It started when I was partaking in UXMastery Promram at GrowthSchool, and our mentor, Anudeep Ayyagari, asked me to choose a topic and enhance the experience of the particular section by understanding the user’s problem and needs and finding out opportunities to make the experience engaging.
I choose the home office as a topic for the design thinking project. As we all know, WFM has become the new normal, with 82% of employees preferring to work from home. I also have the privilege of working from home primarily, and to a certain extent, it’s my unfair advantage. Transforming from a coffee table into a desk to having my home office corner was a thrilling journey. In this way, users also have stories about overcoming challenges and continuing in the future. Now the home office is an integral part of the new normal, and my job is to empathize with users and come up with solutions to make the experience more enjoyable.
Our mentor, Anudeep Ayyagari, asked us to use Design Thinking as a discipline, treat this activity as a team play, and believe in users because answers lie in the hand of the users.
But how will I know their problems?
It’s time to leave biases and ask users. I prepared a couple of questions to identify what problems users have in the topic area.
1. Do you have a home office? if Yes, please give me a brief description of it. If No, then tell what your motivations are to create one
2. Do you believe the home office is essential for the new normal? Describe why you feel that.
3. How much time do you usually work? Tell me the whole experience of your work day
4. Can you describe your workspace before and after the pandemic, what are the hurdles you are facing in both workspaces
4. How do you prepare your workspace to start your work day?
5. From your perspective, how should a home office be, what facilities you like to have and why? Please describe a little
6. How do you organise your desk and clean your desk? what‘s the average time it takes to arrange it?
7. What hurdles do you face while setting up a home office or do you think you will be facing while setting up?
8. Tell me your interesting stories about your home office space/office corner? Is it a multi activities desk? Yes or No and say why you have selected it
9. Should the home office be far from the family gathering/ shared space? describe the pros/ cons and say why you have selected it
10. If you get a chance to make one in the future, how will it be?
11. If you like to give me a chance to create a space for you, what will be your brief to me?
In this stage, I managed to interview five users with the abovementioned questions, and then I arranged the data in the following format👇
Here are a few insights from the users.
Here we will try to find the Root Cause, not Just the Symptoms. The root cause aims to dig deep into a particular issue to identify its primary reason, looking out for symptoms and user behaviours certain to a problem.
Here is the list of the problem statements that users were vocal about👇
Problem 1: Users has an issue with arranging everything in a small space
Problem 2: Users found that fixed workspace has the biggest issue, which can’t be maximised whenever required
Problem 3: Most existing workspaces doesn’t have ample storage space to arrange all belongings neatly and minimally
Problem 4: Users feel keeping the workspace dust free is a big task
Problem 5: Users are mostly not happy about existing workspaces because it doesn’t have enough space to hide necessary equipment behind the eyesight
Problem 6: Users mostly placed workspaces just beside the window, so light glare is one of the issues, but at the same time don’t want to close the curtains as well to take advantage of sunlight
Problem 7: Existing workspace heights aren’t fit for all heights and sizes
Problem 8: Some foldable/maximised workspaces are available in the market, but how it will going to fit within existing available space is a little challenge to gauge
Problem 9: Existing seating facilities aren’t thoughtfully design for versatile activities to use for long hours or multiple usages (eg. work, having food, gaming & entertainment etc.)
Problem 10: While most of the workspaces are far from shared spaces but sometimes users miss engaging chat as well as doorbells if they are alone
Problem 11: Most of the existing workspaces aren’t dynamic and sometimes a little boring as well
It is essential to carefully consider the user’s needs, pain points, and goals to solve problems with crazy ideas. Let’s turn on the afterburners and put more and more exciting thoughts in place.
All the ideas are good, though we must prioritize the top 3 ideas for moving forward.👇
Why I Chose this idea 💡
After thinking through all the problems, cleaning the workspaces on a regular basis is a common problem that each one wants to overcome, and facing numerous issues while doing so.
While talking about cleaning the home workspace or their office space, each one said they wanted to do it every day or on alternate days. Still, the objects kept in the workspaces must be cleared before cleaning the space. In the same way, it’s challenging to cover the workspace every day. Many inaccessible spots can’t be touched every day, so lots of unwanted dust keep accumulating, which requires deep cleaning every alternate month. They also said spaces hidden from our eyes are tough to clean because of skills and the unavailing of portable resources that can be easily used at the home office.
While digging dipper, some of the thoughts I kept thinking about
- Can clean space improve our productivity?
- Can it be a little quick and simple to accomplish?
- Although the task may have only required a few minutes if all objects were placed where they belonged in an ideal world
- My physical environment has a significant effect on the way that we work. When our space is a mess, so are we
- Every day the amount of time I spend thinking about how to clean my space could have been spent reading a few more chapters
After having a couple of debates within the group, here is the final one that I have decided to build. 👇
It’s a mini & portable, chargeable vacuum cleaner with small suction motors, filters, a couple of soft brushes and a small dust bin to address this issue. A portable vacuum cleaner is like a duster that can wipe the surfaces of every object, and the suction motor will collect hidden dust. The nylon brush can remove any stiff leftover dust, and because of portable in nature, all the parts can be detached while moving.
- Front View: Power on/ off button, charging spot, charging indicator, cap, bin with a small hole and brush.
- Product explodes view: This is to showcase the different parts of the products that can be screwed together to form them whenever required.
- Product Placement: Product placement will help us understand how portable it is and the space it occupies. It will be similar to the size of a lightweight paperweight that can be used as a paper holder if required.
Time to get feedback from the actual users on whether the product we made will work or not? Keep an open mind and follow the user.
Some users felt unscrewing and putting all the parts together was an issue in the long run. Make the small dust bin only the removable part so that they don’t need to detach all the pieces again and again.
Some users feel a small nozzle can help reach all inaccessible corners/ areas.
Some users still feel the product requires manual intervention. Can we implement some mechanism to make the process automated to make cleaning more hassle-free?
Users also feel the weight of the product should be lighter than a paperweight, so it should be accessible to all kinds of users.
- Empathizing with users requires lots of experience and practice.
- Decoding user’s literal and lateral needs should be interpreted by digging deeper into their behavioural needs.
- All user’s problems aren’t worthy enough to be solved.
- Ideate more, don’t think about perfection.
- Embrace failures and iterate quickly for a better solution.
- Validating with users after building any product is essential for long-term success.
- Doing better interviews with users, asking more open-ended questions and looking for stories will help me understand users in-depth.
- Empathizing with users more and leaving my biases away while building any solutions.
- Yet to write my actual product case study, finger crosses🤞
Thanks to my friends who helped me throughout the case study and to my mentor, Anudeep Ayyagari, for guiding me.
Do give your feedback and valuable comment so I can improve next time.😁
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