Thesis Development 2 : Recode

This week for the development of my thesis project I spent a day with a group of people from a company called Hollister. This company makes products for people who have to live with issues around continence care.

The research and innovation team from Hollister were carrying out a workshop to try to understand how to improve products. The group was made up of engineering and production management capabilities. There were few people with much human factors experience.

I brought the experiential experiment prototypes I had created with me. Randomly I selected people from the group and asked them to wear one of the following.

1: A hip bag with water balloons and a Xiaomi band watch component.

2: A Samsung smartwatch with the screen covered which is cable tied to the persons arm.

Out of a group of approximately 40 people I was able to carry out the experiential experiments with 10 and then ask them to give feedback to the group and give me written feedback at the end.

The objective of the experience experiments was to test my assumptions of what I felt were the feelings of living with the issue and whether the individual parts of the experience were replicating them.

There were a lot of useful insights from these experiments.

The pouch with the balloons and Xiaomi band watch component.

Nearly always conscious of the device.

Kept wanting to touch and feel for security.

Concerned at it bursting.

Never not aware of it.

Sitting differently.

Found it irritating and constantly wanted to remove it.

The Samsung smartwatch with covered screen cable tied to the arm.

The random vibrations always caught me off guard.

Hard to focus or refocus when the band vibrated. 

No way to control it which meant having to wait for it to stop.

The more the band vibrated the more i anticipated the next vibration.

Confusion due to not knowing why the band was vibrating.

Other feedback.

I also had the opportunity to ask this group of people had they considered this set of emotional experiences in relation to the products they created. There was very little understanding of these experiences and no way for them to fully understand them.

They found the experiments valuable as insights for their own work.

The other feedback for improvements was looking at how the device would be used.

Look at a device that can be held on the arm.

Look at a shoulder bag form factor.

Consider using only vibration as a indicator of the countdown timer.

Consider not using water balloons but perhaps some other type of interaction.

The feedback for this session was very important for the development of the physical artefact and I felt fortunate to get the opportunity to do it. It reinforced what some of my assumptions were and gave me some further ideas for the development of the product.

Takeaways :

1. The experiments were successful in triggering feelings relating to loss of control, concern, fear in many instances.

2. There are improvements that can be made to how someone will interact with the object.

3. The object aesthetic needs to be less intrusive or obvious. It’s a very individual or personal experience.

4. While a person is having the experience others may not be aware of it.

5. There is a need to consider how someone begins to interact with the experience.

What’s next?

With a clearer understanding that the project appears to be going in the right direction I can now do some work to create the visual identity of the device and an instruction manual of how it will work. I will also be able to order the components required to build the device.

Action items for this week :

1. Order parts for making the device.

2. Create some mood boards around interaction with the device and aesthetics.

3. Write the first draft of the instruction manual on use of the device.

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