Executive Summary

Our design intervention is a multi-functional bag targeted towards mothers transitioning from pregnancy to post-birth. The final prototype consists of a bag made with durable, lightweight material with multiple compartments. The design is comprised of divided sections, a detachable and washable waterproof bag, small labelled pockets in an internal compartment, external pockets, and multiple handle options. The intended context is for pregnant women who need a gym/utility bag, as well as new mothers who need a baby diaper bag, and also the fathers/husbands who may have to carry the diaper bag.

Our team’s approach was identifying the needs of prenatal women attending yoga. We initially focused on the problems of mobility and relieving back pain through the packing of a yoga or gym bag but pivoted our project scope towards the mother’s functional needs in a bag that can grow and transition with the mothers before and after their baby’s delivery.

Executive Summary Poster

Executive Summary Poster

Executive Summary [pdf]

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

 

Ember – Final Presentation Slides [pdf]

Rationale

Our preliminary problem scenarios were formulated based on our cultural probes, personas and informances. These steps in our research led us to our preliminary premise of mobility, and relieving back pain as our primary issues. We specifically identified packing as a difficulty for the target users before they depart for yoga. One secondary issue was about remembering items that are often forgotten. Based on this problem, we created our low-fidelity prototype sketches that outline different possibilities for reducing the amount of lifting and carrying required as well as different closing mechanisms (ie zippers and magnetic clasps) to facilitate easier opening and closing functionality.

Through our informances, we were focusing on helping our prenatal yoga group members to pack and organize their bags. We wanted to build a bag with multiple compartments to assist in organization. We thought the weight of the bag would be a primary cause for mobility issues and source for back pain.

After conducting our participatory design workshop, we changed the direction of our problem rationale to a specific need that our users brought to our attention of having multiple bags. We gained insight specifically because one of our target participants has already given birth and this particular perspective gave us the most valuable understanding of the target group. Instead of focusing on just the pregnancy stage, the insight was about having a wider viewpoint and sensitivity of where the women are in life, and viewing their pregnancy not as a single moment, but rather a transitional stage between different phases in their lives. We altered our premise of solving mobility and back pain, to creating a multi-functional bag that can suit different needs depending on the situation.

Prototype of Design Intervention and Refinements

The low-fidelity prototype of our proposed design intervention consisted of rough sketches of potential forms for a yoga bag. From developing our personas, journey frameworks and our informances, we developed a feature list we thought our target group members would want. Our prototype bag was designed to be easier to carry around and facilitate memory recall of whether or not items are missing. The primary form of the low-fidelity prototype was driven by a wheeled design as a means to reduce the carry load by rolling the bag instead of carrying it.

Low-Fidelity Prototype Sketch

Low-Fidelity Prototype Sketch

Upon conducting our participatory design workshop, we had to alter our approach to this problem as the major issues we identified were incorrect. We refined our problem scenario instead of being a yoga bag, to be a multi-functional bag that functions as a prenatal exercise bag when the mother is pregnant and can be used as a baby diaper bag after the mother has given birth.

Our medium-fidelity prototype was created around this scenario and the list of features as elicited by our workshop participants during the participatory workshop:

  • Lightweight
  • Expandable (has a compact and expanded configuration)
  • Labelled side compartments
  • Detachable waterproof section / compartment
  • Easy to close and open
  • Wipeable surface material (easy to clean)
  • Darker color (minimize visibility of dirt)
  • Durable (extend product lifespan)
  • Separate sections / compartments
  • As many compartments as possible
  • Hand carry handle + Shoulder bag handles
  • Optional shoulder straps (for increased weight and hanging on stroller)
  • Design that men will be comfortable with carrying
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Medium-Fidelity Prototype

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Expanded

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Pull Cord

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section in Bag

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Compartments

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Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Yoga Mat Straps

Our final prototype consists mainly of the features provided in the previous iteration with a few adjustments to features missing in our medium-fidelity prototype along with extra additions of pockets, a stronger exterior material, as well as a new feature provided by our participants during the user test, a bottle holder at one end of the bag. One feature however that we did include from the original feature list of an expandable bag was removed as the users realized that they did not want it as the prototype’s size was adequate.

