is impossible, they decided to make their dreams come true : design fun, trendy and very high quality products. The WAAN lightsaber is therefore a perfect example of the merging of passion and technology. When I joined the team, they had already spent nearly 2 years working on the project. The lightsabers prototypes were quite functional and they asked me to work on the mobile app. The app should at least allow users to synchronize the lightsaber using Bluetooth and configure it colors and sound effects. I have to admit that I wasn't as passionate about science fiction and Star Wars trilogy than the rest of the team, but that was okay because I brang a fresh new look on the project.
First and foremost, I spent several days immersing myself in the intergalactic world, observing its codes, rules and artistic universe. Then, I learned about our competitors by doing multiple searches on the internet, that's how I discovered that there were lightsaber academies all over the world (amazing, right ?). Anyway, the best way to immerse yourself in this universe was therefore obvious : to meet the members of these academies, these real jedis, see them in action and ask them questions about their expectations, needs or frustrations.
These are the most relevant expectations we found :
I also took all the informations collected about the users we met and created some personas to better put myself in their shoes.
After analyzing what I learned on these exploration steps, I started making some sketches & storyboards to illustrate the main user cases. This technique illustrates how the future product will be used in the real world and how it can offer several alternatives.
I started to think about a way to humanize the experience, especially the first time the user has the lightsaber between his hands. I had the idea to recreate somehow the relationship between a jedi and a young padawan. So, I started sketching how I imagined this interaction through a bot who will guide the user, speaking to him as a young new padawan arriving in the community, explaining him the first steps to synchronize, personalize his lightsaber and use the app to enjoy a 100% immersive experience.
I called on a copywriter with whom I worked to adapt the speech tone, and use the correct terms and expressions. This part of the work required an even more precise immersion in the Star Wars saga universe since it asked to correctly adopt master Yoda talk and his unmistakable syntax.
Finally, after several months analyzing, comparing, interviewing users, watching them, prototyping, testing, designing, writing scenarios, iterating, we finally came up with a functional version of the app and of the lightsabers and our company were selected to present 12 lightsabers prototypes with their dedicated app at the 2019 CES in Las Vegas. We also decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to collect funds to start a mass production and reduce the product cost. After the one month crowdfunding campaign, we collected 104.042€ thanks to 400 contributors all around the world ! Today, Solaari is the official partner of the Lightsaber Academy and the lightsabers will be available for pre-order this autumn, so if you want the force to be with you, you'd better stay tuned !