Caroline Smeenk

Caroline Smeenk

Caroline Smeenk on designing products to help pregnant women who can’t access hospitals

Caroline Smeenk is a user experience researcher who recently graduated from the Carleton University School of Industrial Design. Her bachelor thesis project, a system to aid in the home monitoring of the symptoms of preeclampsia, highlights the balance of research, experience, and design that drive her process.  She will be presenting her project, Maternal Home Care, which looks at making home care for low-income pregnant women less intrusive.

Project: Maternal home care

Though Caroline Smeenk completed her Carleton University studies in user experience design, her thesis project was more an exploration of user experience research, and the final product demonstrates how vital this process is.

After becoming aware of the dangers of preeclampsia – a complication in pregnancy that is the third biggest killer of women globally – Caroline approached the problem as an empathetic researcher first.

This included simulating the experience of pregnancy and the necessary monitoring that goes along with it, which provided her with insights to create her final products. Among them is an app and an ergonomically designed blood pressure monitor.

The project in its entirety demonstrates the power of empathy in the design process, and the value of this process itself.

Credits: Design Indaba