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Harmony Kit
with Lulu McRoberts, Brys Fleming-Henning, and Luke Raddue

Overview:
A product of participatory design, Harmony Kit is a system that allows for quick strap length adjustment between two different sized people, on any backpack. Working through the full design process with our participants, we hosted multiple workshops, conducted research and worked tirelessly on iterations. This process allowed us to zero in on the pain points of co-travel and build a solution to meet Emily and Dave’s needs.

Context:
9 Weeks, Design Methods Course, University of Washington

What I did:
Research Lead, Product Brainstorming, Poster and Presentation Design

Harmony Kit hero shot

Identifying the Problem

Sitting down with our participants, we conducted design ethnography learn more about their frustrations with travel.

Methods:
  • Breakup Letter
  • Personal Interview
  • Artifact Analysis

breakup-letter-2

Takeaways

“Unless you can shrink and expand… sorry, but it’s time to let you go.”

“You just fit a 5′ 10″ dude better than a 5′ 2″ woman”

Meeting with Emily and Dave we discovered the strain that “the backpack” caused on their trips. Emily explained how their shared day pack often felt like a third person they had to take care of.


How might we create a portable system that enables sharing, while aiding Emily and Dave’s need for quick and light travel.



Principles

Productive – Adaptable – Harmonious – Durable

  • Not over-functioned. Straight and to the point. A final product that furthers the experience of traveling by creating a more enjoyable user experience.
  • The product should fit the constantly changing needs of the individual users by accommodating the many conditions and environments of travel.
  • A product that encourages harmony between travel partners by preventing unnecessary “friction” situations.
  • The product should withstand prolonged and frequent use.

Ideation

With a how might we statement and design principles to guide the team, we began to explore possible solutions. What started out as an exercise to keep our options broad ended up leading us away from our original goals. This was a problem. We became obsessed with designing backpacks, discussing possible features and mechanisms for our new bag.

Ideation sketches

After taking a step back over the weekend, I realized that a custom backpack was not what they needed, or wanted. What seemed like critiques on the bag itself were merely surface level, it was the act of sharing a backpack that was so frustrating. As a team we agreed to simplify, looking through our notes one idea stood out: Harmony Kit.


Harmony Kit

Harmony Kit was designed to enable two people to share a single daypack throughout their travels. Standard backpacks require an involved process to change strap lengths and can often get in the way. The design of the kit allows for two people to set different strap lengths on a single pack. Without having to reset the bag each time they switch the pack, the stress of handing off the weight while rushing to catch a connection or packed in a busy market disappears.

Storyboard of the product harmony