September 2011 Archives

Bug list

| No Comments

Things that bug me...


  1. Backpack makes shirt roll up when walking/riding bike
  2. Computer AC cord -  portion from black box to wall is replaceable, but not black box to computer
  3. Turning on kitchen sink to wash meat-juice covered hands
  4. Dirty popcan tops
  5. U-Locks and the difficulties of looping them around bike racks, your bike posts, and through tires with frozen hands.
  6. Over-crowded campus connectors - I had to let 4 buses go by to get to St. Paul because they were too full.
  7. That tiny box on the PDES 5701 main page that only allows viewing thin strips of the syllabus and assignments at a time.

Design Wallet

| No Comments

"The Ex" Knife block:The ex knife holder.jpg

Whimsical furniture: 

Dr. Suess.jpg

Dripping table:

drip table.jpg

I pretty much love everything made by WorldWide Fred. Here are my top favorites:

  • Ninja bread: ninja bread.jpg
  • ABC Cookie: ABC cookies.jpg
  • To-Do tattoo:to-do tatoo.jpg

Assignment #3


1) Pick subtheme

First, here are some sub-themes I could choose:

General sinks: Cleaning, fixing, a day in the life of my sink

Bathroom category: Medicine cabinet, mirror, shower, shaving, toilet cleaning

Kitchen category: Washing dishes, microwave, food prep, food storage, kitchen organization

Other: doing laundry, drinking fountains, laboratory sink usage

I chose washing dishes by hand because this is easy to discuss with people and is also  something I really don't like doing. 

2) Ethnographic tools
Asking: Surveys, focus groups, interviews
Observing: observe users, cultural probe, storyboard experience, persona, map trends
Experiencing: use products, window shop

I chose interviews, observing users, and performing the task myself. 

3) Research

Interviews: I conducted interviews with various people who wash dishes by hand.

Subject 1:
1. How do you wash dishes? What tools do you use?
    I wash dishes with liquid soap and my hands. I do not use any other tools.
2. Why don't you use any other tools?
    I don't like sponges or brushes
3. Why don't you like sponges or brushes?
    They get food on them and then when you reuse them, it just spread that food and germs
4. Why does it spread food and germs?
    There is no way to remove the gunk from the brushes and sponges.
5. Do you enjoy washing the dishes? Why or why not?
    I don't like how long it takes to wash dishes and my hands get wrinkly from the soap and water.
6. Why does it take a lot of time to wash dishes?
    I put off washing dishes as long as I can. Then I have a lot to do. Plus I have to wash each dish separately and scrub hard to get the food off. 
7. Why do you put off washing dishes?
    It is a boring job and I am too busy to wash each dish after I use it.
8. Why do you wash each dish separately?
    I only have 2 hands and no other way of washing them at once.
9. Why do you your hands get wrinkly?
    They are in the water the whole time I'm washing the dishes.
10. Why are they in the water the whole time?
     I have to hold the wet dishes and I use my hands instead of tools. 

Subject 2:
1. How do you wash dishes? What tools do you use?
   I let the dishes soak in soapy water for an hour and then I scrub them with a soapy sponge and rinse them off.  
2. Why do you soak them in water?
    So the caked-on food softens and is easier to remove.
3. What do you like least about washing dishes?
    Reaching in the gross water to grab dishes.
4. Why is the water gross? Do you use gloves?
    The food comes off the dishes and floats in the water. I don't use gloves.
5. Why don't you use gloves?
    They are just another expense and when I tried it before I just got water inside them. I also can't use my fingers as well so it is harder to hold on to things. 
6. Why did water get in them?
    They weren't very long so I splashed water into them and when I reached into the bottom of the sink to grab a dish they went below the water level. 
7. Why did you splash water?
    When I dropped dishes because I couldn't hold them very well with the gloves and also when I rinsed dishes.
8. Do you like washing dishes? Why?
    No, I don't like taking up the sink for an hour and then sticking my hands in the dirty sink.
9. Why don't you like soaking dishes in the sink?
   It piles up high and blocks the tap so my roommate and I cannot use it.

