Design Thinking Houseware Project (Bathroom)

At the beginning of the semester, the design thinking E block class was presented with a project. In order to develop our creativity and thinking skills, Mr. Abbondanzio challenged us to choose region of a house, conduct multiple interviews on the subject, identify a problem, and finally use the tools that we have learned to solve that problem.

We took a strong interest in the area of the bathroom. We believe we can help improve peoples lives through ideas we create. The first part of the project was learning how to ask the right questions in order to obtain the information needed. After this crucial learning process, we began the interviewing part of the project. While interviewing, we had our interviewees take us through their daily routine (morning or night). Common questions that we asked were derived from our observations on how they interacted with their bathroom. Many of these observations consisted of the lack of space one has, how they have space but do not know how to use it efficiently, and the way one cleans his or her space. After we gathered information from our interviews, we grouped together six major categories we found that were frequent problems. For the next step in our project, we hope to use the skills that we have learned and create an innovative design that is user friendly and helps make peoples lives easier will in the bathroom.


1st Interview: Transferred family from France, they rent the house so therefore they cannot make big changes in their house when there is a problem. We need to be able to find easy and cheap solutions to their problems. The designs should be adaptable from houses to houses.

2nd Interview: Couple living in San Diego permanently, bathroom really modern and pretty organized.


Collaborative interview notes: Notes that we made while watching over the interviews. We grouped the main problems the interviewee’s were experiencing in five catagories.

#1. Lack of Space: We realized that a frequent problem people have when using the bathroom is not having enough space. Examples of these are listed above. Lack of space can also cause objects to fall and be a hazard towards others.

#2. Having space, but not knowing how to use it: Many people have an excess amount of storage space, but do not use it to their full advantage.

#3. Ease of use: When using their bathrooms, our interviewees had systems for different parts of their routine. These systems include having the towels near by when they are stored father away, storing items in the shower relative to the hight of the person using it, and the use of color coordination for objects.

#4. Cleaning (time): Cleaning is a very tedious task when in the bathroom. We found that cleaning the sink, and cleaning showers are a lot of work for people to do everyday. This chore is time-affected.

#5. The way things look: We found that a lot of people do what is more comfortable vs. what is more “beautifull.” People do care about how things look, but the bathroom is more of a personal space.

#6. Major changes to one’s bathroom: Now a days, people make major reconstructive changes to their bathrooms. Thus making their needs customizable.


To visually see what parts of the bathroom need the most work on, we made a graph. This graph displays how different tasks in the bathroom, are either more or less helpful, and how many extra steps these tasks take.

We found that organization has a direct effect with laziness. The more a person organizes their things, the more steps it will take for them to reach their goal.

January 15th, Deliverable 1: Second Round of Research

While looking to our board of post-its, Jacob and I tried to narrow our research to some specific two to three areas that really inspire us. We want to research more on the areas of “Lack of space”, “Have space but don’t know how to use it”, and “Ease of use”.

Here are some questions that we are asking ourselves:

1. What causes the problem of not having enough space?

2. How does convenience effect organization in the bathroom? — Laziness, putting items in wrong spot.

3. We want to learn how big of a problem water on the bathroom floor is. Does it slow people down? How does it affect their morning/nightly routine? What do they do to solve this problem? Where does it stand on the pain vs. frequency graph?

How will we further our research for a second round of data?

  • We will look through our previous interview videos to look if the people that we already interviewed talked about the areas that we are researching. If yes, we will use that information and interview other people for further information. If no, we will go back to those people to ask them further questions on our areas of research. We will put together our interviews and come up with a specific problem…

January 26th, Deliverable 2: Second Round of Data

In the first interview I have made of the Calméjane family, I have found some interesting input from the parents. The mother told me that all of the products and bottles she is putting on her counter were bothering her but she didn’t want to put them in the drawers because she would have to go fetch them from the back of the drawers every time she would like to use them. However, she also told me that if there was a way to put the products in the drawers without them moving in the back every time, she would actually store them in the drawers. That is a demonstration of “having space, but don’t know how to use it” type of situation.

