The backpack project



Explore and explain the human factors of an object within your environment


The backpack project explores the human factors associated with backpacks. Deliverables were an educational poster and research synthesis video.

Client: Course project

Project: 2017, Human factors,

Duration: 5 weeks

Tools: After Effects, Illustrator

Team: Josh LeFevre

My role: User/design researcher, usability tester, visual communicator 



Backpack educational poster

Design Brief

Explore the human factors of an object or environment while considering physical, cognitive, and emotional factors.

This experiment was designed to  push us to become more observant of the world around us. We were to provide a one-page document outlining the human factors and create a video that was less than one minute long demonstrating what we did. 


Phase 0: the why and understanding human factors

I chose to explore the human factors surrounding backpacks. I found this topic interesting as an outdoor enthusiast and one who has a family history of bad backs. 

I felt that the resources and culture perceptions surrounding backpacks are often turn into  fad or invisible designs. 

Through research I found the common human factors to fall into three categories.

Physical: Size, fit, weight, pockets, straps, handle

Cognitive: Pockets, straps, weight, pulls/tabs, organization

Emotional: Style, size fit, organization


Solution and Reflection

The brief and final project was more of an experiment about recognizing and noticing how I see design decisions and their impact on usability. I decided to take the project a step further by creating, an infographic poster to educate individuals on how to choose a product that has considered all aspects of helpful human factors. 

I noticed the more frequently I interact with objects, the less I recognize the factors at play, unless something goes terribly wrong. This seems to be common to humans in general.

I have taken the idea of noticing with me into future projects by trying to see beyond my own nose and reevaluating the daily encounters I, have with objects and experiences. 


Video: A look at human factors in backpacks