Physical Object Design

For Prime Digital Academy


Users: Students at Prime Digital Academy undertake an intensive, 20-week coding bootcamp in order to enter the job market as full stack developers.

Methods: Participant Observation I Heuristic Analysis I Directed Story Telling I Usability Testing I Findings Report

Tools: Drill Press I Air Nailer I Sander


The Challenge

To design a functional and meaningful replacement for the previous water bottle welcome gift.


The Solution

Create a tray that not only carries a coffee and water but allows students to use their favorite bottle or the always accessible Prime dishes.


The Approach

To design a functional and meaningful replacement for the previous water bottle welcome gift.

Participant Observation

Before designing an object for Prime students it was important to get to know who the Prime student is and what their needs are. For two days current Full Stack students were observed to better understand student needs.

Key Finding: While some students use water bottles to drink water, a larger portion of students were drinking water from Prime glasses or coffee from Prime mugs. This caused a backlog in dishes because people would loose track of their mug or glass and reach for another.

My Design Concepts

I designed 3 concepts that looked at the needs students with the focus on hydration, while acknowledging that students seem to use prime dishes extensively.


Concept One

Concept One

Concept Two

Concept Two

Selected Concept

Selected Concept

The goals for the selected concept were to:

  • Integrate with Prime dishes

  • Reduce the use of mugs and glasses by helping students keep track of them

  • Help students stay organized by allowing for supply organization

  • Act as a work surface during lectures

  • Enable for supplies to be carried when transitioning from lecture to work time

Ready, Set, Prototype!

After getting confirmation on this concept, it was time to create a prototype. Leonardo's basement was an excellent place to work! With a multitude of tools, the "Carry-all" prototype was created.

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Is this Useable and Meaningful for Prime Students?

In order to decide if this prototype was useable and meaningful, user evaluations were required. Users were asked to use "think aloud" protocol while looking at prototype and completing tasks. Users were then asked to rate the likelihood of use-ability.

After 3 user evaluations, it was clear that while the concept was intriguing for users, if it were to be used, there would need to be some modifications to the design.


It's Worth Iteration!

Based on user evaluation, there were a variety of modifications needed, however there was a spark of something valuable here for Prime students. With a few modifications, this could be meaningful and useable.

Modifications include:

  • Rotation of laptop compartment to the front for better access

  • Addition of a second beverage holder to accommodate water and coffee

  • Addition of an arm that can accommodate use during lectures

Sketches for prototype improvements recommended.

Sketches for prototype improvements recommended.

Below is the full Research and Design Proposal for next steps.