Monday, 5 December 2011

How To...//Self-Evaluation

What problem did you identify?
How To Take Care of a Guinea Pig; targeted at first time guinea pig owners who would need easy-to-understand information on caring for their new pet.

What evidence did you find to support your decisions?
- box being multi-functional; guinea pigs get nervous if they are in an unfamiliar smelling environment
- colour scheme; seen in other pet product packaging 
- guinea pigs need loving and feeding the most out of everything; shown in graph on the side of the packaging
- food chart; I was in charge of researching the food/feeding/water aspect of caring for a guinea pig and was surprised at some of the foods guinea pigs can't eat such as iceberg lettuce; we clearly displayed the types of food they can and cant have to remind the owner
- guinea pigs tend to chew through material such as cardboard so the ink would have to be edible so as not to poison the animal

What methods did you use to gather your evidence and what forms did it take?
I found that the book Data Flow by Gestalten was particularly helpful in acquiring secondary information and research into infographics. It helped me come up with ideas for format and layout that I then  related to guinea pigs when drawing up initial designs for the box. I also looked at pet care websites and pet charity websites for tips on what to feed guinea pigs and how they need to be cared for, finding that the RSPCA website was particularly useful and also trustworthy. Other members of the group carried out surveys, visited pet shops and posted questions on guinea pig forums to contribute to the group research that we then collated.

What methods of research did you find useful and why?
Most of the secondary research that we collected as a group ended up being the most useful, predominantly the research from the more reliable websites that gave tips and instructions on looking after a guinea pig properly and also design websites containing examples of product packaging which helped to inform our final outcome and colour scheme. Primary research was much harder as a method mainly due to the fact that between us as a group, we didn't know anyone with guinea pigs who could give us first-hand information.

How did these inform your response to your problem?
The information collected on what to feed/what not to feed a guinea pig was collected into a colour coded table, along with information on breed that was designed as a flow chart format, behavioural aspects of the pet and a two week care guide all of which was developed from research within the group on these different aspects. 

What methods did you encounter as problematic?
Due to a lack of time on this brief, there was a lot more in-depth and primary information that could've been researched to help inform our final response. There was a lack of market research and so we didn't have much research into product packaging, particularly aimed at pets which meant that there was less existing material to inform the design and improve any current available products.

How did you overcome this?
Amongst the group, we had just enough information to help inform our decisions and Ross was able to visit Pets at Home for market research and report back to the group on his findings. Within the time limit, we distributed the research evenly and fairly amongst everyone and this ensured that we a sufficient amount of facts, figures, statistics and design ideas to fulfil the brief.

What research could you have carried out that would have proved more useful?
With more time, we could've visited more pet shops and pet stores for more detailed information on pet products already on the market and how there could be improvements on design features and aesthetics. Also, more first-hand research could've been collected if we'd had more time, in order to find out tips and look into the experiences first-time guinea pig owners had with their pets.

List five things that you have learnt about the design process over the last two weeks:
1) that the internet is not always a reliable resource for research during the design process due to its immense content and that some information is merely an individuals perspective or opinion and not necessarily entirely accurate.
2) research is imperative in communicating an effective idea to the public
3) the final outcome is not the most important aspect of the design process but the process itself and how, as a designer, you've reached your final outcome
4) it is important that during a group brief, no time is wasted arguing or deliberating over different ideas and styles but communicating together and combining aspects from each individual and the skills they provide to the group
5) if the research for the brief has been done thoroughly enough, then the more straightforward an logical it will be to progress onto the final outcome 

List five things you would do different next time:
1) use more resources for research, particularly primary research
2) make quicker decisions to help speed the process along and not waste any time
3) push own ideas forward more within a group dynamic
4) be more thorough and detailed in blogging and documenting work
5) work consistently throughout the brief

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