Theme Focus: Straining
I created a very informal focus group with some friends. I made it like a discussion and had them build off each others thoughts and stories. I used the following questions as prompts to encourage discussion.
- Tell a story you have about using a strainer
- Explain 2 pros and 2 cons about strainers
- Describe the strainer you own
- Comment on the storage of your strainer
- What would you do if you did not own a strainer?
- I once set a strainer on the stove and the hot air vent melted the plastic. Now the holes are not all the same size.
- My strainer holes are too big. When I make spaghetti, the noodles fall through.
- I have very small holes in my strainer, but they get clogged a lot. It would be nice to have multiple layers that would filter big pieces and small pieces.
- I have one strainer that folds flat to store, but its really hard to clean because food gets stuck in the folding grooves.
- I can never find a good place to store my strainer because it is so bulky.
I looked at different models of strainers and watched 2 of my friends while they used them (I tried my best to observe without interfering)
The first person was straining spaghetti and got burnt by the hot steam. The strainer had feet to sit in the bottom of the sink, but the sink was full of dishes so it could not be used as intended. The handles on the strainer were part of the rim and forced his hand to be right next to the steaming hot water while he poured.
The second person I watched was filtering grains and hops from wort (beer mixture) . The strainer he used had a small metal grid with a long handle. Due to the small holes, the grains continued to clog the strainer and forced him to clean it out every several minutes. This seemed very frustrating for him and took a lot of time.
I made a storyboard of straining pasta. This allowed me to think through my experiences with strainers and how I interact with them.
I also performed the storyboard chain of events to remind me of all the problems that occur when straining. I personally hate using strainers because they are a huge pain to wash and get clean. As an alternative, I use a grated spoon to prevent the noodles from escaping. Recently, I lost half of my pasta to the dirty sink because of this method. I need a better option, but still can't convince myself to deal with using a strainer.
Areas for Improvement:
The three major problems I found are listed below.
- Hole size is never right
- Cleaning strainers is too difficult
- Strainer storage is a pain (including drying rack storage)