Field Research with Early Prototypes - Consumer Goods 

Motivation

Make a new product easy to use and understand barriers to use to inform design of product before going to market.

Method

  • My team devised a customized home-based field study In order to inform the design direction.

  • My team of three conducted contextual interviews with individuals in their homes using two foam prototypes which closely approximated the intended look, size, and features of the new product.  

Goals 

  •  Reveal how a new product would potentially be used and where it would be stored.

  • Uncover restrictions of user’s homes that could impact product adoption and usage. ​   

  • Compare the viability of two early prototypes and differing features for home usage. 

Results/Insights 
  • The most valuable outcomes for my clients are often the unexpected discoveries that reveal how a product is really being used.  

  • For this field research, some of the most memorable insights regarding the two prototypes related to the size and space restrictions of user’s homes.  

  • Users showed us, using foam prototypes, where they would keep the product and the prototypes. These locations diverged, in many cases, from the intent of the design of the product often because of space limitations and anything that increased the size of the prototype would impact user’s ability to use the product.   

  • Having users place the two early prototypes in their homes illustrated the reality of the spaces being designed for and also drove home how the size would impact to the purchase and use of the product.  

Impact/Implications
  • Conducting user research in the field allowed us to gather data about features, size, and placement and provide the client with real-life examples of the product in the homes of users.  

  • We provided our client with examples of the real-life constraints of users with the different design options that they were considering moving forward with. 

 

  • This study is a great example of how field research with early prototypes reveal which design ideas to push forward and which design ideas to leave behind. 

  • Having user feedback allowed the client to adjust and justify their design direction early on with confidence and allowed them to focus on developing the best ideas from the prototypes at a much lower cost. 

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