With child-resistant mechanisms remaining stagnant for decades and a growing elderly
population, our team was tasked with making a better mouse trap. Our goal was to make
child-resistant mechanisms that includes people with added difficulties while increasing
child resistant effectiveness. We met with elderly, arthritis, people with disabilities, and
parents alongside their children to observe and understand their behaviors, perceptions,
and challenges when interacting with child-resistant packages.
Design Strategy Manager
Reigning in children's wild tendencies and observing users struggle to open packages,
but not help them
Favorite Part of Project:
Having over half of the elderly/arthritis group hug me after our sessions - when did hugging strangers become socially unacceptable?!
I conducted and planned all aspects of this project.
My strategy manager was great to bounce ideas if needed
and to review plans and deliverables as I completed them,
plus take amazing notes during interviews.
Research & Activities:
Secondary Research - to use as baseline to differentiate our research
Usability Study - to understand people's challenges with CR packages
Task Analysis & Rating - to assess perceived pain and effort of packages
Contextual Inquiry - in-context field research to understand parent's behaviors
Ideation Activity - to understand what motions are perceived as easy, yet CR
PARENTS & CHILDREN
- 90 min. sessions
5 Parents & 7 Children
Preliminary discussion with parent to understand precautions taken with child-resistant products, any instances in which their children gained access, and the types of mechanisms or motions their children are able to open/conduct.
Prior to the usability study, parents were tasked with opening each package and place them in order of their perceived child-resistance.
Parent's gave their children CR packages and asked them to open. Our goal was to observe
the child's intuition and behavior throughout their attempts as well as understanding the motions that children gravitated towards.
Parent's were provided stimuli and tools and were tasked with developing ideas for child-resistance with a focus on their child's abilities.
ELDERLY, ARTHRITIS, & PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - 60 min. sessions
5 People with Disabilities
Focused on gaining basic understanding of current usage, challenges, and perceptions about CR.
Participants discovered how packages opened on their own and were provided direction if needed.
We observed user's intuition and dove deeper into which particular motions were a challenge and why.
As user's were opening each package we asked them to rate the pain and effort experienced when opening each package. And afterwards we had
them rank packages in order of preference.
Participants were provided stimuli and tools
and were tasked with developing their ideal
Looking at the current CPSC protocol,
I was able to understand how I should design
the usability study and where we need to
expand our inclusion of participants.
I compiled both internal and external research
studies focused on child-resistant mechanisms
to set a foundation for our research plan. I used
this as both a reference tool and to help elevate our plan for differentiation to expand upon
what has been done.
We conducted a quick office usability with a
large amount of child-resistant packages to
help identify and narrow which packages
we should carry into usability studies
with our user groups.
CHILDREN ABLE TO OPEN
(LONGER BARS = MORE OPENS)
While 1-Clic was the top preferred within the elderly, arthritis, and disabled group, it was the least opened by children as most overlooked the tab on the side.
Elderly & arthritis groups tended to struggle with packages that required a lot of force,
While people with disabilities
struggled with packages that required
two hands or more complex dexterity.
ELDERLY, ARTHRITIS, &
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Create a new CR mechanism that requires zero force to open?
Make a CR package easy to open without using fingers?
Make a new CR mechanism that is reduced to the most minimum movement?
PARENTS & CHILDREN
Make a CR mechanism that's cognitively impossible for a child to figure out?
Create a new CR mechanism that doesn't use the turning motion?
Make a new CR package with features or motions that children will overlook?
HOW MIGHT WE...
Where the group thinks aloud about ideas with
how to solve the problem and leans into a natural discussion. We started and ended our sessions with statement starters geared towards a group think to first open people's minds, but also to wrap up.
PASS THE SKETCH
Where each person within the group creates one well though out idea, then passes it on for critique, and passed on one final time to incorporate changes. The final idea has three different perspectives and typically are more radical ideas.
Where each person sketches out as many
ideas as they can within the time allotted. This is
a great way to get a lot of different ideas quickly.
WHERE WE ARE
This project is in the ideation
refinement phase. Models have
been built and 3D printed.
I will be conducting focus groups
soon to identify which concepts resonate with users and help
narrow for further refinement.
& PROJECT PLANNING
WHAT WE LEARNED
Adult CPCS testing omits an important group of users by excluding people with "overt disabilities," people who are unable to follow written instructions, and anyone over the age of 70 y/o. These people are more likely to need medications thus requiring them to interact with CR closures more frequently. These are the people who struggle with closures the most, yet
they aren't included in testing. On the
other hand, children testing only
includes children up to 4.25 years.
WHAT WE DID
We specifically included people with "overt disabilities" like cerebral palsy, arthritis, and stroke victims as well as older children so we could design a better closure for everyone.
external research takeaways.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Looking at external research studies we found that the strength of children and older adults overlap. This shows that hand strength is not a good opportunity for design as some adults would be incapable of opening if the strength eliminated all children. Although hand strength is not an opportunity, the size of children's hands vs adults rarely overlaps making it a viable opportunity to explore.