Subject 3:
1. Describe how you would wash a plate.
    I'd fill up one side of my sink with hot soapy water and put the plate in it. Then I'd scrub the plate with my brush to get the food off and then rinse it in the other half of my sink. 
2. Tell me about the brush. What do you like and dislike about it?
   It is shaped like a cat, it has a long handle, I can reach inside cups and bottles with it. It touches the gross food so I don't have to, but it is hard to clean. 
3. How do you clean it?
    I scrub it with soap and water.
4. So you do have to touch the food gunk?
    Yes, but by then most of it is gone.
5. Do you like to wash the dishes? Why?
    No, It is boring and takes a long time and I am tired after work.
6. Why does it take a long time?
    I put off washing dishes because I don't like to do it. By the time I get around to doing it, there is a mountain of dishes to do.
7. Where is this mountain of dishes?
    Everywhere! On the counters and tables and in the sink.
8. What could make your dish washing experience better?
    Paper plates.  Or a maid. Or a dish washer. Or entertainment -- putting a TV by the sink or something. 

Observation: I watched Subjects 1 and 2 wash dishes and these are my observations:

Subject 1: This person's sink was small, which made getting large dishes, like mixing bowls, under the faucet difficult. It also did not have a drain plug. The user had a pump soap dispenser which she could use with only one hand. She had large glasses so she could reach inside to get them clean. 

Subject 2: This user filled the sink with very hot soapy water. The temperature was so high, she was careful not to keep her hands in it for very long. While scrubbing the dishes, she splashed bubbles and water onto the counter. After doing the dishes, she used the extra bubbles to scrub the counter. When finished with her sponge, she rinsed it out with hot water and set it on the edge of the sink to dry.

Thumbnail image for IMAG0256.jpg

Idea Board
Dishwashing idea board.jpg
 I washed dishes myself and noted my experience:

I set the dirty dishes (2 plates, 2 bowls, 1 cup, a fork and a spoon) on the counter top next to the sink. I used soap from a pump dispenser and tried to only use my hands to scrub the dishes clean. The plates and silverware had fresh spaghetti sauce on them, so they were easy to clean. I used a squirt of soap for each item, which was pretty wasteful. It was difficult to reach inside the bottom of the cup and when I rinsed it, the water pressure was so high it caused the water to shoot out of the cup and all over the counter. One of the bowls had caked on oatmeal. I let it soak for a few minutes, but still needed to use a sponge to clean it. The sponge got the gunk off the bowl, but I could not clean the sponge off when I was finished. After the dishes were cleaned, I put them in a rack to dry.

3) Identify product opportunities
      1. Product for scrubbing caked on food that can easily be washed/sanitized
      2. A way to make small amounts of soap go farther
      3. Something to keep hands dry that fits small hands and doesn't hinder dexterity
      4. An attractive way to store dirty dishes
      5. A way to shorten time it takes to wash dishes <----***
      6. A way to get people to wash dishes more often so it doesn't pile up <---***

Assignment #2


Part 1: Get in a playful mood.

This was joyfully accomplished by watching my favorite TV classic, M*A*S*H. I also threw in an episode of Drew Carry's Improv-A-Ganza for good measure. (It's just like Who's Line, but in Vegas and with half the Drew Carry)

Part 2: Mind map- sink/basin theme

My first mind map branched into various themes from "sink/basin" but soon I filled up the paper, so I created another map intent on going as far as I could off each new idea. I started with "kitchens" and "faucets" and then the map blew up from there, making all sorts of crazy connections.

Mind Map #1:

Assgn 2_map4.jpg

Mind Map #2

Assgn 2_map2.jpg

Part 3: Ten silly ideas

I used cross products and an association map to brainstorm sink/basin-themed products.

Assgn 2_map1.jpg

I started thinking about items in the kitchen: measuring cup, can opener, grater, spatula, ladle, potato masher, salt & pepper shakers, funnel, oven mitts, pots and pans, strainer, bowls, cookie sheets, muffin pans, cutting board, knives, mixer...and referred back to the initial mind maps to brainstorm silly ideas.

Some cross products: 

Glasses+ science = beaker and test tube glasses

Tupperware + alarm clock = gross-out meter

Rolling pin + hardware = ruler roller 

Cookie sheet + hardware = cookie dough placement system


Assgn 2_map3.jpg

---TOP 10 Ideas--- (images below)


1. Mustache chip clip

2. Test tube and flask drinking glasses

3. Cookie Cup: a long and narrow cup, perfect for dipping cookies

4. Cookie Sheet: a cookie sheet with cookies on it indicated proper cookie placement for the typical cookie recipe (2" apart"

5. Have mercy potato peeler: a potato peel that resembles a knife in design, emits a screaming noise when potato is peeled

6. Tupperware with "Gross-Out Meter" to indicate your leftovers level of grossness (advances each day)

7. Rolling pin with depth measurement: allows you to roll the perfect ¼" dough

8. Clear sink - see-through sink bowl allows you to see your counter aquarium or whatever design you choose to put beneath it.

