This was a class project while I was working on my Masters in ID degree. I found the project to be interesting mostly because of what I learned by paying attention to my users. The project was very open ended. We were encouraged to create some sort of consumer product. I was interested in consumer electronics and as a father with young children, I had been watching my kids interest in photography grow thanks to the smart phone. I decided to tackle a kids camera. Looking around at current offerings, I could see that they skew heavily toward cameras that take marginal to unusable pictures and don’t address any skill development in young photographers.
I also collected some inspirational objects that spoke to the aesthetic that I was wanting to align to
My first direction was a fairly conventional shape. The side handles are larger than the body to protect the buttons and screen. This is a pretty familiar camera shape to kids, and they understand how to use it.
When showing my work and discussing it a conversation came up about how my daughter is left handed and what that meant for a conventional camera shape. I decided to make some foam models and see how my kids would play with them. I had high hopes for the single grip camera, I felt it addressed the left vs. right handed issue rather nicely.
During play with the models, I noticed that the kids enjoy the more conventional shape. Even though they haven’t had a lot of experience with cameras, they have a mental model for how cameras are held. Using the one handed camera is foreign to them and I notice that they tend to use two hands anyway.
A chance encounter at a friends house led me to rethink my direction: my kids picked up a kaleidoscope and just loved it. I noticed it right away and thought about all the times they had played with paper towel rolls, imagining them into telescopes and decide to explore using a horizontal tube as the main shape.
The final model combines a tube with a body to create space for a screen to review photos. The soft rubber grip provides a tactile experience for the users. The controls are minimal, and the aim is to provide photos that match the quality of smartphones by providing space for a larger lens.
Grip is removable and interchangeable to allow for personalization.
This was a quick, one semester project and even in that small amount of time, I managed to ideated and test those ideas with real proxy users. Viewing them with the prototypes allowed me to see where my assumptions were incorrect and to then imagine new ways to serve their needs by seeing how they interacted with other object besides my prototype. It was a great validation that quick and dirty research can yield great results.