Zach Hastings set out to research the habits of personal grooming. After a week of looking and listening he discovered that a device used by millions of women everyday was in serious need of an overhaul. Zach didn't begin and end his research process with observation. He took it a step further and studied how the device is used, he read consumer report articles, customer reviews on Amazon, and also looked into injuries related to the use of this device. Zach was the customer’s greatest advocate and because it was within his ability to develop lasting changes, he did his best to leave no stone unturned. Zach's next step was to story board the functionality issues that are inherent in the device to ensure that he stayed the course during the design process. Storage, ergonomics, and safety are amongst the issues Zach discovered during his research.Beginning with safety, Zach discovered that most heating irons had a small rounded tip which left little consideration for the users fingers possibly leading to light or severe burns. Another element related to safety, for both the person who is using the device and the home and building they are in, was the stand. The stand, more often than not, is a thin piece of bent metal that mounts to the base of the heating element. Thereby absorbing the heat form the iron and possibly leading to accidental fires or burns. The mounting location for the stand is also traditionally used as the rotation point for the tong that clasps the hair. As a result the rotation point is also a tangling point for hair. Another overlooked element of the device is the power cord. Zach's research uncovered that the power cord was commonly wrapped around the device itself or tangled around other items when stored in drawers or in cabinets. The last feature we will discuss is the dial for controlling the intensity of heat the iron creates. Zach discovered during user interviews that no tactile or audible feedback was evident which would indicate if the temperature had been changed.
Zach then made a series of foam study models to support his concept ideas and to ensure that they worked ergonomically and from a functionality standpoint. This crucial step is vital to ensuring that his drawings hadn’t led him astray. This will also allow him to gain confidence in his functional design solutions. As his client will certainly to ask him questions relating to the functional characteristics of his design decisions.Zach’s design solutions include the addition of a base station. The base’s primary function is for storing the power cord there by reducing visual clutter and making use safer and more enjoyable. The curling iron which in the past has been relegated to live under the cabinet or in a drawer can now be proudly displayed on the bathroom counter for easy use. Or if they prefer to keep the device out of sight they can connect the iron to the base and place them in a drawer where they are no longer tying up the other items. The end cap has a radial taper which allows for easy nesting into the base and conveys a safe touch point. The hinge point for the tong lever has shifted to an inbound element. This subtle change greatly reduces if not eliminates tangles and burns. The barrel is now ceramic coated which reduces tacking and discoloration. The controls have been simplified into buttons that can provide audible feedback to indicate a change in temperature has been made.Overall Zach has developed a feature rich solution that has not complicated the process users are accustomed to, he has enhanced it. By reducing the stresses related to using a curling iron Zach has allowed the user to focus how their hair looks and not worry as much about accidentally burning their skin and in turn damaging their hair. Not to mention making life easier on us guys when we are sorting through the tangled web that is our bathroom drawer!