Role // Class Project
Duration // Jan - Feb 2023
Tools // Sketching, Cardboard Modeling                
For 51-264: Product Design Fundamentals, I designed and created a desktop organizer with myself as the user. I analyzed the user’s interests and how they’re reflected in the components of their desk, then utilized 2D perspective to create multiple mockups, and ultimately used cardboard to create a final physical prototype. 


User Persona

Since music, photography, and movies are a huge component of the user (me), I wanted to emphasize them in the user persona. I decided on displaying the information in a circular format to emphasize music (a spinning record) and the fact that the user’s interests blend and bleed together and create a unique individual
Final Layout Draft
Brainstorming Layouts

1. Observational
I documented the user’s desk-space at different times of day, what’s on their desk, and what activities the user does at their desk (and how they orient their desk-space to do these activities) through over 70+ photos. 

2. Market
I looked at products outside of desk organizers the user has/would like to have. Overall, there was a cohesive theme of sleek and minimal design with a few bright pops of color (ie. white and orange). 

3. Analysis
The observational photos indicated that the user frequently spends their time studying, sketching, and transferring digital photos at their desk - usually accompanied with music in the background. They use a laptop + laptop stand with an additional item (iPad, mouse, or camera) very frequently. 

Synthesizing the user’s persona and user research, I concluded that music is a significant part of the user and the user’s “desk-flow”. Thus, I wanted to make sure some element of the desktop organizer featured music. Moreover, since the user likes clean, minimal design, I wanted to make an organizer that reflected this, while functionally making the user’s main desk-flow (laptop + stand + additional item) very convenient for the user to do. 


Using my insights from ideation, I created three designs. For each design, I first drew out proportional boxes that represented the items going into the desktop organizer. Then, I created 1D front and side-view sketches of the organizer containing the items. The final mockup was a 2D perspective drawing of the desktop organizer with all items + components labeled. 

Design 1 didn’t really take into consideration aesthetics, and was focused more on functionality. It held the user’s desk items and complimented the user’s desk-flow. Design 2 is similar to Design 1, but featured additional functionalities like cable holes for wire organization. Again, Design 2 doesn’t really focus the user’s interests outside of how they use their desk. 

For Design 3, I decided to go in a completely different route, wanting to make sure I targeted the biggest issue with my previous designs. I noticed I could take the music wave symbol, and form it into a long desktop organizer with unique shapes designed to hold specific items and maintain the user’s desk-flow. I intentionally placed the headphone holder in the center of the organizer, cementing music as central to the user. I named the desktop organizer Porta, referencing the user’s Koss Porta Pros that would be placed on the headphone stand. I chose to prototype this design.
Design 1: Initial
Design 1: Final
Design 2: Initial
Design 2: Final
Design 3: Initial
Design 3: Final

Final Product


What I Learned
1. Document everything - arbitrary observations can lead to unexpected insights.

2. User observations should lead to not just functional product insights but aesthetic ones.

3. Initial sketches are very important for ideation.

4. Building physical products is difficult - this project was my first time even touching an Xacto Knife, but it was still really fun getting to try something new!

5. Presenting a product with a cohesive theme throughout creates a stronger product.
Next Steps
1. Improve my perspective sketching and physical modeling skills to communicate my product ideas clearer.

2. Develop products utilizing user insights for different user groups outside of myself.