User Testing & Research
My argument (why anyone should care)
It is important to address the needs of a disabled population through functional clothing. I am making the assumption this market has been overlooked and segregated therefore, has an opportunity for changes in clothing closures to benefit both communities of "abled-body" and "disabled-body."
Who is the user?
The participant is someone who has difficulties using their upper torso and arms due to permanent or temporary disability. I have testing on two people using a one-arm jacket with a zipper on the sleeve:
- A student, Qinzi Tan (able-body): female, age: 21
- My mother (temporarily disabled body): female, age 58
What am I testing?
I am testing two things: the functionality of the garment and the performance of the user.
Functionality: How has the construction of the garment (with a specific zipper on the sleeve 4ins away from the underarm seam) effected the user's limited interaction with clothing.
Performance: How is the user's performance putting on and taking off the garment rated? (time it took off/ placed on/ location/ perception of ease
How am I testing my prototype & assumption?
I am asking a qualitative questionnaire, documenting the wearing process, and preventing myself to provide background information regarding my thesis. I tried to look for questions that could provide opportunities regarding T.O.P (time, occasion, and place). I am fully aware two user tests are not enough to make a general confirmation of my assumptions. But the quality of controlled tests with limited amount of people also provide useful insights.
What are the questions asked during the user test? *Users: M (mom) & Q (Qinzi)
- How do you feel and think about a closure on a sleeve?
- Where would think it'll be important to wear this kind of garment?
- How and up till what point on the sleeve do you like your zipper zipped?
- What changes would make to garment? (fit, comfort, function etc)
- Do you think it's difficult to wear on and / or take off?
- How do you use the garment differently when standing vs. sitting?
USER TESTING QUESTIONS: What are the questions asked during the user test?
*Users: M (mom) & Q (Qinzi)
1. How do you feel and think about a closure on a sleeve?
Q: She likes the decoration. Think’s its inviting to use. Interested in how to create a combination of materials (zipper material with fabric)
M: I think it’s good on one sleeve. The arm I had to have surgery on.
2. Where would think it'll be important to wear this kind of garment? If so where?
Q: Would wear it in the fall/ spring. She thinks it’s a everyday wear.
M: I’d wear it but, it’s kind of a hassle. I’d rather wear a vest and drape a jacket over me. I don’t want the hassle to shove my arm into any garment unless it’s really cold out.
3. How and up till what point on the sleeve do you like your zipper zipped?
Q: Depends. All the way up is weird but, mid-low allows me to fold it. Actually, I think it’ll be kool to have it all the way unzipped because they it looks like a poncho.
M: “I’d zip the zipper all the way and have it open at the beginning of wearing the garment on.”
“I’d zip the zipper half way when taking it off"
4. What changes would make to garment? (fit, comfort, function etc)
Q: I think I’d change the zipper when it’s all the way up. I like the semi-hidden zipper style.
M: First, it’s too small as a test. Most people my age can’t wear this. It’s a little tight.
5. Do you think it's difficult to wear on and / or take off?
Q: No it’s easy to wear. The needs to be a little bigger.
M: There are steps to how I can do to put on the garment. The hook on the
sleeve helps me stretch out the sleeve to wear it.
6. How do you use the garment differently when standing vs. sitting?
Q: I think I prefer wearing it while standing but, no major difference.
M: I don’t think it matters but, prefer standing.
There are steps to how I can do to put on the garment
The zipper closure acts as a specific function to wear and take off the garment when zipped
at certain point on the sleeve:
“I’d zip the zipper all the way and have it open at the beginning of wearing the garment on”
“I’d zip the zipper half way when taking it off"
There is room to reconsider the design:
Size must be right for the user to really feel the jacket is wearable.
“I think I’d rather have a vest and then a dropped jacket on top”
I like the fabric covering the zipper. I like asymmetrical designs.
(vest that has straps, buttons, or magnets to match / latch onto matching coat?) = new drape function?
Design of garment cons:
Size is too small
Muslin is too thin of a fabric so, the zipper can get stuck
Design of garment pros:
Good for one side only
Zippered sleeve must match the arm that is impaired (left arm vs right arm)
Good to have zipper covered and not shown
Good use of hook for pulling leverage for an arm that is angled between 90- 45 degree bent elbow.
Functionally works with zipper all the way up and half way