A Closure that we all need

Shruti Verma

ID, 2nd year

National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh.

Course-SIMPLE PRODUCT DESIGN

This was my first time writing a blog, which basically is to help me embrace the process better.

“good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better- because is concentrates on essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to Simplicity.” -Dieter Rams

Goal of simple design is that it’s easy to use. Although, the understanding towards SPD will grow with the course. The course SPD(simple product design) is guided by faculties Mr. Amaltas Khan and Mr. Kishen patel for 7 weeks.

The course started with us to look around for the designs that amaze us/attract us for it’s qualities, moreover how we perceive them. Pandemic has took me to this place called ‘kitchen’ the most, so most of my products were around kitchen and edibles.

The main reason these products caught my attention was because either these products contributed to multi use or the fact that them being so simple yet making the tasks easier. Similarly, my fellow mates also had different outlooks towards the products that they brought to the table which helped me also to get insights over other aspects as well.

Noting down the micro and macro perspective through those products, describing the design in a sense as to why that product is simple yet amazing and how it contributes to more than just one task. Each one of us got some domains to move further with exploring some more designs and outlooks.

after having discussions and feedback sessions over the kind of products and the outlook I had towards them , The preferable domains that could have been for me were:

1.Closure

2.Multi-purpose

3.Increase in shelf life

With ‘simple yet interesting’ as the draft according to which I was grouped with some of the batchmates.

These were some approaches that I could take note of while exploring some more design.

Some more designs that I came across while following the keywords, helped me exploring different outlooks to closure and put them into categories.

Looking at different types of closures and categorizing them provided me with more scope as to look into.

Till now we all have had enough products/designs at hand to follow a certain direction, Although, we kept on surfing through web to get the designs around our domains. Next task that we were given was to come up with a tagline that best expresses the approach we’re gonna follow. ‘A Closure that we all need’, is the tagline that in my opinion was better at providing the gist of the process.

With all the designs that we had till now, to analyze and narrow down our way through the course we mapped our products/design on a graph on the basis of size, scale and complexity.

Initially why we had to map our products wasn’t clear. After a feedback session with the faculty, I realized that subconsciously or consciously each one of us had put concepts in a certain quadrant according to our own perceivance of how complex it looked to us. This exercise helped us sorting our complexities under our individual domains. For me, the twists, turns and origami was something that I had put in the center of focus and same on perceived as comparatively complex.

Further we were supposed to narrow down to some opportunity area provided in the third quadrant, so as to start with something small n simple.

Since by now we had an field of interest, we could move to the next phase of defining the macro aspects. We had to now form a design brief for the problem area that we prone to solving upon. For this task we took help of the framework-AEIOU from universal principles of design.

AEIOU basically stands for Activities, Environments, Interactions, Objects, and Users. This is essentially a Framework to structure all observations you make around your area of concern. Finally, it is this framework, that will help you synthesise all the data, and move onto Ideating for design solutions.

We went around different areas, doing the observation to form framework. With all the data collected through framework we had to form multiple design briefs

Brief-how can we design a storage solution for spices in an Indian kitchen context which provides better opening/closing so that the task becomes less tedious and time efficient.

Brief -to design a product/ aid for better oil dispensing experience with controlled flow of oil to avoid the mess.

Brief -to design a product for carrying/storing the food items better, both dry/wet , that adds to the experience of the user while having the food outside the home.

Brief -to design a washing solution for vegetables/cereals with least amount of water wastage and proper cleaning

Brief -how can we design a better packaging for storing and keeping the food fresh for longer term, keeping in mind it can be kept in refrigerator as well as outside, that produces less waste while discarded

Before we could decide on a particular brief to work upon, I was going back and forth, keeping in mind how can this time of pandemic might not result in a ban for the process. Hence, a solution around spices(main element of Indian kitchens) could not have been a less of a boon for me at the stretch.

Initial brief- “How can we design a storage solution for spices in an Indian kitchen context which provides better opening/closing so that the task becomes less tedious and time efficient.”

With the course of time and the data collected, the brief will get dug up and henceforth, we will have arrived on our final brief.

