Assignment 3- Brittni Dye

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For this week's assignment I was given one of my chosen sub-themes; Snow Games. I was really excited about this topic considering playing in the snow was my absolute favorite thing to do as a kid. I grew up in Minnesota and every year the first snow fall always had me wishing the snow was in ripe condition for the very best snow games.

When observing and interviewing, I wanted to make sure that I got some input from different age groups to really consider how each person would like "snow game products" to be made.

Winter Games Sub Theme

For my first observation I knew I wanted to talk to my neighborhood kids. There are two little boys that live next door to me and I have chatted with them outside many times before. They are two very interesting and creative young men. When I came outside to visit and brought up the word snow, both of their eyes lit up and they immediately started talking about their plans for when the snow falls. I then asked them what their favorite things to do in the snow were and they both answered, snowball fights of course.

When asked about snowball fights in general, they told me that they sometimes have to bring out some water to mix in with the snow to make a perfect snowball. When I asked why this was, they seemed a little confused at the question, and they just explained that the snow sometimes just doesn't stick together.

The older sibling mentioned that he thought it would be much cooler if he had a gun type toy to shoot the snowballs instead of having to use his arm all the time since it's difficult to throw with all your strength with layers of warm clothing on. They were so excited I also somewhat heard them mention something about carrying the snowballs in their jacket pockets and running back to their safe spot to reload.

The boys also told me that they always build a fort out of the giant snow pile along the driveway that their Dad makes with the snow blower. The younger of the two boys told me it's easy to dig a hole in an already built snow mountain, but it get's destroyed pretty easily.

Overall, my observation of the playful conversation between these two neighbor brothers was so intriguing. They opened my eyes to so many opportunities for new ways to play in the snow. I consider young kids to be experts in snow games since they are the ones engaging in that kind of play most often today.

The two boys need a way to safely build their snowballs, carry them while in combat, and easily be able to launch them at a quick speed!

Interview with Boys

Driveway Snowforts

The second person I interviewed is a Fisheries and Wildlife Major at the U of M and she happens to be a snow lover as well. I asked her to take me back to her snow playing days and she gave me a lot of feedback. She told me that she and her Dad would build the biggest snow fort in their front yard, in fact about 7 feet fall. She said it was a lot easier getting help from her Dad and when it was finished she could fit all her friends inside of it with her. She also mentioned that she would build small chairs and table surfaces made of snow on the inside of her fort as furniture.

This U of M student needs a way to easily build a large fort (without the help of her dad) and a tool to help quickly build snow seating for all her friends!

Student Interview

The last person I spoke to about Winter games was family of a friend, a women living and working in Minneapolis. She told me she loves the city and everything that has to do with it, including winter especially since she doesn't have to drive in it to go to work. On the topic of snow games, the woman laughed and told me she used to love to have snow ball fights with all of her friends but sometimes she remembered the snowballs were icy and a little bit dangerous, especially hits to the face which she mentioned always ended the fun. She also told me she remembered these plastic rectangle cut outs to make blocks out of snow she would use for fort building and chair building. She told me those would come in handy to make a seat sometimes when waiting for the buses in Minneapolis come winter time, sacrificing of course a warm butt.

She needs a way to transport a tool to build snow seats on the go as well, and would also love some kind of protection from dangerous icy snowballs.

Working woman interview

Since I can't technically observe snow games at the moment (no snow on the ground, sadly) I wanted to get myself in the mood so I looked up some videos of Snow fort making, and massive snow ball fights. This one for example was pretty fun to watch

and this one too:

My bug list I know will keep growing, but so far I've just noticed every day things that are just too complicated. There are so many simple solutions that I wish I had the opportunity to change so I documented these. 1. I was sitting in a car and was told there was a USB connector to play music, however I looked and looked and could not find it. I finally had to look in the manual and found that the connection was located inside of the glove box! 2. Kota has a treat that keeps treats inside and he's is supposed to be able to get them out eventually, however. not even I can get them out.... 3. I'm so tired of having to wrap up my power cords all the time and I wish they had a button to wind each side up just like on some vacuums. 4. Sometimes I fry things in a pan and when I'm done using the oil, I have to dispose of it in a can to throw away, however it is incredibly difficult to pour out of a regular skillet, and I wish it had pouring spout. 5. I like the sensor paper towel dispensers in bathrooms however it only dispenses a small portion and then you must wait a little bit to be able to get a new one... 6. I absolutely hate it when the shower curtain blows back at you when taking a shower and I wish there were an easier way to keep it where it is.

Bug List

2 Comments

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You had a wide variety of interviewees. They ranged from children to college students to older adults, and both males and females. You even stated that as your goal – “I wanted to make sure that I got some input from different age groups”
Well done with that.

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I found the pictures of the notes you had taken to be shown very suddenly in your entry. I would suggest that you introduce the pictures with a short description or caption. As the reader suddenly sees it, they’re like, ‘whoa.. what is this.’ Of course as you continue to read through the notes you realize they have to do with the interviews. A caption or introduction to these notes gives the reader a sort-of heads up and results in giving them a smoother reading experience.

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After you asked the boys why they bring water outside, I would suggest that you follow up with another question asking them about their experience of carrying out water. What makes that a true problem? Perhaps if they explain their experience doing this it would reveal further why it’s a problem or hassle. I do understand, however, that these boys were quite excited and probably didn’t give you much time for a follow-up question!

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It was a good idea to incorporate videos into your observation. But it was too bad that they didn’t actually end up being displayed correctly in your entry. I would’ve also enjoyed hearing more about your observations through those videos – more than just that they were fun to watch. What did you learn from them? How do people make forts? Were there any common themes? Or any strange themes that stand out?

Brittni,

I really like how in depth you went with this post, especially with the neighborhood kids. I agree that kids are somewhat of experts in the field of winter games, as they are constantly outside playing in the snow.

One critique I would mention right off the bat, is that it seems you narrowed your focus down a little early to snow fort building/ snow ball fights. It would be interesting if you had asked the kids broader questions to get them thinking about other things they could do to entertain themselves in the snow. For example, sledding/ skiing/ snowboard/ tubing/ etc.

You got some really interesting and usable input from the kids about using water to firm up and make better snowballs! I think this could turn into a product opportunity but I would try not to narrow it down too much until later. Think of other things this could be applied to! For example, a winter water sprayer to firm up snow for a variety of activities.

Overall, I think you are going in the right direction and have some interesting and fun material to work with in the future!

I think you got a little bit too much into thinking of inventions/ solutions, rather than trying to point out problems and areas for improvement.

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This page contains a single entry by dyexx061 published on November 10, 2013 11:17 PM.

Assignment 2- Brittni Dye was the previous entry in this blog.

Assignment 4- Brittni Dye is the next entry in this blog.

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