Hi Everyone,
This will be an exploration into winter face protection.

To begin, I read AIGA's Ethnography Primer. I particularly liked the design, and the quote from LiAnne Yu. I would like to learn more about the Barrier concept they mention.

In the IDEO Bootleg Bootcamp I found their extra design elements distracting from their message. However, I do like their use of the word "flaring". I suspect that more of this document will come in handy later in the course.

The three parts of this weeks assignment are asking, observing, and experiencing.


"Three separate in-person interviews (not a group interview) with potential users and experts. At least one of the three interviews should be someone who would be considered somewhat of an expert in the specific area."

Pics of these people are desired. I am considering Zane- a winter biker, so an expert, and two other people I run across who might consider putting something on their faces to protect from the winter.

Well, today I found three people:
Curt Fernandez, Jeff Levine, and Zach Buchan.

Curt's interview was first:
"Curt Fernandez"

Curt is a manager in the Department of Risk Management for the City of Minneapolis. Some of the things I learned from him were "if you don't cover it, your nose will be frozen". Also, "in a very cold environment, a face cover is necessary. The wind chill is very bad". He hadn't seen different forms, but uses one where only his eyes and nose are uncovered.

Next was Jeff Levine:
Jeff Levine.jpg
"Jeff Levine"

Jeff is a grad student here at UMN teaching classes in Sports Management. Jeff grew up in Michigan and used a face mask in cold days. Here in MN he anticipates bitter cold winds and will use a face mask, either for his whole face or a scarf. "I am worried about it being hard to breathe, talk normally or on the phone, being sweaty, ill fitting, and what happens if I sneeze?" He is also concerned about it staying on when he bikes.

Last I connected with Zach Buchan:
"Zach Buchan" *

Zach, who asked to be represented by this picture, is an avid biker. He has a lot of experience with different face coverings. He uses a hat which gets him through any day above about 5-10 F. He also has a neoprene facemask for colder days. These two together are more than enough to keep him warm. Zach suggests getting one that's long enough to reach down to your shirt collar. because there will be days where you will have your coat open and just your shirt underneath and be plenty warm as long as you have no exposed skin. He tried a mask with a nose guard but it fogged up his glasses. For the oval around his eyes, he wears glasses, which is normally no problem at all, but it makes it very difficult to cover that last bit up. He says "You'll see a lot of people wearing ski googles when they ride (hilariously, this starts almost any time it's even near freezing, because people are wimps), and I've tried that, but I couldn't ever get it to work. My glasses just fog up inside them. I've tried different products that are supposed to keep your glasses clear and nothing has really worked all that well. You just generate too much heat from the work of biking. So last year I just went without any eye protection. There were some uncomfortable rides, but all in all it wasn't so terrible."


"Observe people in the setting related to your sub-theme. Take notes."

This is easy, I just need to watch people outside, and note if they are protecting their faces in any way.

So, today I went around the UMN campus and downtown Minneapolis and looked at what people were doing to protect their faces. Temperatures ranged from 31-40 degrees today, so there was not too much face covering going on. I mainly saw nothing, with a few people wearing a scarf, and a few with a hood or a high collar flared up.


"Engage in activities related to your sub-theme. Think about your actions and why you are doing each step. Take photos or storyboard your experience."

I will walk around outside and experiment with different face covers. What will work best?

Today I tried a few different models:
face scarf.jpg
"Normal Scarf"

This was ok. The ends kept unraveling.

Neck thing.jpg
"Neck Warmer"

This a nice piece of gear, but I am not to fond of the top part. There is a hard fastener there.

detachable hood.jpg
"Detachable Hood"

This is the extended version of the above piece, with the same problem.

ski cap.jpg
"Ski Cap"

A normal head cover. Nothing fancy.

full face.jpg
"Full Face Mask"

Hot, itchy, and scary. Warm though, but you get funny looks. Or at least I did.


Most successful! With the eye glasses it was hard to see, but this had several layers of versatility.

Problem statements:

The intrepid winter wanderer needs a way to keep his/her face warm because otherwise it will get damaged.

Rationale: Curt saying without a cover your nose will freeze.

We need a way to stay warm while still being able to talk on the phone because these days people demand both

Rationale: Jeff is worried about this.

Things to consider:

Beards, glasses fogging up, sneeze-ability of a mask?

*I know this picture is low quality, but he asked me to use it, and I figured a bad picture was better than none at all for him. I also wanted to follow his wishes.



I really liked this blog post..especially your pictures...but I will start at the beginning.

I am glad you found a nice variety of people to talk with, it adds more depth to your blog. I would have liked you to leave out the homework prompts, they distracted me from your overall story.

I am glad you tried to observe people, it's too bad you observed that week, you would have seen much more people in face masks on a day like today.

And my favorite part, your experiences. I was amused by all of your combinations. It was funny, but all of your ideas made sense and I liked how you listed the pros and cons of each variation.


Hi Schwartz,
I enjoyed reading your blog.
For the interview I wished there were more details and probing done to get more experiences and thoughts about winter face protection from them. Mostly it was pinned down to one statement on what they like or not like and it would have been better if you had explored them with some probing questions. Also it looks like you had interviewed 3 males, it would have been interesting to learn what woman thinks about winter face protection, as a perspective.

Very interesting to learn you experiences as you tried various materials for face protection, but apparently the first four of them doesn't really protect your face. How about a winter helmet that protects one's face in winter but also saves from life threatening fall?

Your first problem statement has a very general reasoning (for the BECAUSE part) that it will get damaged. Being more specific could really help you out in coming with a realistic product.

-- Shiv


particularly interesting way of presenting information. winter face protection is an area i have a definite interest in, as I longboard to class almost all winter, and if not i am walking which is almost as bad.

Your interviews seemed to cover a broad enough base to get substantial information, although i feel you would have benefited from a female perspective. from what i have seen women tend to put more effort into how they look for class, so a full face cover may be a non option for some.

your problem statements looked pretty solid to me, and showing pictures of how people tackle the "face cover problem" currently does help in driving those problem statements home.

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This page contains a single entry by schw1562 published on November 6, 2013 1:44 AM.

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