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Field Research + Co-Creation for In-Home Medical Devices


How can an in-home medical device fit seamlessly into someone’s (very) personal space?


I conducted fieldwork to help the Native design research team determine product requirements for a potentially unwieldy in-home medical device. Equipped with measuring tape and a large mock-up of what that device might look like, I visited 10 homes across the NY tri-state area to interview users and document their bathrooms, leading in-context interviews and co-creation exercises to provide designers with user feedback.

My Role

Basically I hauled a giant box around New York and New Jersey and interviewed people in their bathrooms.


I completed fieldwork individually, reporting to a Lead Design Strategist and Business Operations Analyst.

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Design Research

User Interviews

I spoke with users about their home, it’s history, and their household background. They shared technical details, such as layout and construction history, before we jumped into personal and often amusing conversations about their relationship with their bathroom.

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The prototype in a participant's bathroom.

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Same box, different bathroom.

Co-Creation Exercise

After the interview, I introduced the prototype and asked participants how they would feel if it lived inside their home. Specifically, their bathroom or bedroom.

I then prompted them to move the box around the space, and consider what it would mean for them to live alongside it. I observed an array of ideas, feelings, and reactions about the product, their ideal interaction with it, and what they would need in order to make it work for them.

In general, the thought of having the box in their home provoked an immediate rebuttal, followed by a soft concession, considering its medical necessity. If they had to have it, then they would make it work. This lead to some creative thoughts on compromise. (Perhaps you could turn it on its side? Mount it to the wall? I mean it sounds crazy: but what if it hung from the ceiling?)

“What, that thing? In my bathroom? It’s awfully big, isn’t it? … did you have to carry that thing on the subway?”


I provided the design team with interview output: audio, video, and photos of the bathroom/bedroom areas; as well as detailed floorplans, which I sketched while taking measurements in the homes, and then digitized in Adobe Illustrator as a finished product.

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On-site sketches were eventually turned into vector files.


The participants I worked with weren’t users of the actual product, they were users of their own bathrooms. Whether I was simply observing, or we were working together to shift furniture and find ideal arrangements, a shared sense of empathy emerged. This product could be a meaningful solution to an uncomfortable problem, and together we had the best interests of the end user in mind. Observing participants interact with prototypes in their own space is fascinating. Collaborating closely with them to tackle problems, although not always possible, is certainly essential to incorporating unique and diverse perspectives.