Simple Product Design

13 min readJun 13, 2021

Bidisha Dash

2nd year Industrial designing

National Institute of Designing

14th June 2021

It’s June already, we are safe inside our homes. But staying safe is not the only important thing right, we also have to stay sane through these uncertain times. I think the best way to stay sane is to work, practice hobbies, read books, learning new skills or do whatever makes you happy.

I am writing blog for the first time so I will be sharing my work, learnings, observations and experience through this course(which is keeping me sane).

It’s been 1 week through the course SPD( Simple Product Design) guided by our faculties Amaltas Khan and Kishen Patel. We started by selecting few products which we like and observing what makes us like that particular product.

These are the Products I selected …

Like I did my batchmates also collected different products that they appreciate. Their were some products in their list which I was also amazed by and also their were some products which I had seen before but didn’t really find any “wow factor” looking into them. This made me realize that everyone had a very different perspective to look at things. Some people appreciated the simplicity of ideas and some spoke about how effective they were, some people appreciated the functionality while some appreciated usability. Some people even appreciated the madness of the idea. (which makes me think that the product which someone makes may not be appreciated by everyone but may be appreciated by specialized group who did find it useful)

After this we were given keywords by our faculties to do further research. Mine were: Human Factors, Storage, Packaging.

Human Factors : It focuses on creating and improving products, equipment, machines, and environments to complement human capabilities and maximize performance and safety. It focuses on different topics

  • workspace safety
  • human errors
  • human- machine/product interaction
  • human capabilities

27th June 2021

In week 2 we started looking into different products and their approaches within our domain. Here are some products I found interesting…

While doing this particular exercise I questioned myself Do I considered the time timer a simple product?

Yes, because Simple doesn’t have to be boring or plain, in product design simple can also be used to describe something which is easy to use or easy to understand. A product can also be “simple” in terms of functionality. A great example is the Time timer which was initially designed for ADHD community but it’s such a simple product that everyone started using it. It may not be simple in terms of the inside mechanisms and gears.

If you want to know more about time timer here is the link:)

We grouped all the products based on their sizes and complexities

the grey rectangular area was selected to take forward for the next step

Next we did AEIOU charts for some products we like; AEIOU stands for Activity, Environment, Interaction, Object, Users

I asked the following questions to myself in order to make the chart

Activities: What are we actually doing? Was it structured or Unstructured? How many people are involved in the same activity?

Environment: what place are these activities performed ? Did the environment made you feel some way? What effect did the environment have on your mental or physical state?

Interactions: consider interaction of object with user, object with environment, user with environment. Was the user familiar with the activity?

Objects: What’s the tool?

Users: who are the users? Who else are there and what are their roles?

After making this list I changed the users or context or the activity and made other manipulations in the table according to the change I made. It’s like challenging the product outside it’s context or changing the users for particular object/product and framed the initial design brief.

I decided to go forward with the highlighted slide

Week 3:The next step was to take observations.

For this step I questioned myself again about every single thing in the already existing object( why is the shape like this, what happens when we change the shape or method of representation or shape, does it affect the user? etc.)

