The Wallet Challenge was fun and rewarding. I started out with a very practical but not too exciting drawing of my ideal wallet, and ended up being pleasantly surprised with an amazing design by my partner, H. It felt like participating in a holiday gift exchange and actually receiving a gift that I loved. During the interview process, both H and I were clear about the advantages and disadvantages of our current wallet situations, which made the next step of defining the problem easier.
But when it was time to generate solutions, I felt uncomfortable. I doubted my creative ability to design anything new and I also had doubts about whether I had accurately pinpointed my partner's needs. Could my partner's biggest problem really be that H needs a way to minimize loose change because coins are heavy?
Over the next few days as I contemplated possible solutions, I found self-criticism to be my biggest enemy. I wanted my designs to be new and practical, but I wasn't coming up with much. I decided to try thinking of solutions without clinging so close to the practicality requirement, and all of a sudden, I had three ideas. I was nervous to share my ideas with my partner, especially along with my rough drawings, but without even thinking I switched into sales mode and pitched my designs. I noted what H liked about each design, and went to work on a new solution, combining aspects of each of the three first designs into one.
The new bag had a scale in the bottom, which would alarm the user when the contents reached a preset weight. This addressed H's main issue of ending up with so much change that H's bag was too heavy. I added an automatic coin sorter in one compartment of the bag, so H could throw all the change in one part and it would sort and roll the change automatically. And a third compartment for pens, nail file, chap stick, and other necessities. All compartments connect down to the scale so they will be included in the total weight. I had to let go of practicality and reality in order to come up with this design, which was fun.
When building a model of the design, I ran out of time and only made the scale and the coin sorter. I felt like those were more important to see in the model, and the other two compartments could be effectively visualized. If I could do it again, I would budget my time more wisely so that I could finish building the model.
The Wallet Challenge provided a valuable introduction to the design process, allowed me to become more familiar with one of my classmates, and was fun.