The mother also told me that, when she is getting out of the shower, she would like to have a hot floor mat. It doesn’t matter to her if it has been wet previously but having it heat up while she is in the shower and getting out with a nice warm pad would be great. Also, when something is heated up, you tend to not feel that it is wet anymore or you feel it but it doesn’t bother you. That would be a great solution to the “wet floor” type of situation.

In the second video I have made (Marie Frémont), I also came across come interesting comments from the interviewee. She told me that she loves having things organized but sometimes doesn’t have time to put everything away properly. Especially for her drawers. This is a great example of “having space but don’t know how to use it” type of situation. She shared her impressions on the things that could help her organize her drawers. She said that any type of small inside-compartment would be great. In addition, this could also be a great solution for any products that shift in the drawers when they are closing and opening.

In this clip, I noticed that the bathroom counter was organized so that half of the space was dedicated to the girls belongings and the other half was dedicated to the man’s belongings. This falls into the catagory of convienience. It is very convientent to have the sides split up between the couple, but it is also a lot of work to organize/maintain.

In this clip, He talks about why the towels are hanging on the door. I found it interesting that they keep them on the door farther away from the shower, rather than closer to the shower where the floor matt is.

In this clip, She talks about the problem she encounters when reaching for the products in the back. There are so many products and such little space, that when she reaches in that back to grab something, a lot of the time they all fall.

Water on the floor is a big problem for this couple, so the use of a floor matt is a necessity.

Her drawer
His drawer

I found it very interesting how much more organized his drawers were than hers. In his drawer, there are minimal items, and they are very organized. In her drawer, everything is piled on top of each other and when i asked her if she uses all of these things she replied “no not at all.”

January 30th, Deliverable 3: Problems and Mapping

During our second round of collecting data (or rewatching old interviews), Jacob and I came across the main problems that all our interviewees encounter in their every day lives. Here they are:

  • Water on the floor/wet floor mat
  • Not knowing when water is hot in the shower → leads to wasting water
  • Shower space storage is not convenient for different people sizes
  • Bad drawer accessibility (e.g. products shift back and forth and people have to get them from the back of the drawer every time they want to use it)

To these problems encountered every day, we can associate some emotional reactions. For example, for the “water on the floor/wet floor mat” problem, we can have people that are bothered by the feeling they get when they step on a cold floor/floor mat, we can have people that are cautious about their security (don’t want to slip when getting out of the shower), and people that can be cautious and grossed out about the germs/mold that could be developing because of the humidity in the mat… Therefore, when trying to find a solution to that problem, we will have to take in consideration all those personalities so that our product can have more success into helping the more people possible.

Mapping

The mapping will help us locate where exactly the problem is situated in the bathroom, the time at which that problem is encountered…

Map of emotions during daily shower routine:

  1. Waking up = tired/laziness
  2. Shower = awake but still kinda tired. (for some showers that take a while to heat up, a feeling of guilt is present because the person feels that they have wasted water).
  3. getting out of shower = uncomfortably cold/disgust
  4. Floor mat = cold and wet
  5. Drying off = back to comfortable state if you are standing on a dry surface

Map of water in daily routine:

  1. wake up — no water
  2. water in and around shower
  3. when traveling to dry yourself off, there is no control of water and where it goes
  4. brushing teeth, water gets around the counter/mirror
  5. after routine is done, water stays on floor or counter for a while and eventually dries

Problem Statements:

  1. Water on the floor effects negatively the daily routine in both a physical and emotional way by slowing people down and frustrating them.
  2. Waiting for hot water causes guilt and not knowing when the water became hot gives a feeling of lost time to its user.
  3. The unpractical shower spaces and counter drawers cause bad organization and therefore lost of space; the people therefore have the feeling that they don’t control their bathroom space and have to compromise their organization which frustrate them.

