Water Bottle Redesign
The goal of this project was to redesign a water bottle for students at Prime Digital Academy.
In order to create a new water bottle design, I looked to the current market to see what was already being offered. Working with a group of students, together we created an affinity map to determine the main functions of a water bottle, as well as the specific tasks that apply to each function. This affinity mapping session started with Post-it notes and a whiteboard, but then we combined the findings of the entire class to create a master list. I brought this list into Trello to sort the tasks.
Using the tasks defined in the affinity mapping session, I completed a heuristic evaluation of a water bottle currently on the market. I used Nielsen's heuristics and organized each of the tasks under one of the heuristics. For tasks that were related to more than one heuristic, I categorized them under the most applicable one. Taking that data, I ranked the severity of the heuristic violations on a scale from 1 to 5 to determine which were the most severe.
After completing the heuristic evaluation, I found that the most severe violations fell under the heuristics of error prevention and forgiveness. This informed my design concepts that I created in the next phase of the project. These design concepts each took its own interpretation of the results of the previous evaluation.
My peers and I held a design critique to discuss our concepts, and the concept of mine that received support was called A Handle to Hold. This is the concept that I took forward into the next step in the design process.
The next step was to create a prototype of my design concept. In order to facilitate this, I went to Leonardo's Basement, a maker space in Minneapolis. Using found objects, I created a low-fidelity representation of my original sketches. This prototype diverged a bit from the sketches, as I was limited by material and time constraints and could not make all aspects of my concept function. However, I was able to incorporate the main defining feature of my concept, which was the handle.
When planning my user research, I kept in mind the limitations of my prototype and focused on the things that I could test. My main focus was on whether students would feel confident and secure about using a water bottle with a handle. I came up with a research plan and wrote a script outlining how the research would be conducted.
I then approached several real students at Prime Digital Academy and asked them to help me test my prototype. I had them perform basic tasks with the prototype; some of the questions I posed to them included:
- Imagine you wanted to carry this water bottle from your desk out to the common area for lunch. How might you do that?
- How might you drink from this water bottle?
This research highlighted some of the positive aspects my prototype had going for it, as well as a few opportunities for improvement. First, users liked that the handle was large enough to fit their hands through, but but at the same time felt that it was a little too big. Second, users tended to grab the water bottle either by the handle or by the body of the bottle, depending on the task being performed. Finally, users expressed concern over the cap's security.
I incorporated these results into my design proposal in the next phase.
My design proposal took the form of a 5-minute presentation to stakeholders. I presented the process of creating the prototype and the pain points that were uncovered turing the user testing, along with my suggestions for how to fix those issues.
In order to design a new water bottle for students, we want to make a few improvements to our design. I created a research/design plan to outline what changes need to be made, what information I would need to gather, how I would gather it, and what the general steps for this plan would be. I kept the document brief, since it was meant for stakeholders.