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype – Inside View

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Final Prototype – Inside View

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Final Prototype – Waterproof Section

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Final Prototype – Waterproof Section

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Final Prototype – Side Pockets

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype

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Final Prototype – Compartments

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Final Prototype

User Testing Evaluation Results

The participatory design workshop was quite enlightening as it revealed deep insights into our target users especially regarding the design problem. Our initial prototype received a strong negative reaction with a strong bias of associating our wheeled design sketch with a carry-on suitcase. However, they were quite interested in alternate locking mechanisms to facilitate easier access such as magnetic clasps or quick release snaps. Through our evaluation we were able to generate a list of features that our users would like in their ideal bag. The list of the features generated during the participatory workshop is as follows:

  • Durable
  • Expandable
  • Shoulder strap + hand / arm straps
  • Pull cord for the top instead of a zipper
  • Yoga straps
  • Detachable waterproof section
  • Wipeable surface
  • Neutral/dull color

(Data regarding analysis on our notes are attached below)

These features cleared the direction for the next stage for development of our medium-fidelity prototype. The users wanted a multipurpose bag, not just a specialized yoga bag, which can stay with them in their postnatal stage. The bag should perform the functions as required for yoga, exercise and also as a baby diaper bag all-in-one. Based on this feedback, the design team developed a medium-fidelity prototype for the user group.

We ran a test evaluation session with the user group to get their feedback on the design, features, and run some tests to see how well the current design fits their needs and wants. The session was started by going over the results of the participatory workshop and giving the users a rundown of the feature list we developed from their input. After that, we showed our medium fidelity prototype to the users and pointed out the integration of the features in the bag.

One of the participant’s husband was present during the evaluation session and as the husband’s role as a potential factor in purchasing a bag their opinion was valuable. He commented that the bag “looks like a messenger bag” and remarked that the neutral grey color of our prototype was fine. The husband said that he would have no problems carrying the bag.

One of the first things that arose from our test evaluation was for a feature request for an external pocket on the side of the bag for bottles. This is to store a water bottle, or for holding a baby’s feeding bottle. Having it on the outside of the bag would afford quick, and easy access. The participants were keen on letting us know this as soon as we started as they realized they forgot to inform us of this feature after the participatory workshop.

We conducted a few usability tests by asking a participant to pack up the bag with items from the bag they regularly use. She packed the baby items in one of the bigger pockets and the mother’s items in the other big pocket. She mentioned that this was an easy way to organize and find things. She mentioned that it would be nice to have some additional smaller pockets on the outside for quicker access to items such as a baby soother. With the bag full, she was asked to carry the bag and test the weight of the bag overall. She mentioned that the bag was light and easy to carry and that the long shoulder strap would fit perfectly on the stroller. She was then asked to retrieve an item from the bag, baby wipes, while carrying it. She was able to get the baby wipes out with one hand easily and quickly.

The other user in the evaluation mentioned that it would be nice to have labelled side pockets to serve as a reminder and memory functionality when packing and searching the bag. This was a feature that was mentioned during the participatory workshop and was an oversight by the design team.

An interesting insight was the suggestion from the users was a missing element of fun in the design. They suggested perhaps in the form of an inspirational phrase. An alternative form proposed was the idea of a small, makeup bag attached loosely on a string tied inside the bag.

Regarding the durability of the bag, the users mentioned that it would be better to have a higher quality fabric for the bag. They were quite comfortable with the bag size and quite happy with the stretchability of the fabric. The expandable functionality was not successful at all. When the bag was configured in the expanded mode, the users felt that it looked like a sack rather than a bag. They were fine with the non-expanded version of the bag but wanted stretchability in the fabric. From this result, we decided to remove the expandability feature in the next version of our prototype.

The users liked the straps on the outside for holding the yoga mat and mentioned that these straps could also be used to hold a baby blanket. However, this would be only possible if there was a cover on top that can protect the blanket from rain. We agreed that a cover for the strap area would be a beneficial feature.

One of the participants mentioned that she liked the fact that the shoulder strap can be removed if they are not using it. She suggested the case that the straps’ rings should be attached inside so that they are not visible, however this idea was discarded when we mentioned that the top of the bag has a pull cord and once tightened would make carrying the shoulder difficult due to the narrow opening.

At the end of the testing evaluation, the users were asked to rank different features of the bag on a scale from 1 to 5 . The results are as follows:
Two participants A and B

Durability: Weak [1] to Strong [5]
A: 2
B: 2

Weight:
Light [1] to Heavy [5]
A: 1
B: 1

Number of compartments: Not Enough [1] to Enough [5]
A: 3
B: 4

Easy to use: Not Easy [1] to Easy [5]
A: 4
B: 4

Overall (How much they liked the bag):
Don’t Like [1] to Like A Lot [5]
A: 3
B: 3

Below are analysis’ of our notes from both our participatory design workshop and our testing evaluation.