February 17th, Deliverable 4: 10–20 Concept Sketches and Competitive Analysis

We have three different types of prototype ideas: “water on the floor” ideas (13), “waiting for hot water” ideas (3), and “drawer/shower space” ideas(7).

Towel Shower Curtain

With this product, the user would be able to dry himself without putting water everywhere in his bathroom to go get his towel, and by dripping water everywhere.

Towel Dryer Robot

This robot would be able to pick up your wet towel from the floor and dry it. Thanks to that, you would not have a wet carpet when you come home, and you would not have to “waste time” but picking up your towel and putting it in the dryer.

Functional Product Shower Hanger

This shower hanger would be adaptable to any sizes (from kids to adults). It would not rust, not bother you and tilt when you take products out the storage spaces.

Competitive analysis for main ideas:

In our sketches, a few ideas stand out. We mainly have “solutions” that include a shower head or a floor mat. The main shower head idea that we had was a shower head that could tell its user when the water is hot through a smartphone app alert or an alarm, and also could have a place where it could take shampoo and conditioner capsules. Its user would just press a button for the shampoo to come out on his/her head.

When doing a research for the competitive analysis of this kind of product, we found a Google Patent with sketches of a shower head with chamber for different shampoo capsules. However, this patent was created in 2010 and there hasn’t been any product developed since that had a lot of success. If we were to decide to go through with the building of this product, we would have to make sure that there will be no flaws when using the product and making sure it could be really innovative and that people would like this product.

For the floor mats, we thought about a few different designs. There is no set design yet because many different designs could solve the problem that users are encountering. The main idea is to have a floor mat that has a nice feeling under the user’s feet, that doesn’t have this soggy/wet feeling, and that takes care of the water dispersion problem when its user is getting out of the shower.

For the competitive analysis, we haven’t found a lot of solutions for this kind of problem our interviewees are encountering. There have been heating floor mats but for inside the shower instead of outside. There could be a way for us to have success with this product.

March 10th, Deliverable 5: 5–10 Conceptual Prototypes and Research Goals

Basic Idea of a Floor Mat

This idea was just a mock-up to be able to visualize what we could do with different types of floor mats. We can change the components inside…

Idea for system inside drawers that could sustain the products in their place while the user closes drawer

Of course, the spring would be longer and more effective to be able to have enough “power” to hold back all products

Shower head with shampoo capsule system and bluetooth

This shower head would be able to send you a notification on your phone or sound an alarm when the water is hot for your shower. It would also hold shampoo and conditioner capsules so that you would: 1. gain space in the shower by not having too many products around you 2. for hotels, would be more practical than giving tiny bottles to the customers.

Shower head patent

This is a patent (http://www.google.com/patents/EP2351888A1?cl=en) for a product that is almost identical to our shower head soap dispenser idea. The claims are very thorough and extensive. Although our product is similar, we can go about this several ways. Because this patent was isued in 2010 to a european man, we can look and see if it would be infringing if it is in different continents. Another thing we can do is try to work around the claims this man makes.

Research Goals:

The research goals for these prototypes are: make sure that the product would be well appreciated by user and frequently used, ask for flaws that user may encounter while using this product, and ask how we could make our product better for them to use it and appreciate it.

March 21st, Deliverable 6: Interviews


Flushable sink product interview : In this video, they recommended that we mix the water that flushes through the sink with detergent.


Shower head soap dispenser

March 29th, Deliverable 7: Which prototype are we going to build?

We decided on building the shampoo dispenser shower head. Our teacher went to buy us a regular shower head, we undid it to look at the inside and see how it is made. We then were able to work on a system that could work with the shower head based on its “architecture”. Because we were quickly done with our main prototype, we decided to continue on innovating by designing other quick prototypes that we could show and get feedback on.

April 10th, Deliverable 8: Building

“include pictures and explain phases”

May 12th, Deliverable 9: Testing

include video or pictures

May 17th, Deliverable 10: Conclusion