About a year ago, in December 2012, T.Ware took a big scary step forward.
We sent 20 of our (version 4) T.Jacket prototypes out to people. Of course by this time we’d already tried the jacket with many children during several demo sessions, and spoken with different therapists about it too.
We soon found out that this was a much different and more critical test. Getting direct responses from the users felt rather like sending a child unprotected to the first day of kindergarten.
However, it's only when you do that then you find out simple, crucial things like how it's slightly annoying to have switch on and off the jacket to try to reconnect it to the phone when the connection fails in the office or before a demo.
But it’s beyond frustrating and almost impossible to do that after you’ve put the jacket on an already upset child and you’re trying to get it started to help him calm down. Especially when the on button is inside his pocket.
These brave, understanding and very patient early users were initially very worried about damaging the jacket, and our feelings, but we eventually found out some important things about the jacket, like:
“The jacket is too loud to use in church, when I need it”
“I can’t tell whether it’s on”
“I want to use it with him in the car, but I can’t start it because there’s no internet in the carpark”
“I leave the jacket inflated because it saves time looking for the phone.. logging in, and inflating it”
And we were greatly encouraged to hear about these:
“He put the jacket in his luggage when he heard we were going on a trip”
“As soon as I put the jacket on him, he smiled instantly and now comes home from school and asks for it”
“It helps him calm down when he gets stressed doing math homework”
The team found out and understood more about our users' lives and daily routines, the challenges they faced and started to understand what they wanted to achieve with the T.Jacket, and why. That helped us figure out what to focus on when improving the T.Jacket.
Thanks to these brave early users, we now have the T.Jacket that you see today. We know that it’ll be with the help of many others like them that we’ll have the next T.Jacket that can help even more children and people around the world who benefit from getting a hug.