To gather a baseline I looked at a water bottle by Contigo1 and created an affinity diagram2 in order to figure out the specific needs/desires of a water bottle user. The most critical functions are that a water bottle hold water and that it doesn't spill unintentionally. Though the Contigo has great features like one handed opening and a fold away carry loop3 (which allowed us to carry bananas in the same hand.) However it failed the spill test, It opened when dropped4 and when placed inside a bag5. A heuristic analysis on the bottle found other areas it could improve: permanent warnings about leak potential and difficulty opening.6
Fly-on-the-wall observation was conducted to learn more about the full-stack development students7,8. Because the location was a large and busy lunch room the observation wouldn't unduly influence the results. Observations were recorded on a worksheet focusing on observed activities, environment, interactions, objects, and users9. The main takeaways were that organic conversations were important, there is a modern clean look to the kitchen area, and 84% of water bottles observed had a small mouth. We would learn later during user interviews that this was because they feared spilling water on other people's computer.