In this collaborative project, our aim was to discover and develop design opportunities with user focused resesearch methods. During the process we created a modern day picnicing design solution which considers human factors, usability and user experience.

Process: Observations, Journey Mapping, Primary/ Secondary Research, Ideation, Prototyping, Ergonomic Research, User Testing, Prototyping, Refinement


Observations & Participation


Since this project revolves around the concept of a classic picnic, we thought it was important to created a journey map first. Before starting any other research, the team made a plan, picked up some snacks and found a spot under the shade and continued recording the picnic experience. Simple participation and observation techniques were used to develop an understanding of possible problem areas. 


Planning & Packing


to the park

Picking a

picnic spot

Eating & Chatting

Disposal & Clean Up



Research Plan

After observng, participating and creating a journey map, we put together all of our collected data and used multiple resesearch methods in the process. The AEIOU framework was used in our research project to organize and see if we could discover any themes or patterns. The affinity diagram was created to help analyze and group data that seemed to belonged in specific categories. The stakeholder map was created to summarize identifying key factors within the picnic environment.  After going through all these research methods, we began to ideate design opportunities that showed possible directions of exploration based on our findings.


We conducted observations throughout our entire picnic journey, using AEIOU observation techniques to record down activities, environment, interactions, object and users.


Stakeholder map helped analyze the the picnicing activity and potential factors that could affect relavant or related parties. 


From our analysis and synthesis, we were able to identify three main areas that had potential design opportunities.


Based on some of our observations, there is a well-aged ritual around the idea of having a picnic. Within our observations we have seen actions that follow the classic picnic heuristic, as well as actions with a more technological twist. There may be exciting design opportunities within the modernization of the picnic ritual.


An enjoyable and necessary part of a picnic is the outdoors, but bringing many items and expectations from inside to out creates its own set of problems. Bugs, birds, dirt, and terrain become an issue when trying to eat and play outside, leaving many design opportunities open and available.


From the formulation of the plan to packing up the food, setup and cleanup is essential to consider in planning a picnic. There are many places in which the processes involved here could be shortened or simplified. Further analysis of the setup and cleanup process could reveal interesting design opportunities.

Design & Dev.jpg


After narrowing down our main areas of focus, the ideation phase began by individually conceptualizing solutions with our potential design opportunities in mind. We came up with a range of different ideas, but the most consistent idea between the group was a solution that involved creating an easier carrying experience. From that revelation we began to converge on a carrying solution.



We want to design picnic kits for individuals to pack and prepare themselves. Each person would have their own compact kit to ease the task of carrying. When user are at their picnic destination, they can combine their kits their kits to have a unified picnicking experience.


As the idea narrowed down to focus on carrying solutions for individuals, we also questioned if there was an incentive for the user to use this picnic kit. It was important that the kits work in tandem with eachother to provide an enjoyable experience. Using the concept of tessellation we started to develop a concept that would allow users to use units on their own or connect their picnic kits with others. We decided on the hexagonal form factor early, as it was easily tiled, equilateral and was satisfying to see put together.


After deciding on the picnic kits form factor, we start putting together low fidelity prototypes to test out various sizes. Our intention was to find an appropriate scale that complied to different body types. We constructed several sizes of kit, ranging from 14 inches across to 18 inches across. 


Human Factors

In the early prototyping phase, we evaluated many proportions of the kit on different body sizes. There needed to be a balance between proportionality with the body, carrying capacity and ergonomic sizing. 

After evaluating our existing models we found that we had sized them in the extreme; smaller people and larger people fit with the respectively sized models. From this information we decided to construct a model with a size in between.


There were a lot of different ideas that were thrown around during this project. The group was really enthusiastic about including different features to the kit, but we had to take a step back and remind ourselves to avoid the Swiss Army Knife Effect. As the flexibility of a design increases, the usability and performance of the design decreases. Moving forward we were selective with what features we actually included.


Blanket Development

We did a lot of investigation for a lot of the smaller details. We looked at aspects of the kit such as how the blanket would be folded, how the kit would be kept closed, how users would go about packing it and how that would impact the weight of the unit as a whole.

Blanket Development

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User Testing

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