Name: Shrishti Tijaria
(Industrial Design Student, 5th Semester)
Institution: National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh
Course: Opportunity Mapping
Duration: 2 weeks (10th August 2020- 21st August 2020)
Guide: Kuntal De

The next semester began with learning mapping and scoping techniques for identifying design opportunities.

We started with mapping our homes and marking the areas where maximum conflicts take place between me and my family, marking w.r.t. time or high and low frequency of occurrence.

I live on the 3rd floor.

In the map below, I’ve highlighted the areas of conflict by drawing ripples in that area, where the density of ripples describe the intensity or the frequency of conflicts that take place.

In addition to this assignment, I highlighted the rooms where plug point conflicts take place, by marking levels as seen in a battery. Mostly the plug points are occupied with phone chargers, laptop chargers, speakers or plugged-in kitchen appliances, and so I marked w.r.t. the occupancy of the plug points in the rooms. I’ve switched the colors of battery levels (than the usual) as it highlights the chances of getting a free plug point more easily associating lower chances as red and occupied, and higher chances as green and vacant.

In continuation to the above map, I detailed it out a bit more and marked the places with the plug points (in the rooms) along with the frequency of their occupancy (red being always occupied to green being always vacant.)

Next we had to mark frequency of any parameter or resource on the map, over an year or at least two seasons. (Constraints- frequency, physical space, resource)

Initially I thought of the parameter of how often we open the windows of the room corresponding to how well a room is ventilated. So I went ahead with mapping the suffocation levels of the rooms during different seasons.

I noticed that there were different factors that affected the suffocation level of the place — windows, exhaust fans, kitchen chimney, air conditioners, and heaters.

After completing the above maps, we had to do the validation of our maps by showing them to the family, and seeking their inputs and comments. We had to look at the parameters from their point of view and their perspective.

So I got some reviews that the mapping was off-proportions and dimensions were skewed from certain places on the initial home mapping. But the rest was pretty much agreed upon as while mapping, I went to every room seeking the family’s input simultaneously.

  • For the map where I marked the suffocation levels, my mother added that chimneys not only added in sucking the vapors while cooking, but also help in pulling away the odor that can result in suffocation.
  • I was also suggested that the suffocation levels of a room can also be affected by the relation of the number of objects w.r.t. the space in that room — more the number of objects in a smaller space, more will be the suffocation level of that space (mainly in case of store rooms).

Next we were asked to identify very specific problems or concerns that are faced by us at home — problems that are heightened or intensified w.r.t. usage or any season. For each listed concern, we had to think of different contexts where the problems could be used as resources or could be solved, leading us to look at possibilities that the problem offers.

  • FROZEN COCONUT OIL DURING WINTERS

We usually apply coconut oil after bathing to keep our skin moisturized, but every winters the oil solidifies because of the presence of more fatty acids and glycerin in the oil. So we often have to fill a mug with hot water and let the oil bottle rest in it for some time until the oil becomes runny.

  • EXCESS WATER IN PLANTS IN MONSOON

Our plants are placed in the open balcony and so during monsoon, rains over-water them. Due to excess moisture in plants, the roots do not get enough oxygen to breathe as water fills up the air spaces present between the soil particles, which causes suffocation for the plant.

Excess and unwanted rain in different parts of the country destroys the crops and the harvest. ‘Strong monsoon isn’t always a good news for farmers.’

  • INCREASING PLASTIC BAGS

With the increase in online shopping, plastic waste is increasing.

Plastic polythene is also increasing with grocer sending goods in them.

  • STORAGE OF TOMATOES

We aren’t allowed to cook onion and garlic at home, because of which our curries and gravies mostly comprise of tomatoes. In the lockdown situation, it was difficult for us to store tomatoes. So we stored them as tomato puree.

  • COLD TOILET SEATS IN WINTERS

When I went to school, I had to get up at around 6 in the morning. Half awake, I would use the washroom and in winters I was awaken by the cold toilet seats that forced me to sit on them on winter mornings. Also the steel jet sprays when in contact with the body felt so cold that I rubbed the long tube of the jet spray for a few seconds to normalize its temperature.

Usually the toilet seats are made from plastic, or porcelain. But the thought steel toilet seats froze me, which are actually in use in some trains and jails! Wooden toilet seats are also there which are less able to withstand wear and tear, but they offer a warmer seat in the winters.

Moving on, we had to choose one of the problems listed above, generalize it, detail out the problem, do a scenario mapping and, correlate and layer the data with the help of an infographic.

The problem that I chose was storage of tomatoes and, due bad storage, the tomatoes are discarded. Therefore, I generalized the problem to ‘Wastage of Tomatoes’, and a presentation on the same.

Below is a flowchart that helped me in choosing the sub-topics for the presentation.

SCENARIO MAPPING

I tried to convey the information mainly through visuals, infographics and flowcharts in the presentation so that it communicates effectively.

INFOGRAPHIC

(Because the data was not readily available, I tried to calculate and put the approximate of what I found.)

LEARNING FROM THE COURSE

My learning from this course was mainly how to represent data visually and correlating different parameters to make sense out of them. Also, how finding a problem area at the micro level, mapping it with the help of hard data and overlapping or layering it could help us show how much the problem intensifies or blows up to become a major problem at the macro level.

Additionally, mapping the problems could be used as a resource leading us to look at possibilities or scopes that it offers.

Industrial Design Student, National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh