Participatory Design Workshop

Initial Questions
The workshop started with questioning the participant’s experience with the cultural probe packages. They were asked which activities they like the most. They did the probes when it was most convenient for them when they find time during their day. General consensus between the two participants was that they enjoyed doing the activities in the probe package to take their mind off their situation and daily routines. They found the activities to be insightful.

The participants had diverse purposes and goals for doing yoga. For our two participants, one is attending prenatal yoga, and the other is attending postnatal yoga. One participant was doing yoga to relax and was also involved in other fitness programs like aqua fitness classes. However, the notion was that yoga classes was more for relaxing rather than fitness. The other participant who has given birth had her baby through a C-section. She is attending the ‘Mommy and Me’ yoga class to strengthen the abdominal tissues and gain back the strength and aid in the post-surgery trauma. The postnatal yoga class also has social aspects to it with new mothers joining the classes to talk to other moms about different issues they are going through.

Yoga Preparation
In the next stage the participants were asked to tell the group about their preparation needed prior to leaving for yoga class. One participant responded that there is no special preparation needed and that bringing a yoga mat is not even necessary as the yoga studio already provides them. However, usually for hygienic reasons, they preferred to bring and use their own personal yoga mats.

We asked one participant to show her bag contents and it consisted of a towel, water bottle, cell phone and wallet. The participant shared that packing and preparation is not much of an issue and that the bigger issue is to get there on time. The other participant responded that she is more particular about packing her stuff a day before as she already has a baby and she has to put together all the kid’s stuff like diapers and other items as well as just her own things. She also mentioned that she gets hungry after the class so she makes sure to pack some snacks in the bag.

The prenatal yoga participant uses the same bag for gym and yoga class. She has to stuff all her belongings in the bag and forces the bag to close when there is too much stuff. She wishes that there was an expandable bag. She keeps switching her stuff from her regular bag to the exercise bag and this frequently results in forgetting her keys and wallet in one of the two bags, and she occasionally forgets to take a water bottle along. She also expressed her satisfaction with her current bag’s handle configurations with being able to carry using her hand, carrying over-the-shoulder and wishing for the option of an over-the-shoulder strap for a larger bag.

Current Bag Usage
The postnatal yoga participant shared with us the bag she is using for both her baby’s stuff and her yoga stuff. It is a black Lululemon bag with shoulder straps and there was a place for sliding the yoga mat in it as well which she was not aware of. She was carrying a waterproof small bag inside the bag to keep used diapers and wet clothes of her baby so that it does not make everything in her bag dirty. She described and showed us her use of the bag in conjunction with the stroller, her Lululemon bag is placed in the bottom basket and her personal bag was hanging on the handle of the stroller using the bag’s shoulder strap. There was also an additional hook on the stroller handle to attach an additional bag.

The participant shared her contents of her Lululemon bag with the team. One significant feature of the bag was labelled pockets which both participants found quite interesting as she usually forgets things when rushing out for the yoga class and remarked how it would be quite useful as a quick memory aid for checking if anything is missing.

Bag Wish List
The participants were later on asked to describe their dream bag.
They responded with the following features:

  • Lightweight [for the women to be able to carry the bag]
  • Should be expandable and can be compact. Sometimes you need more or less space. [users expressed the need for as much space as possible]
  • Labelled sections to serve as reminder for the stuff. Like keys, phone, chocolate/snack [this was compared to one of the user’s existing bag, this allowed them to easily see if something was missing]
  • A detachable waterproof section so that it can be washed [very important for storing wet clothes or dirty diapers]
  • There should some time/watch display on the bag. An alarm to serve as a reminder.
  • Multiple options to close the bag from the top. Zippers are definitely not wanted as it is difficult to open and close on the go. [something like a pull cord would facilitate easy access]
  • The surface of the bag should be wipeable to keep it easy to clean and be of a darker color so that dirty spots are less visible. [this is a functional need in order to easily clean the bag]
  • Materials should be durable to sustain a longer product lifespan.
  • There should be separate sections each for the wet and dry stuff. Also another section for water bottles would be useful. [separation of compartments allows the user to better organize things]
  • Even in the wet section, they want wet towels not touching flip flops (when they go to the aqua fitness class) and other dirty items.
  • As many compartments as possible
  • Hand carry + shoulder bag handles, shoulder straps [important, specifically requested by the participants as they wanted every possible option to carry the bag how they feel like: carrying by hand, over the shoulder, or slung over the body/shoulder]

Prototype Response
When presented with the prototype sketches, the roller wheels were not appreciated at all and created a rather interesting negative reaction. The participants presented that it is difficult to handle the bag on stairs and she would rather carry the bag completely instead of having the option to drag it on the wheels and then carry it when approaching the stairs. The wheels and bar elicits the image of a carry-on suitcase.

The participants did like our attempt at trying to design an easier to open bag with the design of magnetic clasps or velcro straps to facilitate quick opening and closing.

Findings Summary
One interesting finding was that while making the decision to buy a bag, they had to see if the men would carry the bag or not. If the bag is too feminine looking then the men refuse to carry the bag. The Lululemon bag that the participant showed us a perfect example of how it can be dark and black to make the bag less conspicuous.

They want a bag with long straps and multiple handle options. The bag should have a shoulder strap and carrying handles so that the weight of a heavy bag can be split between the shoulder and the hands.

For storage considerations, the participants preferred options for expansion and an option for a compact configuration.

The desirable option for the opening would be a pull-cord opening which can be tightened to close the bag which is secure but is convenient to easily open the bag and have the access to things when on the go.

The detachable waterproof compartment seems like an obvious feature to add for convenience of separating wet or dirty items.

The participants expressed their wish for adding as many compartments as possible because as they put it, if the compartment exists, they will find a use for it.

The wheels and bar for the dragging functionality in our prototype created an extreme reaction regarding the imagery of a carry-on luggage and should be removed moving towards our next prototype.

Participatory Design Workshop – Poster [pdf]

Participatory Design Workshop – Report [pdf]

Participatory Workshop – Part 1 –

Participatory Workshop – Part 2 –

Participatory Workshop – Part 3 –

Participatory Workshop Summarized –