Research for Design — Part 2
In last week’s meeting, I found out Houming (one of the students in my I&P class) and I shared a very relatable project idea. After exchanging our ideas in the breakout room, we decided to collaborate for the rest of the Research for Design Project.
In the first part of my project, I talked about designing a face mask that is convenient for lipstick consumers. I would like to create a mask whose fabric material is disposable and environmentally friendly. But more importantly, it is a material that is low cost and easy to produce and is able to keep lipstick from migrating under the mask. Houming was heading to a direction of designing a face mask that is beneficial to its users and was exploring the idea of non-traditional face mask look.
We combined our ideas and planned out our research process last week. Over the weekends, we each interacted with our own stakeholders through different research methods and collected information. We got some really interesting responses. Down below is our brief stakeholder map.👇🏼
How did we interact with our stakeholders?
Padma: 1. Video Interview (it was very casual and relaxing, more like a chat between friends) 2. Observational Studies (I became an observer in the digital space — Reddit)
Houming: Conversations with friends.
Emotional Appeal (why)
Material & Form (What)
We divided our research process into four stages:
Stage 1: Emotional Appeal
- Why are some people still wearing lipsticks in the pandemic?
(Is it about empowerment, strength, hope, or a means to reclaim normalcy?)
Friend A: wears makeup because she gains more confidence in herself. Although the mask covers up her face, she still thinks it is necessary because she wants to do it for herself.
Friend B: Sometimes wear makeup under a mask. Usually for some special occasions does not wear it for casual purposes. Wears it because she wants others to see. She does not have a special feeling towards makeup.
There is not much difference in her beauty routine. She is still happy to do makeup during the pandemic. However, she does that mostly when she hangs out with friends.
Lipstick is her favorite beauty product, it makes her feel complete. She wears lipstick just for herself and doesn’t worry about if people can see it or not.
She just likes doing makeup. It’s not about the pandemic, it’s not about how others feel and definitely not about impression. With or without the pandemic, she is still putting on makeup. “It’s just part of me.” She said.
It’s all about that #biglipstickenergy! It’s not only about rebuilding confidence, but also about trying out new and crazy colors that they would not normally use before the pandemic.
For people who still consume lipsticks during the pandemic:
- How do they wear lipsticks under the masks?
- What kind of method they use to prevent lipsticks from migrating across their faces?
- What are the problems they encounter and how do they resolve them?
Friend A & B: Just wears the mask normally, because lipstick does not change very much. Even if it does, just put it on again. They do wear those masks with a bumped area.
Tiffany switches to lip products that are more long lasting during the pandemic. She uses more matte lipstick and liquid lipstick (dry fast and don’t smear). Besides this, she also wears a KN95 mask (the one has a bulge) to prevent her lipstick from smearing.
Stage 3 (How did they do it?):
Various interesting methods people apply to keep their lipsticks in place behind the masks…
- KN95 Masks
- 3D Face Mask Inner Pad Bracket Holder
- Lip Blushing Treatment at Salon
- Switching to indelible lip products (eg. Matte Lipstick)
Some face mask ideas:
Stage 4: Design, Material, Form
- what is the design that works best for lipstick consumers? But most importantly, what does this specific group of consumers want?
- What would they want to include in the design of face masks?
In my casual video chat with Tiffany, she told me that the worst part of wearing lipstick in the pandemic is the fact that the lipstick is not shown. Based on her comment, I asked her if she would prefer a transparent face mask design. It was interesting that she told me that it didn’t necessarily have to be transparent. She would prioritize effectiveness and if possible, go for thinner materials. If the new mask works well, she will then think about exploring the transparent feature. Safety first!
My conversation with Tiffany has brought me some new perspectives in my research. Before talking to her, I thought transparency would be lipstick consumers’ primary consideration since the face mask has really kept their lips hidden from the outside world for a long time. When I asked her if she would prefer a transparent face mask, she told me that was not her utmost concern. Instead, a thinner fabric feature would be more likely desired. This result influenced my later design thinking and got me think about diversity and inclusivity in the overall research progress. Even though Tiffany might be the only one not prioritizing transparency over other features, we still need to record this response and reflect it in our future design. After all, we build products that fulfill consumers’ demands.
Also, something I wished I could do better for this week’s research progress was the number of our stakeholders. If we did video calls with more people, the responses would be likely more representative and less subjective. We will keep on talking to more people.
First, we need to understand how the virus transmits in the air. Based on that, we can look for materials that are effective in blocking the particles and think about how to transform the materials into useful face mask fabric.
Our new face mask doesn’t have to look like the traditional face mask. Instead of keeping the ear loops design, we can make it the mask in the form of a lightweight shield (Houming).