Bad instructions on packaging would not allow the customer to open the packaging properly. Bad design of packaging would not allow the customer to store product properly.
When I was trying to open the trash bags (pic 1) packaging, I didn’t notice the dotted line on the front of the product. Instead, I teared out the glued side of the packaging, and made it look very bad after doing so. Although, it didn’t affect the way I use it.
Some party size food packaging doesn’t allow users to store after not finishing the pack. When I was eating a family pack of potato chips, I definitely can not finish it at once, so I may need to find something to clip it in case the chips get soften.
I always had a hard time pouring a single pack of salad dressing into my salad bowl with the amount I liked. Usually, the opening is too wide, so you will be very difficult to control the amount.
One person cooking and eating alone make my life very complicated, because the cost control is significant and I have carefully control the portion size otherwise it will create food waste. I love tofu, but the packaging always disappoints me. You will need a knife to cut it open, and I got no way to seal it back. In addition, the portion is too big and this happens to every kind of tofu. Well, maybe not. It may just happen to the tofu that I like.
Suggestions on Design:
Giving users enough hints on the correct way to open a packaging is important. Designer may need to get a step ahead of users, considering what they consider. Add a little note on the lateral sides of the packaging, for example “open from the front” or “Do not open from the laterals”.
Family pack or party size packaging should include a way to seal the food in order to keep fresh, for example adding a zipper or slider on the top. Considering the financial issue since a bag of chips is very cheap may not have profit margin to add extra feature to the packaging. Maybe a life hack showing users how to store the unfinished chips in a proper way would be helpful.
Narrow the opening of the salad dressing. In this way, users can easily open the packaging and also be able to control the amount they would like to add in the food.
Deliver portion control inside the original packaging. They should split one big portion into two or more portions. For example, the tofu pack can be partitioned into two smaller portions, and user should be able to open each portion individually.
Rationale Behind The Design:
We talked about user centered design in the class. It is the process of ensuring that people’s needs are met, that the resulting product is understandable and usable. It should accomplish the desired tasks that users encounter, and ensure the experience of use is positive and enjoyable. As mentioned in Rundh’s Packaging design: creating competitive advantage with product packaging, packaging and packaging design have played significant roles in marketing diverse products and also communicate the culture and purpose of the brand to the consumer. “The package had to elegant, practical, preferably somewhat unusual and naturally economical with regard to production and handling.” (p.998) In these cases, I believe designers did not give enough instructions to users to open a package in the way they want users to do. Considering some food portion is very big, without proper storing feature will allow unnecessary food waste. Adding a feature for proper storage can keep the food fresh and it also shows the design process that designers putting themselves in customers’ shoes and giving the best solution to take care of the possible problems while they are using the products.
Effective design needs to satisfy a large number of constraints and concerns, including shape and form, cost and efficiency, reliability and effectiveness, the pride of ownership, and the joy and actual use. Of course a good design can be constraint promoted to the market because of financial or environmental issue, for example adding a zipper to a packaging would raise the price or lead to more environmental waste. A lot of trade-offs has to be made in order to achieve the balance between a efficiently-design product and also a cost-friendly product.
Bo Rundh, (2009) "Packaging design: creating competitive advantage with product packaging", British Food Journal, Vol. 111 Issue: 9, pp.988-1002,