Bath Buddy. Observation - I observed Jessica and 14 month old, Tessa, during normal daily bath periods. Every action that took place before, during and after the bath was recorded. In order to fully understand the process I observed, I created a link analysis that basically concluded there was a lot of room for improvement. At this point I was eager to conduct more research and begin to design a product that would improve the overall bathing experience.
Bath Buddy. Research - Other research methods were employed to better understand the market and the consumer. An extensive product analysis identified current products and their flaws. Surveys and interviews revealed that the majority of parents find bathing a child to be an unpleasant experience. It was also learned what constituted successful child bathing methods and techniques. Once the research was compiled, a step by step illustration of what was considered to be a normal child bathing scenario was diagramed.
Bath Buddy. Sketching - Many new ideas were explored during the various phases of ideation. Bathroom space is generally limited, so folding or compacting were essential elements requiring focus. Also explored were the numerous limited positions available to the bather and the alternative limited uses of the product. The major goal for this product is to eliminate unnecessary actions while making the bathing experience more enjoyable, less time consuming and more productive. This design process lead to the Bath Buddy.
Bath Buddy. Model Testing - In addition to sketching, large and small models were built to test certain theories. When the design was in the final stages of development a functioning proto-type was built for testing. Again, Jessica and Tess were observed using the product. It appeared to be successful. Again, a link analysis was diagramed and superimposed over the previous drawing. It was rewarding to see how effective the product preformed in this situation. The bath time was shorter, more enjoyable and more productive.
Bath Buddy. Final Design - The Bath Buddy proved to be an original and effective product. This product allows for easier bathing. Instead of stressful kneeling or crouching, the bather is comfortably seated and angled over the tub for maximum reach and control. With such simple, accessible storage inside the Bath Buddy, no shampoo or soap is out of reach. When the bath is finished, the bather slightly lifts their weight and slides backwards to reveal a drying and dressing surface.
John Fenno
Product Designer at Nielsen Bainbridge Group Cincinnati, OH