WHAT WE DID
Moving forward in developing our research
we focused on usability testing and gauging user's feelings toward difference packages and problems.
From previous internal research on
child-resistant packages, we had
a good baseline of general user perceptions on existing packages. Due to this existing knowledge, usability testing and generating ideas with participants was priority.
Extreme sizes make it
more difficult to open
If "easy" to open, most people think
children would be able to as well
Requiring a lot of force causes most
people to dislike the package
One-handed use, clear directions, and
audible feedback are clear bonuses
research plan overview.
We developed tasks for the groups of participants that allowed us to observe how they go about opening packages, gauge their pain, effort and preference, and understand their ideal
To decide which packages to move forward into the usability study I met with people in the office with a large number of options. I had them open and rate each package to help narrow down which ones to carry into elder and child participants. We chose to narrow down based on including a variety of motions, commonality vs rare, and difficulty of opening.
& PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
common hand problems.
Recruiting posed particularly difficult as there were not many elderly and people with disabilities in our database.
We reached out to local
senior living communities and partnered with SWIRCA to reach our target consumer. These people represent
the many people around
the world who struggle with child-resistant closures
on a daily basis.
elderly persona & journey map.
We found that elderly people, especially with arthritis, struggle to open child-resistant packages. They view it as "something you just have to live with." Many people experience shooting pain, stiff hands, or lack of sensitivity. While people within this group mostly are able to open these packages, it is a painful struggle.
disabled persona & journey map.
Living with disabilities requires
many tasks to be done differently. People within this group often got creative when needing to open
their child-resistant packages. These methods can often result in them spilling the medication or
even causing bodily irritation from biting or rubbing against their arm.
After synthesizing the observations from research, I broke the data up into each different motion observed and intuition. These observations allowed us to identify which types
of motions we should pursue in ideation, and which ones to avoid.
I find videos to be one of the most important takeaways for stakeholders. Although they weren't there during the interviews, they are able to witness key moments that occurred. For each category of observations, I create a corresponding video using Premiere Pro.
This video talks about one-handed use >
We focused on the time it took to open each package and the rate in which each package was opened.
Overall packages that required a lot of force, whether familiar or not, were most difficult to open. 1-CLIC was the top runner among both preference and open-ability.
One of my favorite challenges is presenting complex data in a digestible form. This graph shows the outcome for each group included in the effort and pain rating task. While overall pinch & turn scored highest, in the end the high achiever was 1-CLIC as it was the most difficult for children.
usability effort & pain rating.
Most CR features require
physical force to manipulate.
Elderly people and people with disabilities
have weakened or non-functioning hands
which makes it very difficult or impossible
to apply the appropriate amount of force.
CR mechanisms need to avoid
the use of force for opening.
While the usability testing focused on children, we spoke to their parent's about their experiences and precautions with child-resistant packages. While many parents automatically baby-proof their homes, others don't think about it until their children get into potentially dangerous products.
Watching children attempt to open packages was a wonder. With child age ranges from 37- 71 months (about 3-6 years) we saw the stark differences in children's abilities.
Overall most children attempted motions at random.
With enough force, some were able to bypass CR mechanisms unintentionally.
While younger children gave up quickly, older children were more determined and had more patience.
Out of all the packages,
1-CLIC was least opened.
Between observing children and
talking to parents, we were able to
identify types of motions children aren't
able to conduct. We used these as a
reference when conducting ideation.
observed child capabilities.
Push wall was the most frequently opened by children, while 1-CLIC was the least. Children seemingly overlooked tabs that seemed obvious to adults. Ironically, children who were able to read did not attempt until told to do so, then afterwards were able to open.
If a package isn't opening, children naturally apply more
force or tighten their grip on the motion they are attempting.
Even if that motion is incorrect for opening, they sometimes apply force in the right way and open the package. This is worrisome and stressful for parents because children can be persistent and strong enough to accidentally open CR packages.
CR mechanisms need to prevent actuation
through the use of secondary forces.
KEY USABILITY TAKEAWAYS
After conducting usability testing with both the elder group and children's group I was able to take a step back and see how they coordinate - one of the best parts of seeing how data comes together! The key winner was 1-CLIC as it was both easy for adults, but difficult
Create a new CR mechanism
that requires zero force?
Make a CR package easy to
open without using fingers?
Make a CR package that's cognitively impossible for a child to figure out?
Make a CR package that opposes instinctual behaviors of a child?
(like turning, prying, or applying more force)
HOW MIGHT WE...
Using our findings from research we developed a set of
"how might we's" to encourage innovative ideas through
ideation. Our ideation sessions consisted of quick post-ups, group thinks, and pass-the-sketch ideas. These sessions
cover the research so each idea has the user in mind.
While my primary role in this project is design research, I not only participate in ideation, but I serve a key role in decision making as concepts move further along the development process. As of today this project is still in the refinement phase, but is soon to be narrowed down for possible production runs.