USER RESEARCH / PRODUCT DESIGN / PROTOTYPE PRODUCTION
Though advertised as a product for consumers who are interested in outdoor activities, Nalgene’s original water bottles are popular throughout the United States. However, for those customers that want ice in their water bottles but are more clumsy, drinking from Nalgene’s Wide Mouth Water Bottle can become a hassle. This project was developed for the Introduction to Design course at The University of Texas at Austin.
Nalgene is an American company that produces plastic products - mainly water bottles - targeted towards adventurous people and marketed as “born from science, guaranteed for life, ready for anything”. One of their most popular products is the Wide Mouth Water Bottle which allow users to easily pour liquids, ice, and other substances besides being durable like their other products.
However, the 2.5 inches of the water bottle's mouth makes it difficult for the users to drink water and do other activities - such as walking - at the same time. There is indeed a narrow mouth version of the same water bottle but the different mouth size doesn't allow users to have ice in it and makes it harder for them to pour substances inside.
Research was conducted to observe user experience while interacting with the product and identify the brand attributes expressed in the water bottle. The user research allowed the pros and cons of the current design to be identified. Users appreciated that the loop top piece could be used as a place to hold and carry the bottle and it was also easy to replace, but they disliked the fact that you had to hold it still while drinking from the bottle so it wouldn't fall on their faces. Regarding the size of the bottle's mouth, they liked that it made it easy to clean the bottle and although they recognized that Nalgene tried to fix the "water spilling on your face" problem by creating the "Easy Sipper", it's one more thing to buy and worry about.
The research defined the design criteria as provide a better user experience by fixing the loop top and wide mouth issues while maintaining their identified advantages. Brand attributes informed the design aesthetics: simple, easy to use, and smooth edges.
In order to prevent spill while drinking from the bottle, it became evident that a narrower mouth was necessary. However, so that the users could still easily pour substances and ice in their bottles and so that it would still be easy to clean, it was recognized that the design of the bottle itself should remain the same and therefore the identified problems should be solved by exclusively redesigning the lid.
The redesigned lid proposes a narrow mouth that is part of the lid itself. Considering the fact that most of the users would be practicing other activities while simultaneously drinking from the bottle, a flip cap was implemented so that users won't have to hold the lid of the narrow mouth. The loop top was adapted so that it connects the new lid to the water bottle. This new design solves the spilling issue, removes the necessity of having to hold or place the lid somewhere when refilling the water bottle and holding it still so it won't fall on the user's face while drinking from the bottle. The new lid is composed of 3 different parts that easily snaps together so that, in case of damage, each part can be purchased separately and replaced.
In order to test the design's correctness, a prototype was created. First, a digital model was developed through 3D rendering using Rhinoceros. Then, the digital was moved to the digital world by using 3D printers. the lid and flip cap parts were printed on ABS Plastic and the loop top was printed with rubber.