Bragi Ears




12 Weeks


November 2017


User Interviews, Insights, Prototyping of the hearing test. Intended to be standalone for the headphone, without the use of an app, Iterating, Refining and setting up of the BETA testing program.

Design Process
Bragi Ears is a hearing device that provides hearing enhancement and tinnitus relief to users. It includes an on board hearing test and adjusts to the user’s hearing capabilities without them having to visit a doctor.
User Research
Having done some desk research it was very important to speak to potential users and understand them better. We interviewed various people who might have needed hearing enhancement, tinnitus relief or noise protection.


The list of people included : People with hearing loss and tinnitus sufferers.

1.    People with mild hearing loss are reluctant to visit a doctor.

” When I speak to people, I often can’t hear them. My daughter, she keeps telling me to get my ears checked. But at the moment I don’t have the time or patience to go to a doctor. “


2.   People dislike wearing a hearing aid because of the social stigma attached to it. They look for a discreet and ‘cooler’ looking option.

” I don’t want to be the guy that wears a hearing aid. During concerts I wear hearing protection but I hate how it looks. 


3.   People look to counter their Tinnitus in their own personal space.

Jonas demonstrates how he counters Tinnitus

” I play white noise on my phone before going to bed, but I can’t do that when my girlfriend is sleeping next to me. She would be so mad!  


4.   People have varied lifestyles and they expect a hearing devices to adapt to these situations.

” With this hearing aid I am able hear my wife, but when I watch TV or when my grandchildren are here and its noisy, I can’t understand everything. 


The Design Challenge

How might we use ‘The Dash’ to help people counter tinnitus and hearing loss in different situations, without them having to visit a doctor?

Right after conducting research, it became more and more clear that we needed an easy to use, on board hearing test for the headphones. The test would measure the volumes at which people heard different decibels best. This would be in partnership with ‘Mimi hearing technologies’ , who provide a personalised hearing experience based on a listening test.
Designing a Voice Interface
The challenge was now to implement Mimi’s hearing test (built for a smartphone) onto the Bragi headphones. Enabling users to personalise their hearing. Having limited inputs and Voice / Sound as the only output,
Brainstorming with available inputs
To get the team to think about how we could prototype the hearing test, I made small cards mapping out the available inputs like:


  • Tap (L, R)
  • Hold (L, R)
  • Swipe (L, R)

These were then applied to different phases like on boarding and daily use.

Iterative Prototyping
Prototyping a voice interface was a new challenge for me. So I wrote a script and responded to the user by only sticking to the script (robot like). He had just 3 ways to communicate – TAP, HOLD and SWIPE.
Learning from the experience prototype, I created a diagram, to help me and other members of the team align on the flow of the listening test. This flow went through multiple iterations.
Iteration #1
For Lo – fi prototyping, and to learn quickly, I began with a simple iTunes playlist and a bluetooth speaker. I told the testers that the speaker would mimic the headphone. This was done for me to be able to observe their interactions. I was controlling the playlist myself, using smoke and mirrors to help the testers believe the prototype was really working.
Learnings #1

The first experiment didn’t work as expected. The voice interface (similar to an automated customer service machine) was not intuitive, as seen in the video below. There were the following learnings:


  • The voice was a bit too fast and incomprehensible for the user.
  • The text was too long.
  • Only the last part of the sentence registers in the user’s mind.

Iteration #2
Learnings #2
The second experiment seemed to work much better with the learnings from the first one. There were the following learnings:


  • Starting with a simple tap made the user feel comfortable.
  • Users  were confused by the beep sound.
  • User felt like the tapping interaction provided a delayed response.

Iteration #3
The third version with holding and releasing seemed to work very well. It was very close to the one used in the final version.
User Testing
Having worked on designing the hearing test, the team worked on the daily use interactions. It was then time to test out these interactions.
Various aspects had to be tested such as the manual, the on boarding, general usability, comfort tones and different listening profiles like: Everyday, TV and Noisy. 
Beta Testing Plan
We asked people from departments of the company like marketing, sales and engineering what the would like to find out from the Beta Testers and put them on post its (yellow).

Then we created a plan putting the the different questions at different stages of the 4 week beta testing plan.

All Images and Videos are subject to © Copyright 2019 Bragi GmbH.