SUSTAIN    Software  |  Cornell Program of Computer Graphics

Role: User Experience Research, User Testing, UX/UI

Current building simulation tools require extensive labor, time, and expertise to create building energy models. Sustain is an energy modeling tool that strives to improve these standards through a user-friendly interface. Putting energy modeling in the hands of architects would bring analysis into the beginning stages of design, when the most impactful environmental decisions are made.  

The following screens are a re-examination of the Sustain interface stems off of 2 years of research and usability testing with developers and architects. 

With Dr. Donald Greenberg, Cornell University

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A Familiar Interface

Architects use a 2-3 softwares daily in their typical design workflow. It was important to create hierarchies and use graphic patterns that would be intuitive and recognizable to master users. One of the key aspects of this type of design is putting the 3D model at the center of the interface, with modals to toggle the view settings in the upper right hand corner. All controls that are used to configure the model would be organized in one clear zone, much like a "toolbox" area in any CAD software.

 
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Dynamic Widgets

In the previous version of Sustain, the most frequented controls were buried 3-5 clicks deep in overhead menus. These main widgets were distilled from consolidating user feedback on the most adjusted and mission-critical controls needed to run fast iterations.

 
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Layer-Driven Assemblies Management

In an ideal workspace, the user would have multiple screens. But considering the mobile user, larger panels of editing and analysis could be previewed in a drawer overlay. The most relevant and actionable controls would be consolidated on this panel for quick editing. An option to expand the overlay into a separate window would be available to the user for a multiple-screen environment.