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Scope: Product design | UI/UX case study | 6 week team project

Role: Product design | mobile app design elements | mobile website | developer hand-off


  • Otto is a system that tracks product usage and re-orders before you know you need it.

  • Ascential is the men’s grooming line we developed to show the capabilities of Otto.


The Product


How Otto Works

Otto is the hub that communicates with all of your products. For this project, we built out what it would look like operating with a skin care product line, however, the Otto system has the capability to be used with any other routinely purchased consumer packaged good such as pantry items, cleaning supplies, pet food and more.

Each bottle has a weight sensor that monitors product levels. Otto uses a combination of active and passive RFID technology to communicate with the sensors. Otto transmits data to the Otto app to track usage and re-order when products are running low.

The usage data from Otto is also shown in the app to educate consumers on grooming habits: “Hey - if you have noticed that your hair is especially greasy, you might want to chill on the conditioner! It looks like you have been using about twice the recommended amount.”



The Process



The theme of this project was “David Vs. Goliath”. We developed a product that was designed to succeed in areas where larger brands failed. We initially chose the consumer packaged goods industry to disrupt. We saw at men’s skin care as an opportunity to create something new.

We began by looking at how brands stacked up in two areas: from masculinity to gender neutral, and from niche to mass market. We then looked at what those brands were doing successfully and what they were missing the mark on.


Competitor analysis

I just don’t know if I had the time to set one.
The benefit is less than the time it would take to implement one.
— Survey response

When we surveyed men about their grooming routine, 75% of our respondents did have a grooming routine and would be interested in personalized products. The other 25 % did not have a routine. The sentiment of the non-routine men was that they didn’t see the benefit of taking care of their appearance.


Light bulb moment: Jeremy’s small bottle of lotion leaked onto the floor while we were talking and he mentioned that the only reason he had this travel size bottle with him was because he had run out of the big bottle and had forgotten to buy a new one. We’ve all been there. What if he didn’t have to remember to buy a new one?


Problem: People are using bathroom products down to the last possible drop because it is an item often forgotten at the grocery store. Regular subscription models are not ideal because it is hard to know how quickly a product is used.


We looked at where our users would be coming from in order to determine the best way to reach them.

We assumed that the discovery phase would take place through social media which would drive them to our mobile website. Once there, they are able to educate themselves more on the product, which is how 75% of our survey respondents said they find a new product, and then make a purchase. After purchase, their next interaction would be with the app. Once they receive the product, they onboard and set up. They are then able to look at stats and check supply levels through the app. The app also sends notifications when it is reordering product.


Project planning


Our first round of testing people had a lot of questions about what Otto was so we made some tweaks to the mobile site education.

We then watched people go through the entire user journey to see if they understood the product.

Is this real? Is this what youre getting me for christmas? It’s great.
— Jeremy's brother

Developer Hand off


Did well:

  • I think that the concept of Otto is really interesting and there could be a lot of applications for the technology.

  • We were able to ask for feedback early and often throughout the process which was really instrumental for us creating Otto.

Next Time:

  • Getting to our main concept took a lot of turns - I think we could have made decisions faster and sooner, then as problems arose made decisions in the moment.

  • I think we tried to tackle one too many problems. We didn’t necessarily need to create our own product line for this project. We could have made it work with something that already existed and still gotten the idea across. This would have enabled us to spend more resources on thinking through the features of Otto.



The People

This is the team that worked on this project.

My role included research, concept development, workflow and project time management, user stories and developer hand-off.