14th June 2020

Course: Simple Product Design

Product: Ice Cream Scoop

Studying the user group is the next important part of the process for identifying specific design features required in the process of conceptualization.

USER ANALYSIS

For good user experience, user research is a key factor which can help us identify the main user group we are designing for and help us understand what their specific needs are.

CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF THE USER

(Who is the user, what does the user do, where does the user live — economic, social, technological background)

Ice cream scoops are maximum used by adults and are maximum used for children. Hence, designing for the children can make them independent and also, because the product must be promising for parents (they are the buyers for their children), it can be used by them as well, covering the maximum user group.

Hence, my target group are the children of the age group 10 to 15 years, the age where children develop interdependence and logical skills. They have already acquired gross and fine motor skills before this age set and are trying to acquire patience, giving up on the instant feedback which they needed earlier and are developing to think abstractly.

According to Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Stages of Development, children of the age 11 years and older fall under the formal operational stage where children are able to use logic to solve problems, view the world around them and plan for the future.

Therefore, defining my user group are school going children of age group 10 to 15 years, who are in a middle-class urban setting. They are at the formal operational stage of development.

Corresponding to the user analysis, some more research needs to be done on the following goals:

PROBLEMS FACED IN A DOMESTIC SETTING

  • The freezer temperature at home is around -18° C, and the perfect temperature for scooping ice cream is between -14°C and -12°C. Hence, it makes it difficult to scoop at home and we have to let the ice cream normalize its temperature for a while before scooping as compared to the ice cream parlors, where the temperature of the freezer is set accordingly, to get the creamy ice cream.
  • Another major problem is that ice cream at home is not stored properly. There’s a higher risk of freezer burn at home as compared to the ice cream parlors. Freezer burn is a condition that occurs when frozen food has been damaged by dehydration and oxidation, due to air reaching the food. It is generally caused by food not being securely wrapped in air-tight packaging. The food is still safe, because it has remained below freezing, but will likely taste bad and have a bad texture.
  • An article said that “Serving ice cream becomes an art form when that creamy goodness freezes into a block of what seems like all ice and no cream. To make a long story short, I could definitely lift 20 pounds more with my right arm than my left. Focus on your right arm at the gym before applying to any ice cream store!” Thus, it does require a lot of effort to scoop the hard ice cream which can strain our hands, especially wrists, listing our next problem.
  • Warming scoops are traditionally made of aluminum — this is bad because it means that they start lacking sufficient durability with every wash (contact with water). They can’t be put in the dishwasher, either. Some scoops even feature a coating, that flakes off over time.
  • Another problem faced is that because the ice cream container is deep (like that of ice cream bricks), while scooping from it, our hands tend to get dirty towards the wrists, making the process messy.

All these problems hinders the children from using scoops at home.

CHILDREN HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO TURN EVERYTHING INTO PLAY. First-time parents are often perplexed to find their children playing with the box that housed a toy, just as readily as the toy itself. The world of the imagination is simply more accessible and tangible to children, who are not yet hardened by the years of pattern recognition that cause adults to categorize and compartmentalize experiences based on clearly defined expectations.

- Chapter 5, “Understanding Industrial Design” by Simon King and Kuen Chang

The above excerpt explains how creatively children interact with any product, even a box, and use their imagination differently with every interaction as they do not have the preset pattern of how to use a product.

What affects the adults purchasing decisions on products for children? Three major factors for influencing parents to buy products of children are pestering from children, social media, and branding.

Jean Piaget insisted that the formal operational stage (11 years and older) is the final stage of cognitive development in a child, and that continued intellectual development in adults depends on the accumulation of knowledge.

  • Children learn in quite different ways than adults as they learn faster than adults.
  • A child’s mind works differently but they have their ways to deal with the world around them very well.
  • They learn by observations, by interactions with other people and by their own feelings. And they learn an enormous amount through their imagination.
  • Play is what pulls together the logical and creative parts of the brain.
  • Storytelling also help them understand — their knowledge and understanding have gaps and children try to bridge those through fantasy and irrational explanations.
  • Interactive learning can teach children different set of skills — social skills, cognitive skills, language skills, and motor skills.

Industrial Design Student, National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh