The importance of prototype testing
CASE STUDY #1
One of the first projects I did was design a backpack that was for amputee veterans. I spent a lot of time researching the industry, while interviewing medical professionals and user types. I really wanted to understand the user and really push the purpose of the product. Although interviews yielded great insight, I felt as though I still was not doing enough. I decided to immerse myself as the user. I taped down my arm for multiple days to simulate some of the factors of my user. The insights from this experience drove the strap design to improve as well as the overall shape. I was able to test constantly on physical mock ups I had made putting it through every possible scenario I could think of. In addition to the strap and form changes, it fixed one of the most important features. It removed zippers. When testing the backpack with no books in it to weigh it down, the zipper just dragged the bag around instead of opening. Without a hand to hold down the bag, the backpack becomes useless. An oversight that seems simple but so important. From that moment I realized how important user testing with physical prototypes is. As a designer, people trust in me to develop something with their interests. I could have designed something that would have failed my user if I didn't seek out ways to test my design.