As an intern at Smart Design, I worked on a small team of designers and engineers to create the next generation of Good Grips, the core line of OXO products. I led the development of three OXO products through sketching, prototyping, and user testing. Two of those products, the Apple Corer and Dough Whisk, are available for purchase.
Davin Stowell, CEO
Min Kim, Senior Industrial Designer
Mason Umholtz, Senior Industrial Designer
Edward Laganis, Design Engineering Director
Vincent Valderrama, Asst. Engineering Director
Industrial design for 3 products
User interview
Project duration:
4 months
Apple Corer
As an intern at Smart Design, I worked on a small team of designers and engineers to create the next generation of Good Grips, the core line of OXO products. I led the development of three OXO products through sketching, prototyping, and user testing.
Contextual inquiry
Coring apples with users with varying hand sizes
To start, I cored a lot of apples using the existing OXO apple corer and competitors'. I asked people with very large and very small hands to do the same, and interviewed them to gain deeper insights. Through this process I identified specific "grip styles."
Prototyping & user testing
Testing features with functional prototypes
By prototyping with 3D printed handles, and testing with users, I validated the scale of the handle. I also tested multiple features with rough prototypes. Users responded positively to a "hilt" which provided a sense of control, and a sharper blade.
Gliding through apples to remove cores cleanly
A subtly flared “hilt” handle was recommended to prevent hands from sliding, in addition to grippy TPE. A sharper stainless steel blade makes coring even easier. The form reflects the new Good Grips design language.
In production
Customers core confidently
A sharper blade makes coring swift, and a shorter tool head makes removing the core from the tool easy. The updated OXO apple corer is well-received with 4.7/5 stars on Amazon and over 4,200 reviews.
Balloon whisk
I was promted to experiment with how to improve the Good Grips balloon whisk for a possible product refresh. The whisk is a best seller, so any changes would need to be carefully considered.
Contextual inquiry
Users whip egg whites to stiff peaks
To start, we timed users using different whisks to whip egg whites to soft peaks. A key insight was that with the aluminum handle, the handle can move freely across the palm in a pendulum motion, but felt less secure. The TPE handle felt more secure, but prevented this pendulum effect that made whisking easier. Would there be a way to combine the benefits of these two handles?
Prototyping & User Testing
Testing whisk concepts with functional prototypes
I created 3D printed handles and attached whisk heads from existing products. In one test, I sanded the 3D printed handle smooth and applied a rubber grip to the top, which worked well with users (it decreased the amount of time to create whipped soft-peak egg whites). I also tested a weighted handle intended to accentuate the pendulum motion of whisking. This did not work! The time it took users to whip egg whites increased, and they reported feeling fatigued.
A whisk handle with targeted grip
The recommendation combines the benefits of the smooth metal handle and the grippy TPE handle in one. A secure grip for the thumb and forefinger, with a smooth base, allows a pendulum motion along the palm. This was proven to make intensive whisking jobs more efficient.
Dough whisk
OXO did not have a dough whisk previously, and prompted Smart Design to develop one. Dough whisks are useful for combining dough without using a stand mixer, which are large, expensive, and difficult to clean.
Contextual inquiry
Understanding the purpose of a dough whisk
I had never used a dough whisk before, so I asked users to make different viscosities of dough, from pancakes to chocolate chip cookies, and interviewed them during the process. The dough whisk did a good job of combining different doughs quickly without getting clogged. It's compact, which is important to users with small kitchens. Additionally, it's easier for adults with impaired mobility to pull out and store again compared to a heavy stand mixer. Lastly, the whisk is easy to clean compared with mixers or a food processor.
Prototyping & User Testing
Understanding how a dough whisk works
I made many functional prototypes to test handle grips and wire configurations. The three different size wire loops, especially the smallest loop, affect how quickly ingredients get combined together. With this in mind, I aimed to rationalize and simplify the whisk head by creating three concentric wire loops.  Handle prototypes feature a shoulder, which is a response to how users were gripping the handle in user testing.
Dough whisk recommendation
Doughs come together with less mess
The optimized stainless steel wire head effectively blends dough, and the wires are spaced such that the dough won't stick. When holding the handle users can hook a finger over the shoulder, allowing them to have a loose grip, preventing fatigue.
In production
Home bakers are mixing things up with the dough whisk
The OXO dough whisk is in production and has been received well by customers. It is rated 4.8/5 on Amazon with over 1,000 reviews.