In my second year at the faculty of Industrial Design I was tasked with conducting a design research project. The topic of research would become child insomnia and the use of sleep diaries to aid in diagnosing insomnia in children.
Guided by our coach, we focused on sleep diaries for children. Today, sleeping diaries of children aged 4 – 6 are mostly filled in by their parents. This makes the probability of inaccurate data quite large, because the child is only minimally involved.
Our research consisted of a booklet with assignments based on storytelling, which we sent out to parents with young children. The children used stickers to express themselves, and this was tied back to their sleepiness with the use of a smiley scale. We then analysed the returned data on different factors, such as the use of the scale, time of day, gender and age differences. In the end we concluded that children were aware of sleep and sleepiness, and expressed this quite coherently using the stickers.
We concluded our research by creating an informed design in the form of a plush that guides the children in storytelling about their sleep context as well as emotions. A companion application involves them using animation, and informs doctor or parent where appropriate.