The project objective is to design an assistive device for our client with physical difficulties. On Mar. 21, 2022, we held a short interview with our client, Haleigh, on the ground floor of Hunt Library; the talk gave us a chance to better understand Haleigh’s daily life, interests, difficulties, and some of her expectations towards a device that could make her life colorful. We also discussed some of our initial ideas and dived into details that specifically fit our client’s needs.
1. Greetings and Self-introduction
We started our interview with a short self-introduction. It’s not in a very formal form as we already know each other in the project launch class in the previous week. We basically start with a short greeting outside the Hunt Library, talk about some activities before coming to this interview, and walk together into the open classroom located on the ground floor.
2. Project Introduction
After sitting down, we provided an overview of this project; we stated that our goal is to make a prototype of an assistant device for Haleigh within the 6-week timeframe; we also clarified that the project is an explorative one rather than a well-crafted commercial one. Before starting the interview, we asked our client and her mom if we could record our conversation and take photos during our conversion, and they agreed.
3. Understanding Needs
We started the interview by talking about our client’s routine daily life. We acknowledged that she’s interested in painting and reading during the conversation, and she also likes the wordle game. Our client and her mom also told us there are many difficulties in everyday life, like lacking grip and twisting on her hand, limited vision, and needing help when eating due to the posture problem. One of our members also holds Haleigh’s hand under consent to see how much grip she has.
4. Random Chat
The fourth part of the interview is a random chat. We don’t have preset topics but just started with a general question of what was a memorable thing in her life. The conversation was going freely; everyone on the table joined the talk and shared many exciting things like culture, favorite weather, and daily life, not just Haleigh talking and we listening aside. The random chat made us understand our client better and gave us a more vivid image of our client. There are occasional silent moments during the conversation, but we all tried to bring up new topics and make the talk continue.
5. Conclusion and Appreciation
The conversation lasted about 45 minutes. We appreciated our client’s time coming for this interview and her patience in answering our questions. Haleigh also told us she’s happy that have someone listening to her. In the end, we told them that instead of doing a one-time interview, we regard this meeting as a starting point so that we can keep in touch with our client through text when we have ideas or further questions. And we will send her our product at the end of this semester if possible.
Summary / Takeaways
The interview provided us with a better understanding of our client; we got to know her daily life and interests and found some important points related to Haleigh’s difficulty that repeatedly appeared during the conversation.
1. Grip issue
The grip issue, and twist issue on Haleigh’s two hands cause one of the major inconveniences in her everyday life. She couldn’t drink easily because of lack of grip; we found it was her mom holding the cup for her and using a straw for drinking water. Our client also mentioned she likes pizza and steak, but she couldn’t cut them because of the grip issue and some twisting difficulties on her wrist; that means carrying and using any utensils is a heavy task for our clients. The same issue also limited her chance to work on her interests like painting, due to the problem of holding pens, brushes, or some similar tools.
Hearing this, we discussed the possibility of creating a device that integrates daily tools like utensils; it doesn’t need a lot of grip or precise gestures to use. One of our members held both of Haleigh’s hands under her and her mom’s consent and found that the amount of grip was good. Haleigh’s mom also showed us the gesture that Haleigh holds things most easily, and we took a photo of that pose. Thus we have empirical information on Haleigh’s grip and twist issue and enable us to work toward our client’s specific needs.
2. Skin issue
When talking about our favorite weather, our client said that she likes sunny days with a smile on her face. She doesn’t like cloudy days because she always like to stay outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. But her mom mentioned that she couldn’t stay outside too long becase the solar radiation would hurt her skin and harm her eyes. We noticed that when hearing that the sunlight was “bad” to her, Haleigh’s face turned a little sad. We don’t want her deprived of the chance to enjoy the great weather and outdoor activities, so we arose another idea of designing a sun angle responsive “umbrella” on our client’s chair that can block the solar radiation when staying outside. This might need heavier engineering, but we kept it as one of our project directions.
The meeting followed the agenda very well, we started the conversation smoothly and it went pretty well. Although there were some silence in that short 45 minutes, we all tried to drop new topics and keep the conversation going. Our client was so nice, trying to answer our questions in detail and sharing many exciting moments in her life. We are also impressed by Haleigh’s optimism and shinny smiles.
The interview was also productive; we got important information from our client like her interests, difficulties, and some expectations. With this knowledge, we can design a device that meets her needs better.