For the first step in my design intervention, I first had to get to know Rhea’s weekly schedule, understanding what objects she interacted with on a daily basis. I then visited her dorm, getting to know the space she lived in. I was surprised by how orderly her dorm seemed, but once she explained her situation, things made more sense. Her roommate often came home far past midnight and showed no respect for Rhea’s sleep, being noisy and turning their lights on as she got ready.
After hearing this, I chose to redesign Rhea’s sleep mask as it was not proving effective for blocking light and was doing nothing to prevent the sound of her roommate entering. Once I had chosen her eyemask as the object I’d redesign, I looked into the existing issues with the object as well as other precedents of the product (secondary research found in sketchbook below.)
This is an image of her current eye mask, which only partially succeeds in blocking one of her senses.
From these issues, I proposed a few solutions, even adding some benefits that hadn’t existed in the previous design. I took carefully into account the materials of the new design and the form-fitting shape to ensure for maximum light blockage. I also added a very necessary feature: sound protection.
I proposed this redesign to her and asked for some helpful feedback. I got more insight into why she wanted an improved sleep mask and I understood more about why she was such an avid user of the sleep aid.
It was clear to me from asking all these questions that she prioritized her sleep over everything and wanted an object that could last her into the distant future. I decided on long-lasting, high-quality materials with a relatively simple design to elongate the life of this object. Finally, I created my digital mockup for Rhea’s new sleep mask, including auditory and visual sensory deprivation.