In our modern world, using your hands to work and build has not disappeared. However, working with hands and especially by using tools, problems such as blisters splinters and cramps may occur. It is therefore advised to wear gloves to protect your hands. However, not all gloves are made for everyone and designed for the right purpose. In order to provide the best protection, personalization of the design can be done by the user. Other products such as the 3D fit lingerie (“Topology: Custom-Tailored Eyewear”, 2019; “Haute Comforture Lingerie & Bold Jewelry” 2019) have already executed similar techniques, with success.
A possible framework to create this personalization is through the Ultra Personalized Product Service System model (Nachtigall et al.,2018). Since multiple stakeholders are included in this co-design model, an exchange of data is almost certain to happen. The way this data is communicated could have an effect on results or can be preferred in different circumstances. This research will look into these different methods of providing data to the co-designer and conclude advise for future co-design sessions. Following the Lab methodology to design the user test (Koskinen et al., 2011), this research investigates the different methods of providing data to co-designers (users). Therefore, it was decided to focus on one phase – Design (co-design and co-creation) present in both UPPSS and UPPS models (Nachtigall et al., 2019; “Fieldlab UPPS: ultra personalized products and services”, 2015).
To let the participants design their own working gloves, a simple hands-on co-design tool was created. The tool consisted of a stretchy glove the participant could wear, and three types of patches. One side of the patches was made of Velcro so the patches could be easily placed on the glove. The participants were then asked to attach the patches to the glove after being provided on of the three types of data: No data, to test how the participant would complete the design task based on intuition; Visual data representation, a graphic pressure map projected on a hand; Experience data, making the participant use a tool to experience the patches that they just attached. These three methods were tested to every of the eight participants, who were all people who would work with gloves and using tools often, in a random order to counter the ‘order effect’.
When choosing the right methodology for the execution of research, I was confident in the decision I had made. This because the background research that I had performed on the three different methodologies showed clear differences between them. I personally believe design to be a field that lies really close to art. There are multiple ways these two fields are very similar, however I do believe that design should be based on facts and scientific data. That scientific value is closely integrated in the lab approach, which was why I decided to use it.
However, when explaining my decision in week 1 I described that lab has a large problem: not being able to test within the context. I previously thought that many data would be influenced or lost when not testing directly in the context of the problem. Although I first saw the three methodologies as largely separate techniques, I now have experienced that they can be mixed in many different ways. Especially interesting to me was the combination of lab and field. This would make it possible to solve the context issue, by incorporating a part of the field into the controlled environment. That change transformed my perception of research through design. This, because it becomes possible to ask very specific questions in the field of design (and the fields surrounding) it, without compromising for effects of decontextualization. Layered, smaller details of knowledge are then able to shape design to its highest potential. In addition, through this it also becomes possible to perform research on research methods themselves.