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We are shining a spotlight on our Raised Toilet Seat, because it is so representative of our vision for home healthcare; taking overlooked, mundane items and breathing new life into them. Designed in 2020 and launched in December of 2021, we sought to develop a raised toilet seat that addressed the needs and wants of all household members where a raised toilet seat was in use.
Where We Started: In Pursuit of Empathy
As with every project, when we started to design our Raised Toilet Seat, we asked ourselves what we could do to breathe relevancy into such an important, but often undesired product.
To answer that question, in this case, we embarked on a multistate, ethnographic research project focused on home healthcare, where we met with users of home healthcare products, family caregivers and professional clinicians. We wanted to understand the big issues and the little issues people who use durable medical equipment experience at home.
In the case of the raised toilet seat, we met many families who had one family member who actively needed a raised toilet seat, and the remaining family members who had to navigate it. By that we mean, since a raised toilet seat needs to be physically secured to the toilet, everyone had to use the raised seat, or cumbersomely remove it and reinstall it after each use, or a bathroom becomes relegated to the sole use of the person who needs the raised toilet seat.
We heard many complaints about how hard it is to connect and remove typical raised toilet seats, and mostly, we heard people simply say raised toilet seats are ugly, they look medical, they standout in a bathroom and send a message that a sick person lives here.
In the field observation 1
In the field observation 2
In the field observation 3
Early Ideation: Sketching Different Approaches
We knew this was a tremendous opportunity to leverage the power of design to transform product experiences. And of course, we started to sketch multiple ideas.
Conceptual sketch studies
Our Final Design
After a follow-up research project known as Consumer Preference Testing, where we showed potential consumers the ideation represented in the sketches above, we had clarity about what users would value. For our final design and based on the feedback we learned during the Consumer Preference Testing, we built off the early ideation to create a novel mechanism that would be simple to use, allowing for the fastest, easiest, and safest installation and removal, so everyone in a family could share a bathroom once again. Our Chief Design Officer, Rob Van Varick, is an avid woodworker, and was curiously inspired by the quick clamps in his woodshop.
He envisioned the connection that came to be, whereby, all a user needs to do is press the button above each clamp pad to reach its fully extended position. Place the raised seat on the rim of the toilet, press the clamps in until they are firmly held against the toilet. To remove, just press the buttons, the clamps disengage, and stand the raised seat vertically when not in use. So intuitively simple and addresses the needs of all members of the family, considering use on and off the toilet.
Our raised toilet seat is also designed with users and non-users in mind from an aesthetic perspective. People always feel the typical raised toilets seats makes the bathroom look like a healthcare facility. This is because of the blow molded polypropylene plastic that simply looks cheap and institutional. For the material look and feel of our seat, we were inspired by high-end Japanese toilets. To achieve that quality, we injection molded the seat to have crisp contour lines that enhanced the physical and visual comfort, with improved finishes and materials that integrate with the toilet and bathroom environment. At $69.99, the Michael Graves Design Raised Toilet Seat for CVS transforms a bathroom for the entire family, providing style, convenience and safety, and embodies our Delight For All mission.
Delight for All Enhancements