I started with giving a random exam myself…
  • Clocks not having the markings creates confusion specially during the exams where the student is in a pressurizing situation, one has to stare at the clock more than usual to know the time. One has to visually divide the sections and then analyze what time it is which is quiet annoying.
  • Some clocks are not handy to carry during exams.
  • The covering glass on the top of clocks sometimes reflects the lights and are not prominently visible from certain areas.
  • Sometimes even the typeface used or the contrast between the hands and the clock background creates problem in visibility from a larger distance.
  • Digital clocks are pretty straight forward in telling time.
  • We use the circular clocks everywhere. The markings are placed in a circular way . As the shape suggests circle doesn’t have any starting point and a ending point which is why it goes in loop and it endless. but on the other hand if we take a rectangular shape, where the varying width of the red mark shows the amount of time passed it will have a starting and ending point which will make completion of any task easier for us. How? Let’s take an example. We always complain not having time to do stuff (reading books). But the truth is we own all of our time. At any given moment we are doing what we want to be doing. Our time is entirely within our control, but still why do we complain not having enough time to do stuff? Because we don’t plan our day and we end up procrastinating for the entire day thinking that time is endless( which our circular clock portrays) but instead of procrastinating if we give ourselves a starting point and an ending point (i.e. 1 hour)to do the task we can complete the task in the given time and then enjoy (which is why I think the rectangular clock is more effective in terms of productivity).
  • The data representation also affects the way we perceive time. Given below is 2 type of data representation in the same rectangular clock. In the first one the length of the red mark shows the amount of time left to do the activity which is reducing in each step with respect to time. when the red bar is over you have to stop doing that activity. And in the second one the red bar shows the amount of time we have passed doing the activity which is rising with respect to time. Is there any difference? Yes there is. Let’s take an example again. Suppose the activity is scrolling through social media. In the first case when the Red bar is finished you have to stop scrolling through the social media. which means everyday you can scroll for only that amount of time. There is no increase or decrease in the amount of time we are spending for the particular activity. But in the second case the Red bar shows amount of time you have scrolled through social media. Suddenly the watch has been converted into a progress check. You can reduce the amount of time of scrolling day by day and map your progress and be proud of yourself.
  • While giving exam I realized that here is a certain satisfaction when we strike through the answered questions. Also when we complete through sections we know how much time we are left with. Also how we panic when some kid in the hall asks for sheets when we are still left with blank pages or how we panic when there is a warning bell. These signs are like feedbacks which tells us how are we performing and do we need to speedup or not.
we divide our time in mind according to the time we have
  • Being an expert we always forget what mistakes we used to make when we ourselves were beginner. We all have forgotten how confusing clock reading was to us when we were learning it for the first time. We get habituated and we tend to ignore all the difficulties which are no longer a difficulty for us. Kids learning clock reading find it very weird that in the clock the number written has more than one meaning. 1 is also 5, 2 is also 10, 3 is also 15 and so on.
clock specially designed for kids

I found a great stand up comedy video for this in Youtube. Watch it:)

(15) Dave Allen — “Teaching Your Kid Time” — ’93 — stereo HQ — YouTube

To find out what features people like and what they don’t I made a questionnaire asking several questions to users. Here is what I found…

people had to mark 5 if they find the problem relatable and 1 if they didn’t face such problems.

Updated Brief

To design A product for people giving competitive exams to manage time efficiently during Exam/Preparation time.

Concept building

I started sketching ideas for the solution development based on the research I did and survey analysis. This particular phase is miraculous because I realized the importance of sketching, you may have an absolutely great idea in your mind but you can’t explain it to people without sketching because they can’t picture it in their mind through your explanation. Sketching it makes it easier for your users/colleagues to understand. sketching is the best way to transform abstract idea into concrete solution.

I finalized some of these concepts for making prototype for user testing. U may think that the idea will work but you never know till you test it. So To see if they work I made prototype and gave to my sister and some cousins to use it and tell me what they think of the product.

(24) clock1prototype1 — YouTube

(24) clock2prototype — YouTube

(24) addition of charts to a working clock — YouTube

(24) clock3prototype_assembling process — YouTube

After user testing phase I decided to take 1 concept forward

final concept to take forward

feedbacks received after testing by user

positive points

  • helps me to divide and utilize my time efficiently
  • I don’t have to look at the hands again and again. I get how much time is left just by one look.
  • easy to set time
  • I feel the urge to close the chart by dragging the white hand. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
  • at the end of the day I feel great because I did my task well and also I have a complete idea of what I did during the day which generally I don’t notice everyday.
  • generally I don’t assign time to myself, but now that I did, I know exactly how much time I take to complete certain tasks. For example if I took 2 hours to complete one sample paper, but the time I assigned myself was 2 an half hours I did notice my progress giving me a self satisfaction.

Sketches for the final form of the product

Final product with features

type phase- Anisette Std

Anisette | Adobe Fonts

About the product

HOURvest is a product which will help you manage time efficiently during exam times. Most of us don’t plan our day, if we do a lot of task remains undone in the to- do list. Neither do we assign time to ourselves for tasks we do which is why our Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.. Parkinson’s law states that

the notion that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

  1. Having more time to do a task does not necessarily mean that you will do it better.
  2. 2. It is important to analyze which tasks have more time allocated than they really need.

3. It is better to start assigning little time to new tasks.

Parkinson’s Law explained in a simple way with Examples (

  • HOURvest helps you Organize, Optimize and Manage tasks.
  • It can help you be more efficient in your daily routines mostly during exam time.
  • Having HOURvest on your table will make you plan your day and assign reasonable amount of time to yourself.
  • HOURvest gives you a sense of satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment after task completion. This small joy keeps us moving. It is like a small celebration after victory.