Human Centered Design … What do Girls Want?
Rachel Starkey, Founder of Transformation Textiles and EvaWear
Are there any silver bullets to creating a reusable product that will accommodate the vast and changing needs of women? Throw on top of that harsh circumstances & challenges refugee girls and women may face, like too much water (monsoon and floods) water scarcity, lack of privacy or minimal safe storage?
The simple answer is when you can include choice, customizable absorbency, and size adjustability into your designs, you actually empower the end-user to create their own silver bullet.
The underlining principle that goes into the wide range of reusable products that EvaWear offers is this:
“Each woman is unique and deserves products that make her feel great and give confidence. Her needs change from one day to the next. Products should allow for individual customization for length, thickness & absorbency.”
As a reusable product designer, my personal challenge is to create things that any woman would want to wear regardless of any social economic status. So if the products that we create are so luxuriously soft and comfortable, that even a woman of strong economic means would choose them over other options … then it's worthy to offer the most resilient and special women of the world… our refugee sisters.
Involving refugee women from various harsh conditions, climates and cultures into our human centered design process has led to the following features:
· 2 Layer Rule: To accommodate water scarcity, the majority of our absorbent liner designs are only 2 layers thick. This allows water to reach all parts of the liner easily, for cleaning. A popular design is our 10” square cotton jersey. It can be quad-folded to give 8 layers of absorbent power, but when unfolded to wash or dry … it takes minimal time.
· Modular: To accommodate water scarcity and to cater to the varying absorbency needs experienced throughout a cycle, our leak-proof shields are separate components that work with our absorbent liners. If a women needs greater absorbency, she can add additional liners to the same leak-proof shield. Why wear extra bulk when your flow is light? But it is so reassuring to have that needed protection on heavy days. The modular design also allows a woman to change the liners as often as desired to remain “fresh & clean” throughout the day.
· Colorful: Many women prefer dark colors for liners and pretty patterns for the leak-proof shields. Perhaps outsiders may not think this is “critical” … but for women who have have lost or endured so much … a little bit of ‘under-cover’ beauty, brings a bit of brightness.
· Tie-on Adjustability: There is nothing worse than a pair of underwear that are too tight or too loose. The EVA Tie-on can accommodate a wide range of hip/waist sizes as the sides adjust to accommodate.
· No Shift Security: The most unique feature that we have developed with our users, is the security bands that rest with the crotch of our Tie-ons and on some of the leak-proof shield designs. This allows users the ability to use any clean absorbent cloth easily and with confidence, as it will not slip or flip out during even the most rigorous activities that may be faced in a day.
What do Girls & Women want? Well its complicated and there are many factors to consider, but with EVA they have the choice to make sanitary solutions exactly the way they want and have the ability to adjust as their needs change throughout any given cycle.