Bluetooth Speaker Connections – Pressure Project 1 – Nicholas Hu

Written description and illustration/diagram of the analyzed experience:

My roommate and I love playing music during most the times of the day when we are hanging around in the living room or cooking or doing chores. We use the UE BOOM 2, which is a portable speaker that has great sound and can get very loud, loud enough for hangout’s with lots of people too. However, one of the biggest issues we face seems to be a faulty error of a setting that the designers of the company wanted to be effective. The speaker has a Multi-Host mode where two sources can be switched between quickly when one is playing the music and the other one can begin playing by playing music on their device. What ends up happening in many scenarios is that we two will be home and I will be playing music, and my roommate will get a text notification which plays a sound, which automatically connects the speaker and now his phone is connected. For me to reconnect, I have to pause my music and play again, or ask him to disconnect from the speaker on Bluetooth. This has become a hassle as it occurs over and over and we have not found any solutions online or through the settings of the speaker. This has become hassles at get-togethers as well when one of us is playing music and all of a sudden it stops and we have to fix it. Usually we just have one person stay disconnected on Bluetooth until we want to switch, but it is hard to always plan ahead like that.

Presentation of design process:

I will use the AEIOU method as my design process.


  • Playing music
  • Watching video on connected device
  • Receiving a notification with sound


  • Person’s home
  • Other areas to play music at such as at the beach or at a park


  • Play music or sound through connected device
  • Connecting/disconnecting Bluetooth on device


  • UE Boom speaker
  • Connected device (smartphone or laptop)


  • People using the speaker to play music or project other sounds

Description and concept sketches of proposed intervention:

My proposed intervention come in forms of dealing with the speaker physically or having a software change in the speakers Bluetooth connection. The first of the interventions would keep the current conditions of the Multi-Host functions where two people can be connected to the Bluetooth speaker and switch off playing music. The UE Boom also has Tap Control functions that allow for the user to tap the top of the speaker once to start or pause music, and tap twice to skip songs. To fix our current dilemma, the second function could be updated so that the user can hold their hand to the top of the speaker for 3 seconds and then the Bluetooth connection would change over to the second connected device. This intervention would make sure that the Multi-Host function still works and that two users can be connected to the speaker and easily switch off whose device is playing music, while also preventing unwanted connection switches.


Another proposed intervention could make use of the UE Boom app that has several setting functions that can be turned on and off for the speaker. There currently is not one yet for the Multi-Touch function but there should be one added for the purpose of handling two connections connected to the speaker. A setting could be added that can allow for quick switchover from device to device that has been currently causing me problems. Or the device could disallow the Multi-Touch function from switching devices automatically but would send the current connected device a push notification that asks if they agree to switching devices. This would prove effective since the user would already be on their phone playing music and if the second device wants to make a switch, then the quick notification could be easily accepted. This would prevent unwanted connection switches as well as quick and easy switches.

Written reflection on the challenges of designing for yourself:

There are advantages and disadvantages for designing for yourself. Of course you will be able to make a solution that will serve your interests, but probably not so much to the general public. Due to my limited knowledge and creative talent, my proposed solutions are severely limited compared to what a diverse team could brainstorms. Since I am a computer science major, my thoughts tend to limit to solutions in hardware and usually are not creative in fields of physical design and others. This means that by designing for myself, I might not think of a brilliant solution that would be much easier to implement and more efficient than my proposed interventions. Also, by designing for myself, I am simply creating a solution that makes me happy, but does not necessarily suffice as a solution for other users of the device. However, among my proposed my interventions, I personally believe they are efficient in solving the problem at hand.


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