My Gap          
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This week the focus is on really defining what the problem is and what the users (beside ourselves) need.

Assignment 2.3 Visual Expression 2: 2D Sketches

posted Nov 2, 2013, 7:04 AM by Rose Almond   [ updated Nov 2, 2013, 7:04 AM ]

Assignment 2.2 User Needs

posted Nov 2, 2013, 7:00 AM by Rose Almond   [ updated Nov 2, 2013, 7:02 AM ]

This post summarizes the user needs relating to my gap: 'a better way to enjoy fresh, hot beverages on the go'. These were determined through interviewing six potential users about their habits for transporting hot or cold liquids. In the interviews the users were asked about what they currently do, were asked to try out a few different travel mug solutions available on the market and to identify things they like and didn't like. This was great for seeing first hand how people interact with the different styles of travel mugs and the subtle things that they struggled with such as orienting the drinking spout. They also recounted stories of their existing product and what they liked issues they had, giving feedback on what they found most important to them and what frustrated or delighted them the most.

These needs were then collated into the following user needs list, ordered by cluster and hierarchy within the clusters. The latent needs are marked by !.

The CM feels good in the user’s hand.

The user can comfortably operate the CM with one hand.

The CM shape is comfortable to hold in one hand.

The CM is balanced in the user’s hand.

The CM is equally easy to use in either left or right hands.

The CM external temperature is comfortable in the user’s hand.

The CM weight is just right.

The CM can be carried by hand comfortably for a long time.


The CM can be used with a variety of liquids.

The CM does not retain the taste of other liquids.

! The CM allows the user to remove teabags easily.


The CM maintains an ideal liquid temperature.

The CM maintains the hot liquid temperature for at least 5 hours.

The CM maintains the cold liquid temperature for at least 6 hours.

The CM does not leave heat marks on wooden tables.


The CM is hygienic to use.

The CM can be disassembled and cleaned easily to maintain hygiene.

The CM mouthpiece does not contact any surface when the CM falls over.

The CM is dishwasher safe.


The CM is easy to transport.

The CM can be placed in a bag without leaking.


The CM is rugged to last a long time.

The CM can withstand continuous heat cycling within use.

The CM can be dropped repeatedly.

The CM can withstand harsh outdoor working environments.


The CM is safe.

The hot liquid does not drip or spill onto the user when in use.

The hot liquid does not drip or spill onto the user when not in use.

! The temperature of the liquid coming out does not burn the user.

The CM material does not contain any carcinogenic chemicals.

The CM is microwave safe.


The CM has an attractive appearance.

The CM provides a talking point or icebreaker.

The CM looks high quality and expensive.

The CM reflects my sense of style.

The CM suits my working environment.


The CM ensures the liquid taste is not affected.

The CM maintains the taste and quality of the liquid.

The CM does not add any flavour to the liquid.


The CM has a low cost to the end user.

The CM is quick to operate.

The user can align and lock the lid quickly and easily.


The CM is stable.

The CM is not easily knocked over.

The CM is balanced when placed onto an uneven surface such as a car roof.


The CM mouthpiece feels good to the user.

The CM mouth section is comfortable for the user’s mouth.

! The user can drink from any rotation of the CM.

The CM mouth section does not allow excess liquid to spray the user or leak.


The CM is an appropriate size to fit my lifestyle.

The CM can hold at least 1.5 cups of liquid.

The CM is well sized for the user’s hand.

The CM fits into standard car cup holders.

The CM fits into a standard sized cupboard for storage.

The CM fits into a lunch bag.


The CM is easy to use.

The CM can be used without instructions.

Assignment 2.1 Design Problem Definition

posted Oct 31, 2013, 5:47 PM by Rose Almond   [ updated Nov 2, 2013, 7:04 AM ]

To determine the best abstraction level of the problem to solve for my project I used the 5 Why's methodology. Starting with my initial gap statement I asked a series of why's to abstract away and create new problem statements. I also asked a series of How's to create a further hierarchical list from most broad to most specific.

In what ways might I:

    Improve mental alertness in the morning

    Gain a caffeine boost before starting the work day

    Have more time to drink coffee on busy mornings

    *Enjoy fresh, hot beverages on the go

     Create a more effective travel mug

     Use better thermally insulating materials and spill proof seals.

In this case my original statement is about the right level of abstraction without being too narrow such as to limit the scope of the design options. Moving further in either direction leads into chemical and material science fields which I do not have the expertise to solve the problem within. However I do think that a minor modification is required tot eh problem statement to include the possibility of cold beverages:

'How might I enjoy fresh, hot or cold beverages on the go'

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