9. Motorcycle pizza cutter: motorcycle's front wheel slices the pizza while it emits a "vrrrrroooom" noise

10. "Bombs away!" drain plug


Assgn2_ 10 ideas.jpg

Assignment 1


My mom taught me an easy sugar cookie recipe so I started with that.

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda


While I was considering the contents of my kitchen cabinets for exciting add-ins, my mom called to tell me a funny story about my little cousin. This 8 year old loves pigs and has about every stuffed animal and bank in existence that is in the shape of a pig.


Well, she went to the Oklahoma state fair with her family and her dad ordered a chocolate covered delicacy on a stick. She asked to try it and loved it at first - chocolate is another of her favorite things. Unfortunately, the delicious item was chocolate covered bacon. Apparently upon discovering this, her eyes doubled in size and she spent the rest of the afternoon trying to wash the guilty, bacon-flavored taste of betrayal out of her mouth.


Thanks to my cousin, I had determined my additional flavoring: bacon.


To cost-effectively try an iterative baking process, I cut my mom's recipe in half. 

Cookie trial #1:


1 cup flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter

1 egg

½ tsp baking soda

3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled


I mixed the above ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Then I formed balls and placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet. I baked them at 350F until the edges began to turn brown, about 10 minutes.



The cookies held together well and had a good texture. The flavor was fairly bland, though. I cooked the bacon until it was done, but it was still soft. These soft chunks were not very appealing in the final cookie.


            Add chocolate chips for another flavor.

            Add some vanilla extract for extra oomph.

            Cook bacon longer - until crunchy.


Cookie trial #2:


1 cup flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter

1 egg

½ tsp baking soda

3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup chocolate chips


I mixed the above ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Then I stirred in the chocolate chips. I formed balls and placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet. I baked them at 350F until the edges began to turn brown, about 10 minutes.


The cookies still didn't have a very strong flavor. They are not savory or sweet. I used a generic brand of chocolate chips and I don't care for them.  



Replace chocolate chips with cocoa powder. Increase sweetness with a little more sugar (1/4 cup). Bring out bacon flavor by adding a pinch of salt.  

Cookie trial #3:


1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

½ cup butter

1 egg

½ tsp baking soda

3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

I mixed the above ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer. I formed balls and placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet. I baked them at 350F for about 10 minutes.

Very tasty. I like the chocolate cookie better than the chocolate chips. The bacon is crunchy and adds a hint of flavor. 


Add one more strip of bacon for the final recipe.
Add a frosting for more oomph!



You can buy maple smoked bacon (I bought a cheaper kind, though) so this must be a good flavor pairing. Plus I love the maple frosting on donuts. I decided to make a maple frosting. The only maple-flavored ingredient I had on hand was maple syrup. I added this to my family's basic frosting recipe (vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk) and adjusted the proportions until it reached a thick glaze consistency.


¾ cup  powdered sugar

½ Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp milk


This worked well with the chocolate and brought out some of the bacon flavor. It still needed a little something. I added ¼  tsp cinnamon to the frosting - delicious.


And the final recipe is:


Chocolate Bacon Cookie

1 cups flour

¾ cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened

1 egg

6/8 tsp baking soda

4 strips bacon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cocoa powder

¼ tsp salt

1.      Preheat oven to 350F.

2.      Cook bacon between paper towels in microwave until easy to crumble.

3.      While bacon is cooking, beat remaining ingredients in a bowl until soft dough forms.

4.      Crumble bacon into smallest pieces possible and stir into dough.

5.      Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet

6.      Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes.

7.      Allow to cool before frosting


Maple-Cinnamon Frosting

¾ cup  powdered sugar

½ Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp milk

¼ tsp ground cinnamon


Whisk ingredients together to form thick icing. Frost cooled cookies.


Thumbnail image for IMAG0219.jpg


| No Comments
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells."
- Dr. Seuss

In the Far Western part Of south-east North Dakota Lives a very fine animal Called the Iota

Be sure to check out the Dr. Suess Art Gallery at 
Jean Stephen Galleries in downtown Minneapolis!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.