For this project I was tasked to design a reusable water bottle for my fellow students at Prime Digital Academy. For "Primers", having something to drink during class is nearly as essential as a laptop, notebook or pen. Identifying this need, I established a goal to design a reusable container that is 1) flexible for individual preferences, 2) easy to clean and 3) spill resistant.
I was given a water bottle sold at Target and performed a heuristic usability test to analyze how the product's appearance and performance would meet the goals I identified. The existing design's successes included being easy to use due to its resemblance to a disposable cup and its functional, brightly colored sleeve. The design's chief failures included not being adaptable to sipping, especially for hot beverages.
I began sketching ideas for a physical prototype to address my findings in the usability test. My design would make it (1) easy to drink a variety of beverages including water, coffee, tea and soda. (2) It would be durable and easy to clean. (3) A "spill resistant" or "spill mitigating" design would be acceptable if "spill-proof" design compromised either point (1) or (2). In summary, my design concept was for one versatile tumbler with a lid and sleeve that is as essential and personal as a laptop computer.
I brought my design concept to Leonardo's Basement and set to making a physical prototype for the tumbler, sleeve and lid. It was a challenge to find the right raw or repurposed materials to execute the design, but lucked out when I found a container of poster tube caps that fit tightly into a PVC pipe. Using the caps, I was able to produce three different lid concepts that I could test against each other. My prototype was larger and heavier than what I wanted, but I felt the materials helped me interpret and refine my idea to a point where I was ready to get feedback from my target users.
The next day I interviewed three Prime students (Jason S., Alex and Jeff) using a script to get their feedback on the prototype. First I talked to them about what they drank out of normally at Prime and some of the related problems they had to deal with day to day. Second, I showed them the tumbler and sleeve and asked them to use and talk about them. Lastly, I showed them the three lids, asked them to use them with the lid and tell me which they liked best and why.
My plan to further develop this concept toward a final prototype will begin with further usability tests. I'll choose existing products that I feel meet the goals of my prototype. I'll focus on aspects of the prototype that need refined like materials, size and proportions. I'll conduct additional research on how to customize my prototype with color and graphics. Identify, Prototype and Evaluate.