Not a Perfect Wallet, but an Ideal Wallet
ENGAGE: MY IDEAL WALLET
My ideal wallet isn’t the conventional square or rectangle wallet made of leather. Rather, it is a pouch made of thick and smooth cloth that could fit all my essentials. By essentials, the first two things I’m talking about are money and my phone. The rest of the contents are things that are not as necessary (probably because they can be found on my phone), but are present in my current wallet. The pouch is yellow, as it is my favorite color, and is big enough to contain money (both paper bills and coins), my phone, my school ID and other cards, a ballpen, and pictures, at the very least. Well, these are the things I was able to drag and drop in the three minutes that I’m supposed to finish the sketch of the wallet.
There’s one element in my ideal wallet-pouch that really makes it unconventional. If you notice the sparkles, you might think that it is out of place. However, that is because my ideal pouch is charmed… or, well, you can say enchanted. Like Hermoine Granger’s pouch with an extension charm in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, I want my wallet-pouch to be able to carry anything and everything that can fit in its zipper. This way, I could go out with only my trusty pouch to carry everything I need and might need.
ENGAGE: THE INTERVIEW
For this part of the activity, I interviewed Phoeboa Rei Buen. Her ideal wallet is similar to the ones that men use. A small, compact one as opposed to the rectangular and flashy wallets usually made for women. Of course, she still wants her wallet to have a feminine and a personal touch, which is why she wants her initials embossed on the bottom part of it. The ideal material that she wants it to be made of is light leather that would last for a long time. Her colors of choice are either black or nude. She prefers her wallet to have a compartment for her coins, a pocket for pictures, for a note with contact details, and for her ATM and valid identification cards, and space for her paper bills.
ENGAGE: DIGGING DEEPER
After the initial interview with Phoeboa, we dug deeper and she told me stories in relation to why her ideal wallet is designed that way. Her choice of either black or nude for the color is because she wants the wallet to match whatever outfit she will wear or the bag that she will use for the day. The pictures that she puts in her wallet are those of her family and friends, which she changes from time to time. The small note with contact details is in her wallet in case of emergencies, because the wallet is one of the things that authorities check first. Of course, it wouldn’t serve the purpose of a wallet if it didn’t have any money. Phoeboa keeps paper bills ranging from Php 20 to Php 100 because, according to her, her family usually asks her to buy something whenever she is out. She prefers the small, compact wallet because it can easily fit in her pocket unlike the large, rectangular wallets for women which are very visible and are easier to steal. Having her wallet stolen is, apparently, one of the things that Phoeboa fears.
ENGAGE: GOALS AND WISHES
Phoeboa wants a wallet that is both minimalist in design but also practical in function. She wants something that will serve all the functions of a wallet, but will not attract the eye of a person who might want to steal it. Despite it being minimalist, she also wants an aesthetic and femenine touch to it that can be achieved with the color and her embossed initials. Her wallet, while serving its purpose, should also reflect the important things that she values.
Phoeboa’s ideal wallet is also a reflection of her values. She is practical in the way she wants the wallet to serve its true purpose. She is cautious and it shows in the size she wants her wallet to be. She also knows how to plan ahead for unexpected situations, seen in the little note with contact details. She is also sentimental, as she keeps pictures of her loved ones in her wallet. Finally, she has an eye for beauty even on the most practical things. Even a wallet should hold aesthetic value for her.
EXPLAIN: POINT OF VIEW
After reflecting on my insights, I came to the conclusion that Phoeboa needs a wallet that will make her feel secure about the things it contains. However, that wallet should also give her the comfort of being aesthetically pleasing and should accommodate her needs.
EXPLAIN: IDEA GENERATION (RADICAL WAYS)
Problem: Phoeboa needs a wallet that is functional in a sense that it would fit everything she needs to put in there, secure in a sense that it would not be easily stolen, and aesthetically pleasing in a sense that it is still feminine and would match her clothes and bags.
ELABORATE: PRESENTING THE SOLUTION AND FEEDBACK
After presenting my initial sketches to Phoeboa, she expressed utmost satisfaction and appreciation over how I designed her ideal wallet. To sum up her general reaction, she said, “I love it,” and also mentioned that it was cute. She could not think of any more points for improvement, as she truly thinks that all in all, the wallet is already good. In particular, she liked the part of the wallet for chain attachments. It was not something she mentioned in the interviews, but after seeing it in my design, she informed me that it was something she was fond of.
IRITERATE (NEW SOLUTION)
Despite Phoeboa being fully satisfied with the wallet already, I believe that there could always be something to improve.
After adding and changing some features of Phoeboa’s ideal wallet, the prototype is ready.
FINAL SHARING OF SOLUTION AND FEEDBACK
As far as Phoeboa let me know, everything about the prototype of her ideal wallet works for her. From the color, to the size, to the design, to the functionality, and its parts worked for her. She said that if a wallet like that would be made in real life, she’d have it customized for herself.
What could be improved?
When I showed her my prototype, Phoeboa found it satisfying as it already is, and did not wish for any improvements.
Like improvements, Phoeboa found no need for additional questions about my prototype.
For ideas about my prototype, the best I could think of (since nothing more calls for improvement) is a variation in its colors. It might be a good idea to do prototype using other nude colors, or a monochromatic black.
ASSESSMENT OF THE DESIGNING PROCESS
1. How did talking to your interviewee inform/influence your design?
Talking to Phoeboa gave me an idea of the size of the wallet. She reiterated the importance of why she wanted it to be small, and it was also clear how she wanted the design to be feminine and minimalistic, so that’s what I did my hardest to achieve. I wanted to be able tick all the important boxes in her vision of an ideal wallet.
2. How did testing and getting feedback impact your final design?
Getting Phoeboa’s feedback encouraged me to improve my design. Because she was always pleased with what I presented, it made me want to make the next design better so that the design would be worthy of her praise and would continue to please her. With every redesign, I felt like I was getting closer to the goal of satisfying the need for her ideal wallet.
3. What was the most challenging part of the process for you?
The most challenging part of the process was perhaps communicating with Phoeboa because of our distance and the medium of communication. Unlike in face to face settings, I had to wait longer until I got a reply, and it also takes time before I can update her on the progress of her ideal wallet.