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About

AkzoNobel N.V.
Published:
Project - Assess the customer experience of painting the outside of a home. Design a new product to improve this experience.
Product /service - Compact, powered paint roller in a backpack.

Duration - 6 months
Team - Industrial designers, user researchers, mechanical engineers, electronic engineer, client.
Activities - Research, user journey mapping, story-boarding, industrial design sketching, 3D CAD and prototyping, user testing.
Deliverables - Manufacturing ready product and packaging designs, proof of concept prototypes, user testing results.
Outcome - Successful global launch for the Dulux Weathershield brand.
The Dulux PaintPod range are powered paint rollers that make painting your home 'easy, fast and clean.' Backpack Roller is a powered paint roller in a backpack, bringing the convenience and speed of PaintPod to the outside of the home.
Working as a team of industrial designers and mechanical engineers, we started with an ethnographic study, focusing on how consumers currently paint their homes, mapping the experience and identifying the main frustrations and in some cases, risks of injury. The main challenges were ergonomic - as consumers would often be working at the top of a ladder, our product needed to assist in painting whilst keeping hands free and maintaining a safe working environment. 
The brief suggested a powered paint roller the could be carried on the body, somehow. We dove straight into low tech prototypes to test this hypothesis, making basic prototypes from pumps and off-the-shelf backpack products and trying them out ourselves. By immersing ourselves in the user tasks, we gained a real appreciation for the difficulties with current equipment and this sparked many new design ideas.
Starting with functional, 3D printed working prototypes of the pump, we were able to begin testing early, providing the industrial designers with feedback on ergonomics. The plastic housings were designed to meet a range of criteria for robustness, ergonomic performance and visual design agreed with the client.
We built two rounds of user trials into the development programme. Customers used prototype products in a simulated home environment, allowing them to paint doors, walls and windows and climb ladders. Designers and engineers attended the sessions, which allowed us to apply metrics to each stage of the user experience and take feedback back into the design process.
The Dulux PaintPod range are powered paint rollers that make painting your home 'easy, fast and clean.' Backpack Roller is a powered paint roller in a backpack, bringing the convenience and speed of PaintPod to the outside of the home.

We started with an in-depth user study, focusing on how consumers currently paint their homes, and from this identified the key areas for improvement. The main challenges were ergonomic - as consumers would often we working at the top of a ladder, our product needed to assist in painting whilst keeping hands free and maintaining a safe working environment. By eliminating the need to take a tray of paint up the ladder and keeping hands free, Backpack Roller makes the task safer as well as quicker and cleaner. 
Starting with sketch concepts and mechanical prototypes, we then developed the product to manufacture, with regular consumer testing built into the work programme to ensure all the ergonomic challenges were met. The team and myself brought the powered paint roller, custom backpack and range of accompanying tools to production in just a few months from the initial client brief.