Design Workshop Analysis - Part 1

Participatory Design Workshop Notes Analysis – Part 1

DesignWorkshop2

Participatory Design Workshop Notes Analysis – Part 2

UserTest

User Testing Evaluation Notes Analysis

Legend

Codifying Legend

Final Scenario of Design Intervention

Final Scenario of Design Intervention – http://youtu.be/-C3GruZ1Kio

The first scenario is a member of the prenatal yoga group packing the yoga bag for a prenatal yoga or fitness class and then removing the contents in order to replace them.

The second scenario is a mother who is packing the bag for postnatal Mommy and Me yoga class in which the bag will have more contents than usual for both the mother and the baby.

Lessons Learned

What our team has learned during the interaction research and design process.

Our cultural probes were a little too vague in some of the activities we provided in our booklet as some of the responses resulted in one word answers. However, we found the probes useful in gaining insight on personal values and priorities from individual participants in our target group.

In creating the personas and foundation sheets, we based our information on data we gathered from collecting and analyzing our cultural probes. We found that in narrowing down small details,  it allows us as the design team a clear idea with how certain personas would behave and understanding how they would react in a given circumstance.

We gained insight and empathy on our end users when we created the informances to understand how they go about their day by acting out scenarios that we thought would accurately represent their daily habits. We further focused down on the specific scenario of packing a bag to a journey framework as we wanted to address an issue specifically that ties the group together in preparing for yoga. However, upon conducting the participatory design workshop, we had a revelation talking with our participants and realizing that our assumptions of packing as a problem was not an issue in their lives at all. This was the biggest breakthrough in our design process as we realized the informances and journey frameworks were flawed and inaccurate.

We shifted our design frame instead of worrying about problems of mobility and back pain as we first predicted, to a more real problem of the needs of our group with the need to purchase multiple bags. The presence of the participant who already gave birth was a huge boon on our process as she was able to reveal her intuition on the situation of different bag options for pregnant mothers that even the other participant was not aware of or be able to foresee. Having multiple perspectives on a situation is an important asset in achieving a thorough investigation. By shifting our problem frame from a prenatal yoga bag to a general utility bag that can grow and transition into a diaper bag, we made a huge leap in course correcting to solve a real problem. We recognize that although the interaction design processes of creating personas and journey frameworks are useful in gaining empathy with our users to understand their needs, design is an iterative process and it requires constant investigation.
Also upon conducting the participatory workshop, we discovered interesting biases that were not obvious to us. Upon showing the users our low-fidelity prototype sketches, the surprising response to our wheeled design that afforded rolling was a predisposition to associate our design with a carry-on luggage. This resulted in an extremely negative reaction from our participants who asserted they would rather carry the bag even if the weight would be uncomfortable to lift.

One thing we were unsure of after conducting our participatory workshop and realizing our personas, informances, and journey frameworks was whether to go back to them and revise. We decided to just leave them behind and rely our final iterations based solely on our participatory workshops and user evaluation.

As we conducted our testing evaluation with our medium-fidelity prototype, the users were eager to share with us that they had forgot to express during the participatory workshop a feature that they wanted. We were surprised with the participants’ feelings and engagement in their involvement of the design process. Our medium-fidelity prototype incorporated most of the features as communicated from our participants’ during the participatory workshop. We were surprised to find that although one of the features was one they listed as what they want, they realized they didn’t actually want it. It was an interesting finding to understand how users may not actually know what they really want, they only think they want it.

Design Research Methods Summary

User Test
User Test Session

User Testing – Part 1 – http://youtu.be/zADEbYF316w

User Testing – Part 2 – http://youtu.be/2M92pfyByJY

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

Medium-Fidelity Prototype - Pull Cord

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Pull Cord

Medium-Fidelity Prototype - Compartments

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Compartments

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section in Bag

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section in Bag

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Yoga Mat Straps

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Yoga Mat Straps

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Bottom

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Bottom

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Expanded

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Expanded

Participatory Design Workshop
Participatory Design Workshop


Participatory Design Workshop – Poster [pdf]


Participatory Design Workshop – Report [pdf]

Participatory Workshop – Part 1 – http://youtu.be/App3Ml17cnI

Participatory Workshop – Part 2 – http://youtu.be/1DpPlEWSO8E

Participatory Workshop – Part 3 – http://youtu.be/gRWHjGI_k6k

Participatory Workshop Summarized – http://youtu.be/-YxGemFJvMY

Low-fidelity Prototype

Low Fidelity Prototype Sketches [pdf]

