Uncategorized

Hand Blender Prototype

For model prototype exercise this week, we had options of either making prototype for handheld blender or stud finder. Below are lists of specification:

  1. A handheld immersion blender with a variable speed control and digital display that senses when the contents have achieved a specific consistency. Features include:
    • variable speed control – you decide the mechanism/interaction and whether it is fluid or distinct settings
    • digital readout of speed and content viscosity (monochromatic, non-touch sensitive)
    • can be used right or left-handed
    • product dimensions minimum of 12 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter for motor compartment
    • product weight is between 2–3 pounds
  2. A handheld stud-finder that incorporates digital display (monochromatic, not touch sensitive) and led indicatory light. Features include:
    • product dimensions approximately 6 x 3 x 2 in volume
    • product weight is approximately 1 pound
    • Indicator light shines an arrow-shaped light on the wall to mark the stud location
    • Ergonomic design can be comfortably held in either hand at any angle
    • digital display communicates:
      • Edges of wood or metal studs up to 3/4 in. deep
      • Tool calibration and reset
      • Over-the-stud indicator

I chose to design handheld immersion blender  because I always want to try one of those! I mainly focus on comfortable grip, works well for blending, as well as decorative when it is not in used. Even though OXO is interested in incorporating digital UI into a new hand blender product line, I found that there are many other ways of showing accurate viscosity and speed without using any digital readout. This will potentially reduce overall cost of the production and eliminate unnecessary digital components on hand blenders.

Since I have never used a handheld blender, I did my initial research by going to a cooking ware store and checked out a few different models of handheld blender. I also borrowed a friend’s hand blender in order for me to use and gain firsthand experience.

Two Screen Blenders

The good part about hand blander is that it can be used to quickly blend soups, sauces, vegetable, etc. in various kinds of container. However, there were a few problems I found while using it. Firstly, I didn’t know which way I should correctly grip the hand blender. Secondly, freely moving the hand blender up and down was very intimidating. Thirdly, there was no easy way to store the hand blender.
After analyzing the pros and cons of the handheld blender, I sketched out 3 different handheld blenders design which explore solutions to these problems and built prototypes accordingly.

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After building prototypes, I did user testing to see if there are any problem with my design. If you would like to see the video, please contact me!
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Prototype #1
The design was intended to address the problem of gripping, indicate speed and viscosity without using digital call out, and should be decorative when not in use.

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Feedback After User Testing
The user like the overall design and found that the cylinder shape is easy to grip. The bigger button clearly communicate bigger speed. She also understood that small button is for smaller speed. However, the user assumed that the red light indicate power (on/off). It wasn’t at all clear that the light suppose to indicate viscosity.

Prototype #2
The design was intended to explore the idea of simultaneous blending experience. Both ends can be used as blender. The blender itself can be separate into two parts which would beautifully stand on kitchen counter top.

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Feedback After User Testing
User liked overall design of the blender. She also really enjoy the fact that it can be placed on countertop easily and beautifully. Even though the two sided blender was an interesting idea, it may not work mechanically. The cone shape makes it harder to grip and she did not notice any light.

Prototype #3
The design was intended to address the problem of gripping, bigger button, visual indicator for speed and viscosity.

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Feedback After User Testing
The design provide the most comfortable grip out of all three prototypes. Buttons were very easy to push. The user is able to indicate the speed and viscosity indicator on the back of the blender. However, she had no idea what Liquid Volume Indicator bar was.

Analysis
Prototype number 3 delivers the most comfortable grip. It also successfully communicates speed and viscosity using minimal light indicator. I would recommend OXO to keep exploring this design.

Building model prototype is a very good way to quickly test product idea in 3 dimensions. When conduct user testing, user can give accurate feedback. He can physically feel the object and try out the concept design in real time. However, building model can be intimidating, familiarity with different tools is required.

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