Design Thinking Project — Case Study

Kota Bhaargavi Sai
7 min readFeb 18, 2022

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From what I thought was a tough grind to simplifying it as the game of mind and the art of doing.

Being a novice to UX, It really would have remained a tough grind to me if not for the boot camp that I enrolled for. Though this involved some serious work grind I was able to convince myself that this definitely isn’t rocket science.

“Design Thinking? what’s in a name?” was my first reaction when I was assigned this project.

At the end of the project, I exclaimed: “It’s all in the name.” (Read till the end to know why)😁

So we were divided into a team of four members. We were to assume the other three to be the only users for our focus area. Each of us was assigned a room of the house to focus upon. The bedroom was the area of focus I was assigned to work upon.

For how my mentor instructed to start was to follow the coherent process involving the following steps:

  • Empathize
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

But how it started for me?

It all started from a mistake, I was directly jumping into solutions and was all the while considering and thinking from my perspective.

That is my first learning- the entire process is highly user-centric.

By now I understood that just knowing the process was not going to help me, I had to define my objective for each step of the process.

  • Empathize — Get to know the user well that paves the way to acknowledge any pain points with their experience.
  • Define — Translate the pain points gathered from the user into a problem statement.
  • Ideate — Come up with various solutions that could solve the problem.
  • Prototype — Translate the ideas into a visual that represents a tangible solution.
  • Test — Test the solution with the user for their review and feedback.

This actually helped me be towed to the vehicle though I had the freedom to parasailing my thoughts and approaches.

User interviews

My first step was to get to know my users. For which I conducted user-interviews with three of my other teammates. I spent nearly 20–30 minutes getting to know each of the users.

To not ask the user direct questions was the toughest part of the user interviews.

I started asking questions first to get to know my user in general and then about their user experience with their bedroom.

I had a lot of follow-up questions but with the main focus starting from questions like —

1. what is your bedroom like?

2. what kind of storage do you have in your bedroom?

3. where do you place your phone when you are in your bedroom?

4. Do you work or eat in your bedroom?

5. what are your windows like, where are they fixed in your bedroom?

Key things that I learned from the user after the user interview:

About the user, about the user’s interaction with the experience, likes and dislikes of the user experience, an ideal experience, and gaps that exist.

Translating the insights

I was able to get some insights about the user experience with the bedroom, From which I could figure out the common pain point.

The user explained that —

“I’ve the windows in bedroom closed due to the mosquitoes and dust. Mosquitoes and having to keep cleaning the dust that settles on the nearby furniture area are annoying. These have led me to keep the windows in my bedroom closed all the time.”

Based on this I defined the problem statement as

The user has to keep her bedroom windows closed for the sake of mosquitoes and dust which is a hindrance to air inflow and cross ventilation. Design a solution for the window set-up that would let the user keep her windows open.

Before I started with solving the problem I had to justify as why it is important for the user.

I felt it is important for the user to have the windows not closed all the time because the windows serve as a natural source of ventilation in her bedroom and let fresh inflow of air into her room.

closing the windows to prevent the outdoor pollutants will result in the accumulation of indoor pollutants.

Indoor pollutants are considered to be worse than outdoor pollutants.

Hence I felt it is important for the user to not keep the windows closed all the time to have good air circulation and ventilation in the room.

Now that I had defined the problem statement, the next thing for me to do was to come up with solutions.

KBS to the rescue😜‍🛠🧠

I listed out all the possible solutions I could think of, that could solve the user’s problem using the crazy 8.

Crazy 8 is a method that was introduced to me by my mentor wherein I had to come up with 8 ideas in 8 minutes.

This indeed sounded crazy but worked for me.😎

So after eight minutes of brainstorming, I wrote down the 8 solutions —

1. Using the mosquito mesh for the windows

2. Placing air-purifying plants in the bedroom

3. Using the window dust screens

4. Might opt to use suitable mosquito repellents

5. Using dust covers.

6. Using a microfiber cloth to clean the settled dust on surfaces

7. Using an air purifier

8.Using vacuum cleaners with HEPA — high-efficiency particulate air filters

Out of these 8 solutions, I had to choose the best three ideas and give my rationale.

1. using a window screen filter

2. placing air-purifying plants in the room

3. using a microfiber cloth

Using the window screen filters prevents the entry of insects and also entraps dust, pollen.

Placing air-purifying plants helps purify the air in the room. If at all any dust accumulates on surfaces it can be got rid of by using a microfiber cloth.

All these thus enable the user to keep the windows open without having to worry much about the mosquitoes or dust. If the user wants to keep the windows open only for a while, detachable screens can be used.

Now, time for some action🎬🎬🎬

Of these top three, I found the window screen filter to be a better solution. This would be a two-in-one solution for both the issues of mosquitoes and dust that the user is facing. I translated the idea into a prototype to visually represent the solution.

The prototype description: Window dust screen — that is made of the nanofiber. The mesh membranes have specified pore size that can prevent the mosquitoes and entrap dust, pollen.

The structure is similar to a normal mosquito mesh but this window dust screen helps entrap dust also. So it can be fitted to the window frame using velcro or be fixed directly to the window frame.

The window dust screen can be detached when not needed or to clean. For being able to detach the dust screen, it can be fixed using magnets on the window frame. The detached dust screen can be cleaned using water or a vacuum cleaner.

It is a lightweight material that can be easily detached and stored when not in use. This screen can be customized to any type of window structure.

1. I created the prototype first as the sketch that is shown below:

2. Then a real-form representation of my solution:

3. Then I made an animation of how it can be detached and attached in case my user wants to use it only while keeping the windows open.

Finally, the testing stage🤞🏼🤞🏼

I arranged for a zoom meeting with my users to present my prototype. I had to test the idea that I translated into a prototype and get the rating and rationale for the same.

This was their rating and rationale:

  • USER 1 - 4.8/5

Rationale- the window screen requires cleaning

  • USER 2 - 4.8/5

Rationale- If we can clean it without taking it out because dust and dirt can also fall inside while taking it out from the window.

  • USER 3 - 4.7/5

Rationale- that the setup for the support of the product will be feasible for a user to be pre-planned as it won’t be easily installed in his case for the design of their window

But they seemed satisfied with the idea that it is solving their major problem.

I analyzed my work again to summarize my key learnings from this project as follows:

  1. This task helped me understand how important empathy is
  2. It helped me think from the user’s perspective
  3. It helped me analyze the situation as user-centric
  4. I Learnt how to analyze the problem statement
  5. I Learnt design thinking by actually doing it

And for the part that I kept you all waiting — “Design Thinking? what’s in a name?” By the end of this project, I got my answer that it's all in the name. It is to redefine, refine and develop my thinking to design effective user-centric solutions.

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Kota Bhaargavi Sai

That kinda purple 💜as irascible as ❤ it is serene 💙