I have been compiling a large collection of artefacts to use as both inspiration and prototype components. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to collect all the pieces that I need to trial my current vision for my final piece. After completing my clay scent cups I was able to set up a day of user trials, to observe people’s reactions to my early prototype. I was able to get the opinion from some different people who were new to the project and so had no previous conception of what I was trying to establish, the perfect candidate for a user trial.
On the day I set up a table full of different components and artefacts, this was for the first task. The first task consisted of the user selecting items that they would use to prepare loose leaf tea, as they would at home. Below an image of the first couple conducting this task can be seen. Once they had collected these items I asked them firstly why they had chosen them and the process they would use to prepare tea using these items.
After that task we quickly moved onto the early prototype trial. This consisted in m setting up all the items I wished to have in my final piece (as can be seen on the bamboo mat below) and asking the users to prepare a cup of tea using all the items that they wished to. The aim of this prototype is to understand what items the users do not need to wish to have. As expected the users completed the task avoiding all the unusual and specialist items, this is the result I expected to see. The next part of the prototype is the part I intended to learn on. After the completion of the trial I asked the users why they did not use certain utensils and if they even knew what they were for. The answers I received showed clearly that they did not understand there use but would have used them if they had been educated in there use before conducting the experiment.
Other than just finding out what utensils the users wished to use I also intended to learn if the correct order of preparation was easily foreseen. I was able to observe that the order of thing’s changed depending on the user, a feat that is by no means wrong, but can complicate the end product. From asking the users about this, it was brought up that a walk through could be handy to the initial user, after of which the first user could teach their friends and it could become a bonding exercise. A basic instruction manual could be an interesting idea, but portrayed in a specialist way. some comments that were made are listed below:
- Would like to use the device in a group
- More than one teapot
- Tea pots should be able to fill up two cups each as a minimum
- A set of 5 internal teas, in a caddy
- External kettle is preferred due to not wanting to wait on the water boiling in a more traditional manor. He has experienced this before and enlightens me to the fact that it’s very tedious.
- Matt materials are preferred.
- Don’t like to use everything to reduce the amount of dishes.
- Likes craft items and the aroma that they produce
- Would appreciate the tea more if educated in its use
- Appreciates immersive experiences
- Would prefer to use a large tea pot when two people are present in place of 2 teapots, on the basis that the two people were drinking the same tea. However if there was two different teas in use then 2 teapots would be more appropriate.
- Don’t feel that an internal tea caddy is necessary
- Do not care for heating the cups
- The ultimate goal is the tea consumption, not the preparation
- Would prefer an external kettle but doesn’t want to have to carafe the tea. An external device or implement that heats the water to the correct temperate would be preferred.
- Prefers an infuser that can be removed so the tea leaves don’t have to be left sitting in the water, hence making the tea bitter.
- Free flowing tea leafs are messy to clean up.
- Prefers a decorative clay glaze. Likes the idea that it’s a rare item that only has a few others out there. Doesn’t feel mass production is at all appropriate.
- Within the book “in the rise of shadows” by “tazazakis” it is explained that matt clay with a gold rim is relevant to Japanese homes and the atmosphere that they wish to present.
- Dark soothing colours, not glossy
- If I owned a nice tea set I wouldn’t use it often but if it’s a little bruised than I would use it daily.
- In a set if you break one you can’t use it anymore
- Likes the fact that when you read a book you grant it a personality by breaking and twisting its cover.
From talking to both my users and Sean Kingsley within the university workshop, I was able to morph my concept and allow it to take shape in a much more appealing way. The image below shows the components that I wish to build and the materials I intend to use.