Doing It In the Dark

Yes, I’ve been on hiatus.  I was working on a high quality deliverable for most of last year.  It is going to change the world.  And now that it is complete, I can tell you what I have learned.

What is it?!?!

A Baby.

I was newly pregnant when I gave my talk at the IA Summit last year and the cool thing is that I couldn’t tell the difference between nervous excitement and morning sickness.  It also meant I was in bed by 8 every night and I missed most of the fun stuff.  Making little eye lashes and fingernails is tiring!

This baby has reminded me of the importance of knowing your audience and how a solid set of design principles can make or break a product.

Two design principles that seem to be missing from some baby products:

  • You can use it in the dark.
  • You don’t need sleep to figure it out.

All new parents can attest that sleep is a stretch goal in the early months.  So why don’t baby product designers take that into account?

Here’s my 2 AM reality:

Piercing scream erupts from our new poop machine (a.k.a. The Baby).

Mommy groans thinking, “Already?”

(Daddy continues snoring.)

Mommy trips over junk on the floor while walking to bassinet.

Mommy uses hands to search for the mute button (a.k.a. The Pacifier).

(Daddy continues snoring.)

Mommy changes diaper while baby continues to scream.

(Daddy continues snoring.)

Mommy feeds baby.

(Daddy continues snoring.)

Mommy puts baby back to bed 30 minutes later.


Within that scenario did you read turn on light?  Nope.  Here’s how better design could improve my reality:

Finding the mute button.  Pacifiers must be related to socks because they always seem to go missing. The Phillips AVENT Night Time pacifier is the only one I’ve found with a glow-in-the-dark ring on it. It works but only for a short time (like 10 to 15 minutes after being exposed to direct light).

Changing the diaper.  The 2 AM diaper change could be an Olympic sport.  And not just because you’re struggling to avoid getting peed on (or worse) while being half asleep.  No, it’s because you’re wrestling a squirming baby with super human strength in and out of those snap-up pajamas.  I always end up being one snap off and having to start over.

Smart designers who use the “Y” snap pattern know to use two different sizes of snaps.  The ones down the center should be larger or smaller than ones used down each leg.

Even smarter designers have abandoned the “Y” snap pattern and turned to zippers or a single line of snaps.

Nursing the baby.  Falling into the category of TMI, there’s the world of nursing pads.  There are zillions of brands out there.  I’m here to tell you Ameda is not the one to buy.  Touting that they are more absorbent with a unique triangular shape the Ameda Noshow Premimum Disposable Nursing Pads have missed the mark.  The texture on both sides feels almost the same.  And unlike aluminum foil where there isn’t a wrong side, there IS a wrong side to nursing pads and it can have embarrassing consequences.

So what else could make my 2 AM reality better?  Kicking Daddy and telling him to give the baby a bottle… 🙂

P.S. My husband is the best. I wouldn’t be a good Mom without him. He helps me endlessly but also has the amazing gift of sleeping through almost anything!

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