Reduce the stress associated with using a blender.
My challenge was simple: Reduce the stress associated with using a blender/smoothie maker. When I began this project, I was studying the work of Charles and Ray Eames, whose playful, user-centered methodology really resonated with me. They taught me that it is through play and use that you are able to recognize a need - and after all, good design should derive from this. With this in mind, I began my process playing with all sorts of blenders, and then started testing them with my peers.
Even though many explained that having too many options was confusing, there were a few users who preferred having lots of options, depending on what they needed to blend. At this point I began ideating and prototyping one-speed blenders. Like the work of Charles and Ray, I wanted my design to be clever and intuitive, without being predictable.
Although my sample size was limited to 20 students in the beginning, I found interesting insights which began inspiring ideas. The first, a large majority of the users expressed fear about the blender lid flying off and causing a mess. Most held the blender steady with two hands, even if the lid was on tightly. Next, despite having an option for different speeds, a majority of the users only used one control - the most popular option being "pulse".
Prototyping & Testing
After 100 sketch various and 50 cardboard prototypes, I was ready to build a working model, which I made out of pine wood, for testing.
When pressure is applied to the top the motor turns on, and when pressure is release it stops immediately. This takes away the risk of accidents, because the motor cannot turn on unless the lid is in the secure position. While some users were confused by the lack of button controls, ultimately they were excited when they discovered the interaction and ease of use.
Although I was happy with the interaction, the form still needed work. Recently, I've played with proportions, distinguished the parting line, added ventilation, and rounded the radii. I am adding adding adjustments to Lena incrementally, so if you have any suggestions please send them my way!