Saturday, May 4, 2013

INDN 211: Investigative Market Research

Having decided on exactly what the project is going to be about and how it's going to work, model making is key to moving forward here. To find a form that worked, I started off with some clay models, establishing a comfortable hold for a sizable pen. The actual size of the first level of pen makes it really easy to hold. 

The combination of the raised segments and the dipped parts of the pens make this pen a breeze to hold, and the fingers practically stay there of their own accord, so it's a perfect first place to start. The raised sections in the level are very prominent, but they, like the dipped sections, will decrease with level.

The second level will see the plastic sections slowly receding, resulting in a more streamlined approach to the form. The chunkiness is definitely still there, resulting in a part-one-part-another form that sits between the main form approaches of the pens.

Here the pen is reducing in girth significantly, and all the components are receding, ensuring the user is slowly moving towards a point where these pens are no longer necessary. The pens are teachers and tools in one. Eventually they are designed to give way to a normal tool, which is what the user is really aiming for.

This pen sits on the border of the kit and the real world. This pen will be the boundary tool, the one from which the user has to make the step away into the "real world". Here, they graduate to a normal pen, and return themselves the freedom of being able to write anywhere with anything.

One of the suggestions by my tutor was to talk to my grandparents regarding the pen design. Both in their 80's, they are a little beyond my target persona in age, but much of the aspects that define my persona are inherent in their personalities too. The desire for independence and want for freedom, while refusing to want to rely on others is a strong element in their personae.

Ultimately my project is about equality and equal opportunity for all. I want to give people the opportunity to succeed, and my product wants to facilitate this and make it as easy at it could possibly be without sending them to a clinic.

My grandparents really liked the form of the model. They felt like it was easy to hold, and would make a good set of pens to work your way up. They did very much like the way the pen had a raised segment as well as a deep section for the pen to sit on your fingers with ease.

One of the issues that they raised though was the possibility of a longer stem, so that there was more support for the back of the hand. An idea that my tutor suggested that would completely encourage the user to wean themselves off the pens would be to make the pens not pens, but rather make them paintbrushes, which would allow for consistent learning, while at the same time ensuring that the user takes the final step.

Another idea that was tossed around was the idea of a kit that could be dissembled as well as customised. This could involve making the different handles separate pieces, as well as making the stem into its own independent piece which could be attached to the various segments.

A suggestion from my grandparents was also to possibly add weights to the back of the pens, as the pens could possibly be rather heavy, and balancing them at the back would give the pens more lift, as well as ensuring the balance of the pen was ideal for the task at hand.

My grandparents had a lot of good ideas, and this means that I'll have a lot to work with, which is great. Making sure that the idea works with the clientele is really important, as I've now discovered. Definitely something to consider for the next projects in the future.

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