ENGR2250 User Oriented Collaborative Design Course Project Spring 2013
As a team, we aim to enhance the experience of polar bear clubs. Members of polar bear clubs are essentially open water swimmers who swim in the frigid waters of the winter without the protection of a wetsuit. Sometimes, water temperatures can reach 5 degrees Celsius below zero. A subcategory of polar bears swim for therapeutic reasons, claiming that the water relieves aches and pains. Another category swim for training purposes, gaining endurance for competitive open water races. Lastly, most swim for the challenge and thrill of doing something completely counter-intuitive. This course takes us through the user based design process, focusing on designing not only for users, but also with them.
We met two separate polar bear clubs, the L-Street Brownies and the Nahant Knuckleheads, in order to truly understand their goals, values, and needs. After intensive user research, which took the form of observations, interviews, and a couple attempts at plunging into the water, we were able to get a deep sense of the different types of our users so that we may develop a product that is meaningful to them.