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Anticipating Comfort

In all our online interactions, companies are analyzing how effective their software products are. Do website visitors enjoy the site/how to they get to what they want/is there a better way?

We need to add that kind of examination of user experience for medical seating. Mike and I run TSK Products with a focus and a guardrail that can be defined as Safety and Comfort. In our discussions with Angel Ness about medical seating products, we find ourselves asking deeper questions about medical seating than regarding foam design in the seat cushion or adding a USB port for phone draining its last 20% of battery power.

We've asked ourselves why chemotherapy recliners look like living room furniture or even spa chairs. We've conducted A/B Testing with recliners all over the country, sometimes with products in the prototype phase and others with mature products that are customized for a specific clinic. We have failed to understand how patients anticipate comfort during treatment. Our quest has been to ask, how can an environment be made to produce comfort? Even if the treatment is scary and the freedom that comes with treatment slowly evaporates our goal as stakeholders in the treatment process is to bring comfort and control back to the patient.

Over the next several months, we are going to ask questions of individuals who can influence comfort in patients. We'll start with Angel Ness who has been around medical seating for just shy of 20 years. We'll ask cancer center directors, cancer hospital operations managers, fabric experts and others: how can we help patients anticipate comfort when faced with the chemotherapy that will beat back cancerous growth.

Here's some of the topics we'll touch on:

  • Aesthetics (the meaning of form)

  • Historical precedent (examples from the past)

  • Principles of design (i.e., unity, harmony, hierarchy, spatial order)

  • Function and social use (ergonomics, comfort, proxemics)

  • Material (classification, characteristics, properties, availability, cost)

  • Environmental design matters (sustainability, renewable materials, off-gassing)

  • Surrounding context (the spatial setting for furniture)

Mike and I want to consider as many of the design aspects above in a free-flowing and sometimes related manner, while maintaining focus on matters that might help the clinical side of treatment help their patients. Over the coming months, we will be examining what all of us can do to help set expectations for patients so that the anticipate comfort, not discomfort, when entering a chemotherapy suite.

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