Design for Everyone - BuckleGuard
User study and product development with the Swedish position belt company CarEva to prevent seat belt unbuckling during car rides.
It was achieved through interviews and by observing the users. This resulted in BuckleGuard, which is a concept based on the “child proof” principle where the number of steps to unbuckle the seat belt increased.
We struggle with the ethical issue of making it impossible for the users to unlock themselves so we decided to just make it harder and take longer time for them to unlock themselves. The idea for BuckleGuard was to extend the unlocking sequence by increasing the steps in the process, based on the traditional childproof bottles.
Based on several evaluation methods we decided to go with this design with some few modifications from the sketches.
The model worked according to the plan and fitted a regular seat belt perfectly. The two-step sequence was easy to perform with a hand, or with only the thumb. The purpose with the product was to prevent the users from unlocking themselves during the car ride, and that worked especially well with our prototype. The intuitive feeling was trying to press the button downwards, which was not possible. A user who tries to open the belt in this way will fail and remain buckled. However, BuckleGuard was considered easy to use if you knew the two-step sequence.
First picture presenting the BuckleGurad in default mode, resting on the boarder of the cars seatbelt. To unlock the seatbelt the user simply presses in the red extended button to enable it to be pressed down. Last picture to the right shows the mode where the BuckleGurad hits the seatbelt's unlocking button and the seatbelt can be removed.