This project was done within 6 weeks at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
Designing a menstruation aid for visually impaired.

Women and people with cycles can face barriers to adequate healthcare, and having a disability can add another layer of difficulty. Some people with disabilities face challenges in managing their health. Disabled people who menstruate often encounter obstacles in accessing sufficient support and services, which can put them at risk for more health problems.

Research

The population of visual impairment in India is estimated at 62 million.
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#52.8%  of the visually impaired population are women.
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 #61.5% had knowledge of menstrual hygiene management.
 #52.9%  managed their menstrual hygiene dependently.
The above data is based on a descriptive study aimed to determine the menstrual hygiene management among visually impaired women conducted by Tuğba Dündar, Sevgi Ozsoy
Based on a survey which was conducted at the AKPG it was noticed that 84% of girls and women preferred using sanitary pads than the other menstruation aids. A criteria was then set to further understand the reasons behind the majority.
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2%

84%

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10%

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4%

Survey

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Cloth Pads
Tampons
Menstrual Cups
Sanitary Pads
Health and safety
Effectiveness
Comfort
Placement and Disposal
Cost
Eco-Friendly
-Washing
-Can't change when needed
-Not comfortable inserting something else in our bodies
-Washing
-Can't change when needed
-Not comfortable inserting something else in our bodies

The graph depicts the outcome of the survey done at AKPG, which was about understanding why Sanitary Pads are preferred over other mentruation aids. The factors which were taken into account to recognize the preferences were health and safety, Effectiveness, Comfort, Placement and Disposal, Cost and Eco-friendliness.

Interviews were conducted at Andha Kanya Prakash Gruha, (AKPG) Ahmedabad, Gujrat. The aim of the interviews was to find opportunities and understand the current scenario of menstruation.
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"Placing the sanitary pad on to the underwear is a very difficult process. It is difficult to recognise the front end and back end of the pad. When I need any aid, the warden helps me out but I am embarrassed to ask her to assist me with the placement issue."
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"This has caused leakage and stains. It is very humiliating especially in school hours. We don’t understand colour but because of the stains we usually only wear black clothes during periods. So even if it stains, it isn’t visible."

Interview

Task Analysis

One period cycle will last for 5 days approx.

i.e. 456-period cycles in a lifetime.


1 pad should be changed every  5 hrs

i.e.  5 pads per day

i.e. 25 pads per cycle

i.e.  11,400 pads in lifetime  

 

A single female in her lifetime uses approx. 11,400 pads and the female population of India according to 2001 census is 586,469,294 and only 10,472,665 females use pads, even then the amount of waste created is massive.

Pantyliner

Insights

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Opening the pack
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Identifying top and bottom
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Placing it 
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Leakage
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No instruction manual 
Not Eco-Friendly

Redefined Brief

Designing a sustainable menstruation aid inclusive of visually impaired 

Ideation

Barrier Sheet
SAP
Air laid Wood Pulp
Top Sheet
Requirements:
Absorb fluid Retain body fluids inside the pad Isolate wetness from skin
Material used:
Non-woven Polyproylene
Eco-friendly alternative:
Tencel,Organic Cotton, Non-Woven PLA
Requirements:
Prevent fluid from staining or leakage. Allow the moisture to pass through. Breathable but fluid impermeable.
Material used:
POLYETHYLENE
Eco-friendly alternative:
PLA   (polylactic acid)
PGA   poly(glycolic acid)
PCA   poly(e-caprolactone)
Requirements:
Absorb the fluid retain the fluid thin, soft and adaptable.
Material used:
Air laid wood pulp
Eco-friendly alternative:
Banana fibre, Jute fibre, Hemp, Coir pith, Bamboo

Material Study

Mockups

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User Testing

Handing Pantyliner

Customized pads were made for 10 users which included 7 visually impaired. Different sized pads with different form were made and given for user testing after sterlizing them. A feedback session was conducted and the insights were used to iterate further. Changes were suggested to work on the size of the smaller pad, another suggestion was segregating the pads on the basis of flow and the size.  6 out of 10 people found the placement to be easier because of the rolls. 

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 The pads are rolled so that they are easy to place, aslo when they are opened they aquire a semicircular form which is an advantage. there is an emboss designed at the point where wings start, so that the process is effortless. The shape of the pad was also redesigned considering the anthropometric data so that their is minimum leakage. It is tappering at the start so that it perfectly fits your body. Also, there is a instruction manual provided in English and Braille too so that the sighted as well as the visually impaired can access it.

Packaging

A basic box was utilized with the goal that it would be easy to perceive the entire product. The name Yami was picked as it implies your cherished sister.  The box was made from cardboard so that it would be easy to give instruction manual in braille. The sanitary pad refills were packed in cloth bags which could be later repurposed.

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