This weeks goal was to find opportunities, needs, problems or areas for improvement/change in winter headwear. Winter headwear is the sub-theme that I will be focusing on for the next several assignments.
Three different approaches were used to research:
- Asking - Four interviews were conducted
- Observing - People interacting with winter headwear were observed and recorded.
- Experiencing - I engaged and documented some everyday activities related to winter headwear.
To begin the interviews, I first had to find some experts and experienced people in the field of winter headwear. Initially, I was not sure where I could find some winter headwear 'experts'. I was fairly confused....
Where can I find winter headwear experts?! Besides professional designers, are there any??
But then I started thinking... "Who really ARE experts in this field- who are in contact with winter headwear frequently?" And that is when I realized that people in retail come in contact with winter headwear very frequently! This was good news, and a good place to start.
- First Interview: Sports Authority
I went to Sports Authority and asked to talk to someone experienced about winter headwear. The lead of that day was kind enough to allow me to interview her for 15 minutes. She also let me voice record her for later reference.
With this interview I was able to take notes and initial thoughts toward this sub-theme. Here are some of the notes from the interview:
- Second Interview: Lids
For the second interview, I wanted to see insights from the perspective of a more fashion heavy business like Lids. Here, the lead also was kind enough to let me interview one of the workers for about 10 minutes.
From this interview I was able to gain the 'fashion perspective' into winter headwear. Here are some of the notes from the interview:
- Third Interview: Adult Consumer
In this interview, I wanted to gain the perspective of the typical adult consumer. What experiences do they have with winter headwear? What do they like? I was able to find answers to questions like these. This interview was the longest, at just shy of 30 minutes, and proved to be one of the most insightful. It was filled with lots of personal stories and opinions on the subject matter. Here are some of the notes from the interview:
- Forth Interview: Young Consumer
To see a more rounded perspective of possible issues/room for improvement in winter headwear, I wanted to interview a younger consumer (12 years old). I wanted to see what kinds of issues and insights a younger consumer has. Here are some of the notes from the interview:
Part 2: Observing
With this portion of the research, I went downtown to observe some typical behavior with winter headwear. I found several key findings, some of which were shadowed in the interviews:
- People kept their headwear in coat pockets, backpacks or some even in purses
- Some people did not wear anything on their heads, even though a strong and cold wind was present
- Most people wore beanies. Some wore bobble hats, and very few wore ear muffs
- Women typically took a much longer time to put on headwear
- Some people were concerned about their hair being affected by the headwear
- Some women used a mirror when placing headwear on head
Part 3: Experience
In the final portion of the research, I tried to experience some typical headwear issues. I tried on several types of hats and identified some key benefits/issues with each. Here are 3 examples:
- Headwear 1:
This hat took a very short time to place on my head, but could take longer if the consumer is fearful of damaging hairstyle. There was no protection against the cold on the ears or back of the head. The main advantage of this hat was the time of placement (which again is variable). The main disadvantage is that it does not cover your ears or back of the head from cold weather.
- Headwear 2:
This hat took a much longer time to place onto my head. It did not cover the ears at all. The main advantage I saw with this hat would be personal aesthetics. The main disadvantages would be time of placement and ear coverage. Here is a picture of me wearing headwear number 2:
- Headwear 3:
This hat was the only hat which offered ear and full head protection. The time to place it fully on your head took longer, as the user must adjust the hair. The main disadvantage would be time of placement. The main advantage would be ear and head coverage. Here is a picture of me wearing headwear number 3 which highlights the coverage of the hat:
From this research, I am suggesting these problem opportunities:
- Ashley needs a way to secure the head and ears because it is difficult to find comfortable and protective winter headwear.
Ashley had mentioned that the main characteristic of a good hat is the protection it provides.
- Ashley needs a way to have versatile headwear because it is difficult to protect the face in the winter time.
Ashley said that she loves the outdoors and finds it hard to protect the face and neck.
- John needs a way to personalize headwear because it is difficult to show style in winter headwear.
John had said that he started wearing headwear to match his attire and finds this to be an important part of his personal style.
- Andrey needs a way to balance heat in headwear because winter headwear typically is too hot or too cold.
Andrey had mentioned that as a kid, the hats he would wear would either be too cold or too hot and make him sweat.
- Andrey needs a way to make winter headwear portable because winter headwear tends to get lost if its too small or too big.
Andrey mentioned several times that he does not wear a hat as often as he should because he always misplaces it.
- Dmitry needs to get comfort in winter headwear because winter headwear is typically uncomfortable.
Dmitry recalled some memories where the hat was too small and caused an uncomfortable experiece.
- Dmitry needs to protect his head and ears because winters are cold in Minnesota.
Dmitry had mentioned that his head felt warm and his friends were cold because they were not wearing hats.