After Ideate and Mid-Semester Review, we had one big, general idea of how to improve access to menstrual products at Rice. Our idea revolves around the concept of a “period pack”, which incorporates multiple products bundled together to eliminate concern over taking more than one. Although we had a basis for our solution, we still needed to work out the details. Which location on-campus is private, yet centrally located for all users to access? How many products should be in each pack? Maybe the “packs” are not pre-built, but customizable instead. How do we regulate the amount of products taken by users, as to not add additional financial burden to the stakeholder?
We aimed to address all these questions by assembling different quality prototypes of our solution. A low fidelity prototype is made of easily accessible, cheap materials. The goal of “lo-fi” prototyping is to rapidly produce and test different aspects of the solution. We made several lo-fi prototypes of menstrual products so we could test different ways of bundling them together. Which method is easiest to assemble? How will a user feel holding the product? Is it discreet enough to carry, as some users mentioned in our survey? Our lo-fi prototypes allowed us to answer these questions quickly before we built a bigger, more advanced prototype of our solution.
Our first iteration of prototypes began with the idea of bundling products themselves. We used large straws to symbolize tampons and stacks of construction paper to represent pads. These bundles were smaller than we expected and incredibly easy to assemble. They also allow users to choose which product they prefer, whereas our second prototype does not give users this choice. However, we were impressed with this prototype’s compactness – we were able to fit many different sized “products” inside!
We used these insights we gathered from lo-fi prototyping as we built a “product station” for actual menstrual products. This station incorporates the “pack” idea in customizable form – bags are provided to users with several loose products. The station also includes bundles of products alongside single-item products (the current solution). We plan to test this station at Open Studio on Saturday to observe which option users initially gravitate to. We also plan to leave the “stations” somewhere on-campus at Rice and count how many products in each option are left after a certain period of time. From these tests with our medium-fidelity prototype, we can decide which option users like best as we move toward our final solution!