Assignment #3


For this assignment I was given the topic of snow/ ice removal to research. I started by reading the Ethnology Primer and IDEO Bootcamp. I learned a lot from these two digital booklets, mostly about the process one takes in product design/ ideation. Some of the processes I've learned about for graphic design are similar to product design processes.

I interviewed three people and I always started with the question: What is your preferred tool to remove snow from flat surfaces. Out of the three people two of them were college students, one lived at home, the other at an on campus house. I choose to interview them because they both have to clear their own snow and they have lived in snowy places their whole life. The last one was a home owner from my neighborhood, who has lived in the area for 30 years and has grown up around the changing technology.

The two college kids said they preferred a shovel because it is easy to use, no maintenance is required, maneuverable, and inexpensive. From further questioning I realized that they didn't prefer a shovel but it is what they could afford. They would much rather have a snowblower to remove snow from surfaces, but only if it were a big area.

The older gentleman preferred a self propelled snowblower because it is easier for him to use because of his physical limitations and the fact that a shovel can be hard on his body. He said he uses a shovel when there is light snow or when he cannot get the snowblower into tight spaces.

Next I watched youtube videos of people shoveling snow to observe how they shoveled snow. The video below is a person form LA who has never shoveled snow in his life so he is completely new to the idea. I thought it was a good opportunity to watch a new person.

Lastly I searched for information on snow removal and came across this really cool info graphic!


One of the major problems is that people get hurt using shovels every year, but snowblowers are too expensive. So I need to come up with an inexpensive solution that doesn't put a lot of stress on the body.

Ice is also a major problem and can only be dealt with by salting (Which can be harmful to the environment) or chipping away at it (Which is strenuous work and can damage the surface underneath). So I need a to create a solution that isn't harmful to the environment but does not require a lot of hard work.


I liked your interview subjects. You did a great job of interviewing people from a wide range of ages and living situations. I think that AOSM resource you found could be very useful for you down the road. The last page of it has shoveling safety tips that you could incorporate into your final design.

I think your opening question could have been even more open ended. Instead of "what is your preferred tool...", you could have asked "what is your preferred way...". or even "How is snow removed from around your residence in winter?" (in case they're not the ones doing it).

Your problem statements are good, but I think they could have been better if you presented them in the format we learned in class (XXX needs a way to _____, because _____). When it's in that format, it will make it much clearer to you whose problem you're trying to solve.

You did a great job getting substantial information out of your interviews. It is interesting that the two students initially identified a shovel as their preferred method, but that you got down to the real preference, which was limited by cost. I do wish you included more detail from your interviews documented in the blog though.

Also, did you ask specifically about snow removal methods from cars? I know digging out my car in the winter was always the worst. This also then brings up the tool of an ice scraper/snow brush.

Your infographic is awesome! I never realized how relevant shovel related injuries were.

Lastly, I was just wondering how you determined your second problem statement? From research? Interviews?

At the beginning of your blog, you mentioned two books you read. It is really helpful and made a good start point. I can feel that you make a very carefully selection on your interviewees. The three interviewees you chosen have their unique experience with the snow removal. By compared and discussed their feedback, it is easy to understand the different requirements of them for the snow removal tool and why they have these requirements. The video you watched is interesting. But if you can include more of your common on the video, it maybe more interesting. The two problems you stated are really representative. Your second statement is about the ice, however, you mentioned little thing about the ice either in your interview and the observation. So it may cause my curious about how you came this statement.

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This page contains a single entry by ostre043 published on November 11, 2013 10:30 AM.

Assignment #2 was the previous entry in this blog.

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