Refined Gap Statement: Create a A Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
It turns out that many people I know are being driven crazy by squirrels who raid their bird feeders, creating a messy nuisance (seed scattered everywhere) and growing fat while birds go hungry. I did some in-person interviews, phone interviews, and I also put up a query on Facebook that drew a surprising number of passionate responses– and even hilarious home videos of home-made attempts at squirrel-proof feeders (more clever than my own original gap solution.) Many wanted to share their frustrations with commercially available products that failed, or to share stores of egregious squirrel thievery. I transcribed and copied all comments to a notebook.
MY LIST OF USER NEEDS:
(Latent needs are coded ! and in red.)
The Bird Feeder is aesthetically pleasing.
The feeder is attractive in the garden.
The feeder has a pleasant, natural-looking appearance.
The feeder “doesn’t look like a prison cell.”
The feeder can be seen from a kitchen window, to enjoy the view of the birds.
! The feeder can be customized so that it fits in with the garden design.
! The look of the feeder can change with the seasons.
The feeder can be hand-painted.
The Bird Feeder preserves bird seed/reserves seed for the birds.
The feeder prevents squirrels from feeding directly.
The feeder prevents squirrels from knocking seed out.
The feeder doesn’t waste seed by allowing it to spill from use by birds, wind movement, etc.
The feeder excludes crows and other undesirable birds.
The Bird Feeder is easy to set up.
The feeder comes pre-assembled.
The feeder is not overly complicated.
The feeder is easy to set up, and does not require extra tools.
The feeder does not require a ladder for installation.
The feeder is free-standing.
The feeder can be hung from a flagpole.
The feeder can be placed near trees. (“as we are surrounded by trees.”)
The feeder can be hung from a kitchen window.
The Bird Feeder is easy to use.
The feeder is easy to fill.
The feeder is easy to clean.
The feeder holds a lot so you don’t need to fill often.
The Bird Feeder is safe.
The feeder doesn’t have sharp edges.
The feeder can be installed securely so it does not fall.
The feeder isn’t suspended in the middle of the garden (so that people knock their heads into it.)
The feeder can be easily sterilized so bird diseases are not spread.
! The feeder delivers a mild shock to squirrel without harming them.
The Bird Feeder is cost-efficient.
The feeder is easy to fill, so seed doesn’t fall to the ground and spoil.
The feeder doesn’t spill seed easily when knocked by birds (or squirrels), or wind.
!The Bird Feeder trains squirrels not to return.
The feeder scares away squirrels.
The feeder uses Pavolian conditioning to dissuade squirrels.
The feeder delivers a mild shock to send squirrels a message.
! The Bird Feeder is entertaining.
! The feeder has a Rube Goldberg/squirrel gym component.
! The feeder has a camera, so we can monitor the activities of the animals remotely from our iPhones and iPads.
! The feeder has a camera that takes close-up snapshots of the birds and squirrels.
! The feeder comes with a free smartphone app.
! Which connects to a Twitter account, so the birds can really tweet!