- Role: Co-founder in a 3 person team wearing the hats of User researcher, Product designer, Brand developer & Business operations role
- Duration: 4 months
In recent years, napping has become increasingly popular. Research has pointed out its productivity and health benefits and companies are jumping in to encourage naps in the workplace. The negative stigma long associated with napping is slowly being redefined, and society is now more open than ever to casual naps, even in public spaces.
As designers ourselves, we often find ourself pulling all-nighters at the studio. This was also a problem space that we were motivated to work on not just for today’s society, but also for ourselves.
Our team spent two weeks observing where and how people take casual naps.
Without a dedicated space to lie down, nappers resort to dozing off while seated — from subways to office desks. As observed, this can leads to bad posture because of the lack of proper head support.
To prevent these pain points, users have an abundance of options in the extremely crowded travel pillow market. We read through uncountable Amazon reviews and conducted usability testing with selected models.
We found that users deemed comfort as number one priority. They define a comfortable pillow to be one that has good support, employs soft material and is compatible with multiple sleeping positions.
We then mapped the Competitive landscape according to level of comfort
However, we realised that users were only using these pillows when travelling on long-distance plane flights or train rides, and not in everyday situations.
We interviewed more of these casual nappers to uncover what the perfect pillow meant.
- Convenience is king. Some users utilise objects already on them (sweater, laptop sleeve, backpack) as substitutes. Users expect a pillow that is portable enough to be brought along with their everyday carry.
- Convenience and comfort need to go together. These two features are typically mutually exclusive, with the exception of inflatable pillows. However, inflatables bring additional problems such as slow inflation, dirty mouth valves, and squeaky noises. Users expect the convenience and comfort of an inflatable pillow, without the negatives.
- Nothing screams “tourist” like a travel pillow. They stick out like a sore thumb with their odd shaped bulk and eye-catching colours. Users expect an lifestyle product that blends with their aspirations.
Introducing Aubergine Pillow
On 1st of November 2016, we launched the Aubergine Pillow on Kickstarter. In less than 4 hours, the project was fully funded. One month later, the campaign ended, reaching 450% of its funding goal with 486 orders.
1. How might we design a pillow that is comfortable, convenient and aspirational?
We quickly translated our ideas into experiencable prototypes for discussion. With each iteration, we quickly gathered feedback fast and cheap by conducting usability testing with casual nappers.
2. How might we ensure that it is feasible for mass manufacturing?
The materials and manufacturing processes were chosen by working extensively with our overseas supplier. We not only wanted to ensure that it is feasible, but that it is also affordable without compromising on user experience or product quality.
3. How might we create an iconic brand identity?
We explored a wide range of concepts across multiple touchpoints such as logo, video script and tone of voice. The goal was to create a memorable branding that stood out in a crowded Kickstarter market, while refined enough to establish trust as a first-time creator.