Task analysis- process of learning about ordinary users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their intended goals.

Step 1- identify the task- using the spice storage while preparing a meal

Step 2- observation around the task identified. For this step I tried dividing the observations into positives and negatives for better insights.

Moving a step back and giving the area of concern a bit zoomed out look would help me grasp the process better. So I tried making a mind keeping the ‘spices’ as the center of the map.

Making the mind map now I had the structure of the process in front of me, from start till end in terms of objectives to dive deep into for scrutinizing the process.

The process of working around an area doesn’t go single handedly. It keeps going back n forth. So before I could note down my final observations around task analysis, it was important that I observed the system around the particular process task. So I had to make a survey around the significance of spices in Indian household for people.

The observations gathered through task analysis required some general evidence so as to take audience poll over the observations. Noting down the questions around the task analysis and conducting a survey was an appropriate IDEO method which in turn provided me with some more interesting insights as well.

Major observations could be devised around three types of storage for spices which is mainly used- containers with normal caps, sprinklers containers, spice rack(cylindrical)

So at this stage, now the data and the further questions that were yet to be answered had put me in a situation where one could easily loose the track of where they started and where they should go. Imparting a purpose statement to the research and observation, we will have a rigid direction from where one cannot get lost easily.

Purpose statement- the purpose of this research is to look into the usage of spices from it’s storage tool to device a better tool for further more convenient use and storage of spices.

The factors related to the design brief/ opportunity area. The observations can be noted down under the factors that are related.

Following factors can now be numbered on the basis of our priority to move further with the conceptualizing

Conceptualizing- Before starting to conceptualize, here were some features that I noted down, which would describe my solution aid better. The numerology is in the order of the priority for the concepts

Writing down different words under the factors would help me consider different context as well which one might miss when working around a certain area for too long. It is necessary to break the box of labels that has been built around the features and the observations so as to widen the perspective while thinking about the solution concepts and most importantly break the pattern.

The grip problem that the user faces while handling the spice rack because of it’s form

Because of the placement of the tool on the kitchen slab, the tool falls below the eye level of the user, where the visibility comes into play while using a certain spice.

Bringing these factors into action I started conceptualizing around the organizer/ the device that will contain the spice containers.

~Concept 1/2 inspired from tool box~

The idea behind these concepts was to provide a better visibility of the spice from the containers when kept in the organizer.

~Concept 3/4/5~

Idea behind these concepts was to optimize space and provide linear accommodation for the containers

~Concept 6/7~

So after conceptualizing around the organizer part of the spice and having a feedback session with the faculty, I was to visit back to the brief. I had now shifted my area of concern to the containers rather than conceptualizing around the organizer as containers would satisfy the factors better in the order of priority that I had decided.

~Concept 8/9~

Idea behind these concept caps was to aid the single hand use for the user.

Redesigned brief- “How can we design a better storage solution for spices in an Indian kitchen context which aids to it’s effortless usage while adding to the user experience.”

~Concept 10~

Idea behind this concept was to provide re dispensing from the bottom so that the user doesn’t have to tilt the container every time. The piston aids the one hand use for dispensing so that all the havoc while cooking is handled.

~Concept 11~

This concept inspired from a wheat strainer gives a side handle(better grip) for the user to dispense the spice from the bottom.

~Concept 12 inspired from cereal dispenser~

Idea behind this concept was to incorporate the previous concepts into one with better mechanism.

Prototyping-

Next stage after conceptualizing on paper was to try it via prototyping. So basically I had to test if the mechanism works well for dispensing in actual.

For this mock up I tried the mechanism with the carboard cut outs, though the actual product will have different material.

After I was done with my mock up over the suggested mechanism, the next step was to work on the over all form and the details of the dispenser.

Value addition

The final product model

Perspective views

Front and Side view

Dispensing and the Cap

Exploded view

Final measurements

Context (household kitchen)

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With this I would conclude the blog and the course. You could visit the miro link mentioned for detailed look through the research and work throughout the course (SPD 050, Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration (miro.com) I would like to thank Dr. Amaltas Khan and Mr. Kishen Patel for their guidance throughout the course.

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