To a person with a hammer everything looks like a nail, and to product designers, every solution seems to require designing a new product.
With COVID having placed the act of sanitizing one’s hands front and center, UK-based design/innovation firm Echo reckons that “the future of hand sanitising demands a radical overhaul. What role can design play in driving positive behavioural change around hand hygiene?”
Thus they’ve sent us three conceptual designs for standalone products that address hand sanitization. I’m critical of all three, but would like to hear some feedback from the readers if I’ve missed the mark.
The first concept:
Purgo, “a cocoon-shaped device that emits sanitising mist in public spaces:”
This is a cocoon-shaped sanitation system that intrigues passers-by through emitting soft, refreshing light and soothing sounds. Once in use, the embedded sensors generate bespoke sanitising liquid for the individual which is diffused as a powerful and fragrant mist. The Purgo’s pulsing ring of light and melodic sounds act as a subtle timer, nudging people to continue the cleansing process for 20 seconds. The design leverages the cognitive bias towards social norms – by installing the basins in shared spaces, such as offices and train stations, new habits can be seeded, making hand sanitisation appear commonplace and socially expected.
My problem with Purgo isn’t with the concept, it’s with the physical execution. First off, why are there two openings? If I’m sanitizing my hands by sticking them in this thing, I don’t want to do it at the same time someone’s coming in from the other side.
Secondly, the apertures seem too small to me. Again, if sanitization is the name of the game, I don’t want to touch the sides of this thing on the way in or out.
Thirdly, the inverted application just seems dumb to me. Particularly when viewed alongside the illustration: As you can see, the apertures are now on the bottom of the unit, which would be invisible from the user’s sightline. So they’d either have to crouch to see where to stick their hands in, or go in blind and touch the outside of the form, which seems to defeat the purpose.
Fourthly, how do you reload this thing?
The second concept: