Initial research into our target users indicated contrasting use cases. User #1 currently has a phone-wallet with a front-folding screen cover and an adhesively attached card holder on the back. User #1 expressed interest in maintaining additional screen protection with some sort of front-folding flap, keeping a wallet that doubles as a phone case, increased space for cards and cash, and having card storage encased rather than open. User #1 also suggested having a zipper-based approach to encasing the phone and extra storage.
In contrast, User #2 uses a thin, doubled-sided wallet pouch separate from the phone case. User #2 highly prefers the wallet separate from the phone case for a variety of reasons. User #2 expressed similar interests in increased storage, such as room for cash. User #2 also expressed mild interest also in incorporating some way to store keys.
Compiling the two users into a single list of requirements, we concluded our wallet needs:
- Adaptability: The phone-wallet should be able to convert between a wallet, a phone case, and a hybrid of both. The user should be able to choose the functionality of the product. To satisfy both use cases, this feature is of utmost importance.
- Storage: The phone-wallet should have above-average storage options. This will be able to accommodate cash in addition to multiple cards.
- Concealment: The phone-wallet should avoid having sensitive information and cash visible to others when closed.
Here is a compilation of brainstormed sketches coupled with chosen designs highlighted in blue:
Prototype #1: Zipper Clutch
In the sketch compilation, its sketches are the second from the top on the left, and the second from the top on the right. While not implemented in the prototype, a zipper would encompass the entire perimeter of the phone, excluding the hinge. The left flap provides storage for multiple cards or folded cash, in addition to a pocket underneath the phone sleeve. The phone sleeve is made of clear plastic. If the user wishes to not use the plastic sleeve for a phone, it is also a great option for additional storage, such as a pre-existing card holder, but especially for identification such as a driver’s license. Finally, the zipper provides the concealment, but in a rush, the user could also place items freely in the middle of the wallet-case and zip it up. This case is more geared towards User #1, but also fully satisfies the functionality for User #2.
Prototype #2: Slide & Snap
In the sketch compilation, its sketches are located on the upper right and upper left. The defining feature of this design is that the phone case is a shell with rails on the left to attach a detachable left cover with card slots. This allows the user to detach the wallet functionality from the phone case functionality at will. Attachment/Detachment would be a similar process to a Joy-Con for the Nintendo Switch console. The left cover also has a pocket on the outer edge, with a zipper to provide concealment and additional storage for cash or keys (seen in the second picture).
Prototype #3: Accordion
In the sketch compilation, this is the bottom-most sketch. The modular, detachable approach introduced in the Slide & Snap inspired us to take a similar approach, but with attention the back of the phone. There will be a shell phone case similarly to Slide & Snap, but rails or a cutout slot will be on the back (as seen in picture 2). The wallet portion will be an accordion folder with partitions on the inside. The prototype uses a top flap instead of a clasp (originally shown in the sketch) to close and open the accordion. This will help avoid accidental openings of the accordion, and it also conceals. The accordion is great for storage because it expands with more insertions. Plus, it can expand to hold cash or keys. Note that the accordion is not hinged on the bottom, but rather has an adjusting bottom edge (as seen in picture 4). Since it is detachable, the wallet functionality can be separated from the phone case. The attachment mechanism could also have the accordion double as a belt-attachable wallet. Screen protection could be addressed with raised case edges, or another attachment as a left flap.
We believe there is promise in the modular detachments, which allows adaptability to a wide variety of users. Thus, future investigations will most likely look at different combinations of Prototypes #2 & #3 and additional permutations.