Journey Frameworks
Journey Frameworks

Journey Framework - Sleep
Journey Framework – Sleep [pdf]

Journey Framework - Yoga
Journey Framework – Yoga [pdf]

Informances
Informances

Informances
Informances [pdf]

Situation 1 – http://youtu.be/wfls96RsW_I

Situation 2 – http://youtu.be/7ej-Wh_EnQk

Situation 3 – http://youtu.be/EeW2RkK3oUM

Situation 4 – http://youtu.be/yZta2la2yWA

Personas
Personas, Persona Comparison, Foundation Sheets

Personas - Chantal
Personas – Chantal [pdf]

Personas - Grace Becker
Personas – Grace Becker [pdf]

Persona Comparison
Persona Comparison [pdf]

Foundation Sheet - Chantal
Foundation Sheet – Chantal [pdf]

Foundation Sheet - Grace
Foundation Sheet – Grace [pdf]

Cultural Probes Data Analysis
Cultural Probes Analysis

Cultural Probe Analysis

Cultural Probe Analysis [pdf]

Cultural Probes
Cultural Probes

Cultural Probe Poster [pdf]

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

This is our medium fidelity prototype constructed from different makeshift materials from other salvaged bags. The main structure of the bag is constructed from a sleeping bag.

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section in Bag

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Detachable Waterproof Section in Bag

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Compartments

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Compartments

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Bottom

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Bottom

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Yoga Mat Straps

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Yoga Mat Straps

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Expanded

Medium-Fidelity Prototype – Expanded

Test Plan

Goal
Our goal is to determine whether our prototype has matched the feature list and the participants overall needs through the use of our scenario which centers around packing the yoga / diaper bag.

Testers
Our participants will be from the Prenatal Yoga Group which will comprise of 2 real end-users to be used as the sample. If possible one of the participant’s husband might also be present as there are some questions that will be directed towards their perspective.

Materials
Semi-structured interview
Likert scale questions and open-ended interview questions
Medium-fidelity prototype

Process
Our user testing methods of choice will be a combination of direct observation and a variety of query techniques.

For the direct observation we will create a situation in which our user will complete a set of tasks related to our prototype and yoga/diaper bag preparation. The users will be asked to bring along items they normally have with them during their yoga class or when they leave the house with their newborn and pack the prototype accordingly. Any needs the bag addresses will be pointed out as the participants will be asked to think out loud. If a need is not met by the prototype or a design problem is encountered the team will take note and move on.

If possible we might also perform a constructive interaction which involves two users working together to complete the task of packing the yoga bag. This would be an attempt to create a more friendly atmosphere where the two can speak aloud as opposed to performing the think-aloud technique individually.

In terms of query techniques the team will conduct a series of post-observation interviews that will build upon the observations made while the participants complete the tasks. The users would reflect on the tasks they performed and elaborate on particular aspects that they thought worked well or could use improvement or are missing altogether.

Analysis
Discrete numbers comparison from questionnaires, as well as codifying common data points in notes.

Interview Questions
1) Can you please pack this bag with your yoga equipment / baby supplies?

2) What do you think about the overall color of the bag? Would you be comfortable carrying it around in public? (Directed towards husband)

3) In terms of bottles and baby bottles, does the pocket have to have any insulating features?

4) What do you think of the pockets provided by the bag, would you add more? Where would you like them to be?

5) Now that the bag is fully packed could you please carry it and tell us what you think about the weight and feel of the bag?

6) Is the bag easy to carry? Did it meet all the needs in terms of packing away all your stuff?

7) Now I’m going to ask you to take some stuff out of your bag, could you please remove ______ from your bag?

8) Imagine you are driving and stop at a red light, could you please remove ______ from your bag as quickly as possible?

9) How would you rate the outside of the bag? Is anything missing?

10) Keeping in mind that we started off with a yoga bag, how would you rate the strap? Is it in a good spot on the bag?

11) Would the bag still fit on your stroller?

12) Where would you put your wallet and keys in the bag, do you find there are enough compartments for these individual items?

13) In terms of comparison to the original prototype sketches we showed you, do you feel as if this is an overall improvement?

14) Would you think the addition of more pockets that could be labeled would be an added benefit?

15) In terms of the material being used now what is your overall impression? Is it durable enough?

Likert Scale Questions
Durability
Lightweight
Number of compartments
Easy to use
Overall Assessment