In this project, I designed a schoolbag based on my intuition and experience, conducted 2 user interviews, and refined my schoolbag prototypes based on the insights from the interview. 


Step 1: ideation

I sketched possible solutions of a desired schoolbag that satisfying all the needs of a college student.

Step 2: User interview

I interviewed two college students about their schoolbag and summarized the interview notes as follows: 

Interviewee 1: Hope

My schoolbag is a tall and spacious backpack, and it needs to be big enough, easy to open and close, comfortable to carry on, laptop friendly, and organized inside. Two bands are wide enough so it is comfortable for me to carry the schoolbag.  The zip in the middle is big enough so it is easy to open and close. There is an inside pocket for my laptop to fit. Other inside space is organized by multiple pockets. The two sides of my schoolbag are clean because I do not like the water bottle pockets in two sides.

Interviewee 2: Joy

My schoolbag is a backpack. I like my backpack to be durable, spacious, comfortable, handy, and organized inside. I usually carry lots of stuffs, so it is important that the two bands are wide and preferably with air-pad technology to help reduce the weight. I do not only use it as a schoolbag, but also a travel carryon luggage. I therefore like that my backpack has lots of inside and outside pockets because this feature helps me organized my stuffs by kinds. I particular like the side web pockets because I can easily stack my water bottle and my phone into it.

Step 3: Identifying user needs

I identified user needs based on the insights drawn from user interview:

  • My interviewee needs the schoolbag to be a backpack because it is comfortable to carry.
  • My interviewee needs space of the schoolbag to be big enough because they have to carry lots of stuffs for school/travel.
  • My interviewee needs the schoolbag to be organized insides because they want to quickly access correct stuff and keeping stuffs organized helps with it.
  • My interviewee needs the schoolbag to be comfortable to carry when it is heavy.
  • My interviewee thought that she does not like the water bottle side pockets to be at two sides, but really, she just did not like the ugly design because she gave a strong emotional tone when describing “those water bottle pocket in two sides”.
  • My interviewee thought that her schoolbag has to have a laptop pocket, but really, she just needs the pockets to be organized enough to divide laptops, books, and other stuffs.
  • To me what was most remarkable was that durable was interviewee Joy’s priori need for the schoolbag but she did not notice it at all.
  • To me what was most remarkable was that a good-looking appearance of the schoolbag was one of Hope’s needs but she did not notice it at all.

Step 4: Refinement

I improved the design in terms of function and decorations to better satisfying user needs.

Step5: Reflection

Based on the insights drawn from user research, I improved my design to reflect user needs by choosing a backpack to be the schoolbag, selecting the material to be canvas for durable, making the inside big enough for spacious and organized space, adding different sizes of pockets inside and outside for handy and convenience, incorporating the air pad technology to the wide bands for comfort, adding the leather band as fake décor band for visually appealing appearance, and making the water bottle pocket on two sides non-web with elegant design.

The most difficult part about making and selling my proposed schoolbag would be

1) leather décor is an essential design to maintain the visually appealing appearance of the schoolbag, but it would be more expensive than typical college students could afford;

2) the design of air-pad creates a feeling of sports, while the overall design is supposed to be simple and elegant. However, if the air-pad is taken out, the schoolbag would not satisfy users’ need of weight-reduction.