Working with Eram Scientific, an eToilet manufacturer in India, our design team set out to help them make their electronic toilet experience more intuitive, user-friendly, and safe. Eram’s eToilet is self-cleaning, coin-operated, and programmed to gather data on its usage, but there were key pieces of the user and brand experience that were ripe for a rethink. Focusing on Eram’s target market in urban areas of southern India, we began field research in Bangalore and Trivandrum, conducting over 100 interviews ranging from those who avoided using public toilets to frequent users to Eram staff and service personnel.
HOW I USED THIS METHOD
After capturing all of our research, our team arrived at some key themes. Among others, we found that cleanliness, reliability, and gender friendliness were the biggest concerns people had when making the choice to use a public toilet. Using these themes as a starting point for identifying opportunities for design, our team then crafted insight statements for each of these themes. For instance, when thinking about gender friendliness, we found that: Women want a private space in which to enter and exit the toilet. For reliability, one insight included: The people who live and work near a public toilet play a crucial role in directing users toward or away from it. These insights are just a sample of many, and together they formed the first sparks in crafting how to make the product and experience better.
WHAT I LEARNED
Insight statements served as our anchor to ensure that our ideas and prototypes moving forward would be grounded in the real needs and findings that were uncovered during our Inspiration phase research. Furthermore, they helped us to articulate some of the key pain points that Eram’s target audience was facing each and every day so that we could be sure to solve for them. So for example, when our team was considering what the entry/exit point of the eToilet should look like, we incorporated our insight about the needs of women and built an L-shaped wall for privacy. Now, women have a place to retie their saris after exiting the eToilet and, more importantly, are provided a level of comfort and dignity that they didn’t have before. In the course of our design project, insight statements helped us to craft the most impactful opportunities for design when considering what elements of the eToilet’s experience needed to be redesigned.