THE IMPORTANCE OF USER RESEARCH: HOW ROLL-ALONG SUITCASES INVENTED

 

Suitcases

The most pressing dilemma of innovation is to identify the right problem. And then come up with the right solution to solve it and innovate breakthrough products. 

Simply put, the problem should address a real need and the solution shall be the most novel-feasible form of an idea that could address the requirements of the need.

When we talk about a need, often the wrong notion is that it relates to a user/customer problem – a group of people who shares the same similarities and may live in different parts of the world. 


 

HOWEVER, A NEED COULD RELATE TO 

 

A. a specific society with a particular culture (e.g. the alcohol consumption)

B. Some new technological break-through imposing challenging threads to social fabrics (e.g. AI and super-intelligent machines may replace humans)

C. Our planet which if we don’t address, it may threaten the survival of humanity (e.g. global warming)


 

Regardless of the kinds of needs, you’re dealing with, there’s always a group of humans related to the topic. To gain insights about the needs, leveraging user research methods is crucial. Using research has two-fold applications. By leveraging it

 

A. we can unearth hidden human needs/behaviors by which we can develop breakthrough experiences

B. We can bridge the gap between the designers’ mental models and that of users when it comes to designing digital applications


 

It’s getting heady now. To make the above theory more digestible, let us unfold an interesting story for you. The story is about roll-along suitcases.

You see the image below is an archetypal design of a suitcase.

 

Old suitcase
Photo source: 123rf.com

 

We’re sure every one of you has come across one of these suitcases before. They’re great. But there was a problem with it. And that goes back to 1920 with the invention of the commercial airports.


 

First commercial airports near Paris
First commercial airports near Paris

 

Soon airports became a hub for people going from A to Z which led to bigger airports, longer-distance travel. And suddenly there was a problem!

 

These kinds of suitcases were difficult to carry. So many complaints. And the manufacturers started to wonder. They had an idea!


 

LET’S BUILD A SMALLER SUITCASE! BRILLIANT? NO!

Customers didn’t like them. You see people didn’t want smaller suitcases, they just wanted a better way of carrying the bigger suitcases.

 

A TEAM OF RESEARCHERS WAS HIRED!

Their job was to understand how people deal with this challenge currently. They were observing passengers in different airports for some time and conducted a number of different user research methods such as shadowing and interviewing.

 

THEY HAD AN EPIPHANY THROUGH THEIR OBSERVATION

The research team over time realized that a considerable amount of passengers in the airport were dragging their suitcases to get to the gates.

 

AHA MOMENT!

AHA Moment!


They realized the solution is NOT to produce small suitcases but to design suitcases that can be carried regardless of how heavy they are.


 

WHEELED LUGGAGE WAS FIRST PATENTED BY BERNARD SADOW IN 1972

The production of roll along suitcases took off and nowadays everyone has one of them.

💡By leveraging user research, you can surface hidden user behaviors that can lead to breakthrough innovations.

 


WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT USER RESEARCH?

You may read our previous articles about User Research in our BLOGS.

We periodically hold workshops on design thinking and user research. 

Don’t miss out. Join one of our communities on Instagram or meetup and join the next workshop

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bonanzadesign/

Meetup: Design Thinking and Innovation – Only Workshops

 

 

 

 

 

 

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