Northwestern University - Procter & Gamble
As Procter & Gamble strives to produce more sustainable products, our team was tasked with designing a low waste and sanitary package for a new-to-market oral hygiene product. We had ten weeks to conduct several rounds of research, synthesize our findings, and prototype a solution before presenting our work to stakeholders at P&G.
After conducting research and testing with users, we successfully designed and produced a minimum viable prototype consistent with the project objectives. At the end of the project, we traveled to P&G headquarters in Cincinnati, OH and presented our development process and prototype to the sponsor teams and stakeholders.
After conducting secondary research to get a grounding in the space, we held eight in-home interviews with users to gain insight into consumers' oral hygiene habits and to better define our design direction. I led two hour-long in-home interviews, gaining first-hand experience in asking the right questions to uncover user needs, and took comprehensive notes for another two sessions. As a team, we reconvened and brought together our observations to find overarching themes and craft insights.
In later research, the same eight consumers came to Northwestern’s campus for two rounds of prototype testing. For each round of research, we developed discussion guides and prepared different sets of activities – including picture-based storytelling, ranking and sorting, and naming exercises – based on the hypotheses we had formed and wanted to test at each stage. I had the opportunity to lead three hour-long on-site interviews and helped facilitate and took notes for another two.
After our research sessions, we gathered our observations and quotes and complied them physically (Post-it Notes) or digitally (Miro board) and affinitized them. We most closely looked at tensions that arose between different, simultaneous user needs and how we might resolve them practically and efficiently. Once we had ideas on the board, we brought together the best features from each to create multiple concepts for prototyping.
After extensive brainstorming, we landed on seven concepts to build out, test, and refine. We created prototypes from foam core, cardboard, 3D printing, and existing consumer products. Each prototype was unique in functionality and addressed a facet of our project brief differently. I was responsible for or involved in prototyping three of the concepts. After our final round of research, we landed on the design that best met user needs and - after some further iterations - was the one we presented to P&G.
Consumers don't know what they want and often can't articulate their preferences as well as they believe they can. Verbal feedback is no substitute for observed behavior and some of the best design idea can hide in those discrepancies .