INSPIRATION & UNDERSTANDING
SPACE It became obvious, that after watching Ashish cook and listen to the radio, that space was very limited in such a small kitchen. While cooking he uses his iPad to listen to the radio. This meant that he was constantly moving it around to different â€œSpace was very spaces in the kitchen to be able to hear limited in such a small the radio, but also, so that he had room to kitchen.â€? prepare the food. As he moved the iPad to a different spot in the kitchen, he had to move an existing item in that place to lay the iPad down. This meant that he had no space to prepare food. Eventually he moved a chair close to the hob and placed the iPad on that to gain more space.
SOUND The kitchen can be a very noisy place while preparing and cooking food. This can make listening to a radio or TV quite difficult. I observed his reactions and decisions to the noise levels of different appliances. â€œEven in doing so, the For example - his reaction to the sound iPad could barely be produced by the extractor fan and the noise heard.â€? of the food sizzling in the oil, but also his decision to put the extractor fan on the quietest setting (1) rather than the loudest (3). Even in doing so, the iPad could barely be heard. Ashish had to move the iPad around and constantly turn the volume up to full to have a chance of hearing it.
DURABILITY Bacteria and fungus are easily grown and spread in a kitchen. Thus, hygiene is of key importance. Bacteria can be killed with a mixture of hot water and soap. Hot water kills between 60%-90% of bacteria depending on the heat. Whilst cooking, Ashish didn’t want “Water can be very to keep washing his hands to change the dangerous when mixed volume or move the iPad, especially when with electronics.” dealing with chicken. Due to the touchscreen on an iPad, this made it very difficult for Ashish to use it with dirty fingers. Even with a screen protector on the screen, food was still spilled. Also, the iPad is not waterproof. Water can be very dangerous when mixed with electronics.
ETHNOGRAPHY AND INSIGHTS Ethnography is the understanding of daily life and human cultures. It is about observing someone or something and identifying problems or difficulties they have. I am designing this radio for my flatmate Ashish, specifically while he is cooking. My approach is looking at his movements in the “I acted as a kitchen, how he reacts to using a ‘stand-in’ ‘Fly on the Wall’” radio (an iPad), and why he does what he does. Firstly I acted as a ‘fly on the wall’ by filming him going through the process of preparing and cooking a meal. This allowed me to observe his movements around the kitchen to see where he was going, whether he was taking anything with him each time, and his
â€?define them further to get a greater sense of the problems he was dealing with.â€?
placement of the iPad radio. By determining this, I could start to see where the design of a new radio would come in. I took further videos that would show me different issues or problems he had during both preparation and cooking. Having watched and analysed the videos, I started to develop the insights I had already produced and define them further to get a greater sense of the problems he was dealing with. Having taken videos of Ashish in the kitchen, I asked him several questions to get an understanding of his interests, hobbies and style. He told me about himself and I took certain pieces of that to form an idea for layout and font. He is currently a Mechanical Engineer. He likes everything to be neat and tidy, and for text to be legible and clear. His input about this, gave me inspiration for the font type. A font that is clean and legible, but also neat.
FROG DESIGNS Frog Designs are a very good example of a company that use ethnography to inspire products. For example, their Sound Cylinder© was designed having researched the market and asked consumers what they wanted from a portable speaker. The Sound Cylinder© is a portable cylindrical speaker “Consumers expressed that uses Bluetooth to connect your device a desire for a richer to it. sound experience” On their website it describes their process of communication with the market - “Early user research identified an opportunity to bring premium sound to the mobile experience. Consumers expressed a desire for a richer sound experience without sacrificing portability. The Sound Cylinder© met this
“It has been constructed to the user’s needs and wants.”
demand.” This example shows a real-life example of a situation where ethnography has been used to design a product for a specific market and target audience. It has been constructed to the user’s needs and wants. This reflects the way that I am approaching the design process for my kitchen radio. Gathering information and using it to your advantage to produce a product that the user wants and feels is almost designed specifically for them. Frog Designs use ethnography frequently to aid the design of their products.
BY WILL DUNCAN
Published on Dec 2, 2013