Maxi-Cosi Pria 70
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70
An elegant solution to a difficult design problem. The Multi-Cosi’s modular approach to a child’s growth supports a sustainable product cycle by reducing repeat purchases. – M Coleman Horn
It is difficult to innovate in such a heavily regulated category. Maxi-Cosi stood out as a well thought out solution. It meets the needs of a growing child with a sustainable solution. – Greg McNamara
The Maxi-Cosi conveys a sense of safety and comfort in a complete and well crafted package. – Chris Gadway
It was fantastic to see a very complete and professional process taking place within a corporate structure resulting in such a thoughtful, refined and tasteful product. – Michael DiTullo
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70
The Maxi-Cosi Pria70 is a child restraint system (car seat) for infants and toddlers (4lbs-70lbs). The seat can be positioned both rear facing for young children and forward facing for older children. The seat incorporates side impact protection with air cushion technology and features the Tiny Fit system, a specially designed removable insert for small children.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Maxi-Cosi is one of the most recognized juvenile car seat brands in Europe yet is virtually unknown in the US. The goal of this project was to design the first Maxi-Cosi convertible (meaning forward and rear facing) car seat to be released in the US. The design needed to leverage the established Maxi-Cosi brand language while appealing to the slightly different tastes of the American consumer. The product had to be easy to install and fit a variety of vehicle types safely. Maxi-Cosi is a premium brand so it was important to understand exactly who the target consumer was here in the US. What are their true wants and desires, not only in reference to juvenile products but in other parts of their lives? This project also emphasized a large range of human factors variables. Designing a car seat that works equally well for a 4 lbs infant to a 70 lbs child is no easy task. One of the most compelling parts of the solution is the Tiny Fit insert which looks like a seamless part of the seat architecture when installed and provides just the right amount of swaddling to nestle a baby safely and comfortably. Once the insert is removed, the seat looks just as good and doesn’t seem as though a component is missing.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
The design team has conducted extensive user research on car seats for the last few years. The team has installed every major brand and configuration of seat in every imaginable vehicle type from Mini Coopers to pickup trucks. Metrics from video timelines and detailed task analyses to user observations and informational interviews were employed in an effort to pinpoint problems and identify solutions. This exhaustive research effort is reflected in all of the seats that are currently in development and this is one of the first seats to incorporate many of the findings. Child restraint systems go through rigorous testing to assure their safety by the manufacturer and the federal government but it is often human error on the installation side that causes a seat to fail, with this in mind; the team began with the user (parent and child) and focused on ways to improve his/her interaction with the product.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
This project began with an overall review of current societal, economic and technological trends relevant to the target consumer. Fashion, styling and color trends were also investigated. The more affluent consumers aligned with this type of premium product tend to be early adopters that are more informed and willing to spend more for items that place safety as a top priority. This safety is not just measured by how well the product performs in the event of a crash but in the safety of the materials themselves, in that they are non-toxic and less likely to harm a child during prolonged everyday use. The trends that were identified were then verified by one-on-one qualitative interviews with parents in the target demographic. These interviews were conducted with parents in their homes using open ended questions that allowed the subjects to communicate answers in their own words. This type of research helped project insights about things such as color. Maxi Cosi employs a fairly bright color pallet on its European products but American consumers tend to be surprisingly more conservative, favoring colors that more closely match their car interiors.
In addition to the user interviews, select families were shadowed during a typical day trip (i.e. going to the grocery store) to fully understand real use case scenarios. In addition to these exercises, the design team also created detailed installation flow charts (task analysis) in order to quantify just how many steps are involved with a proper install (from removing the package, to installing the seat forward and reverse). Every decision point is an opportunity for human error, so finding ways to reduce the overall steps required reduces the chances of those errors. Another metric used to identify problems was video timelines. First time installers were filmed and timed in multiple cars using multiple product offerings in order to flag areas during an install that were difficult to understand or execute. These timed events were compared with certified installer installations and in many cases it took the certified installer considerably more time than expected. There is an assumption that a proper install should only take a few minutes, when in actuality in can take up to 20 minutes or more depending on the specific seat and vehicle.
Child comfort and fitment are also very important criteria for parents shopping for products like car seats, so it is imperative that the seat not only looks but acts the part. In order to assure that the seats truly fit the wide range of users (children), key milestone sizes (5, 50, 95th percentiles at infant, 1yr, 2yr, 8yr, 11yr) were identified and modeled in 3-D. These virtual mannequins could then be used as reference during the 3-D development process. Once all of this research was absorbed, the team had to create compelling design solutions that not only looked great but had to be easily manufactured. The team prototyped the final soft goods by hand and the pattern created was used for the final production.
The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 was named one of the top ten products of 2011 by Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine. The design has resonated well with consumers due to its simple design aesthetic and limited color pallet. Key features such as the tinyfit insert, no rethread adjustable harness and side impact protection combined with the inboard elastomeric cup holder, easily removable pad (for cleaning) and large belt path openings have helped make this product standout. Designing a product that saves lives and looks great is not easy, but totally worth it.