Toolkit Design for Sex Toys
A toolkit that provides designers with resources & guidelines that they would need to create functional, ergonomic, safe, and novel sex toys.
See Full Report
UX Research, Observation, Conceptulization, Probe Design, Workshop Facilitation, Interviews, Branding, Marketing, High Fidelty Mockups, User Testing
Tools & Timeline
Figma, Adobe InDesign & After Effects ; 6 months
The last decade has seen a rising interest in human sexuality giving birth to a global sexual revolution. The growth of the sex toy industry is one such change.
More designers are now moving towards this industry leading to the development of unique, functional, and accessible sex toys. But we have only touched the tip of the surface. Understanding and designing sex toys is an ongoing challenge mostly due to the lack of structure in this field. Designers lack the knowledge or resources required to start designing for the same by themselves.
Problem Area
Novice designers who are interested in this field often struggle to find resources and guidance to get started. 
Designing sex toys is a complex process that requires knowledge of human anatomy, ergonomics, materials, and safety regulations. 
Without a structured approach, they face challenges in creating functional, user-friendly, and innovative sex toys that meet the needs and preferences of diverse users. So how can we do this? How can we provide them guidance? 
To streamline the design process such that all resources needed for designing a sex toy can be accessed from a single location, thus making it easier for designers to bring their ideas to life.
Solution overview
Creating a toolkit to help novice designers create sex toys.
Product Type: A physical tangible prototype consisting of activity cards, exercise sheets and card decks.
Target Users: Individuals with a background in design and no prior knowledge of designing for sex toys
Strategy: Providing the resources in a physical box with tangible cards offers several advantages over a digital version when it comes to ideating through the process of creating sex toys. It creates a tangible experience for designers, while also providing them offline accessibility, making it easy to collaborate while sustaining cognitive engagement in a digitally overloaded world especially while creating a physical sex toy.
The toolkit comes packaged as a box with 4 components
  • Introductory Brochure: It gives an overview of what the user can expect from the toolkit, the process that would be followed by the user, materials that they would need and any other additional information.
  • Worksheets: There are 7 worksheets divided into 4 sections consisting of two parts: instructions (a short description, time needed, instructions resources needed, a rating scale), and the main activity.
  • Card Decks: The toolkit comprised of 5 card decks; (brainstorm cards consisting of user group and user emotions), (material, anatomy type & sex position cards) to be used in the Inspiration stage, and (value cards) to be used in the Ideation stage.
Identifying outcomes and impact
The toolkit was tested by conducting un-facilitated workshops in 2 sessions.
Felt that the toolkit provided sufficient information
Felt that the toolkit was easy to use
90 %
Felt that the templates were useful to create novel sex toys
To understand sexuality in HCI and how designers viewed sex toys & the role of probes and toolkits I conducted literature research
Sexuality, Sex toys and HCI: Designing for sex toys and sexual wellness include principles such as overcoming social taboos surrounding sex toys, addressing usability issues and allowing for multiple contexts of use.(Eaglin & Bardzell, 2011) Using these principles allows us to take a step towards designing for sexual wellness and sex toys.
Designers of sex toys: Unlike designing for other products, the design of sex toys involves designers critically immersing themselves in the 'emotion and pleasure' and using their tacit knowledge rather than seeking experiences from users to design the product. (Bardzell & Bardzell, 2011)
Probes & Toolkits: Based on current HCI toolkit research, they could be used to empower new audiences to build new interactive solutions and also make it easers for users to reduce the time taken to create concepts. (Ledo et al, 2018)
I conducted interviews with designers to learn about their perception of designing for sex toys and problems they face.
I wanted to understand if designers are conservative about sex tech and if there was any stigma involved, how they would think about designing for a sex toy. I also wanted to understand their opinion of designing in group and how we can support other designers in this field.
Participants with a background in design
Sex Toy designers
  • Industrial designers would be better participants.
  • Designing in groups help facilitate ideation w.r.t to sex toys.
  • Designers don't think about stigma when it comes to designing a product, but they have inhibition over the lack of knowledge in the domain.
Co-Design / Participatory Design for Research
Using Co-Design for research allowed me to give power back to designers and understand the exact type of resources that they needed directly from observing them.
Co-Design Workshop 1 & 2: The first workshop was conducted with 3 participants with one participant acting as both the note taker as well as design collaborator. The workshop was scheduled for 1 hour and 20 minutes, accounting for overlap. The second workshop was conducted with 4 participants in similar conditions.
Artifacts & Insights: Both groups filled out the completed worksheet and created their own personalized sex toys. I analyzed the worksheet to understand the type of resources that were needed in order for designers to create these sex toys without the help of a facilitator and the type of instructions that were needed to be given to participants
Probes & Toolkits: The main probe was a worksheet that would be self-explanatory which would require minimal guidance allowing the participants to be self-guided through the design process of creating a sex toy. Other probes included prompts which were open ended questions that would engage the participants in discussions, a set of basic male and female anatomy, basic materials, value cards segregated into four categories, build, look, feel and people.
User Testing
I tested the toolkit by conducting 3 un-facilitated workshops sessions. The goal of user testing was to test the efficiency of the toolkit
The efficiency was based on the following categories, namely;
  • Ease of Use:  To understand if the toolkit made it easy for designers to create sex toys. To determine of the process was intuitive and user friendly.
  • Uniqueness: To understand if the toolkit enabled designers to create unique and innovative sex toys.
  • Value: To understand if designers find the toolkit valuable in creating sex toys. Is it worth their time and effort to use the toolkit?
  • Design Quality: To understand if the materials provided in the toolkit met design standards in terms of quality, aesthetics, and functionality.
Testing Measures & Data Collection
The testing was done in two sessions and data was collected through unfacilitated workshops, feedback forms and post workshop interviews.

Feedback form: A visual feedback form allowed for immediate feedback from the participants. They were asked to circle areas and describe them.

Post Workshop Interview: This consisted of open ended questions and likert scale survey.

Session 1: Group of 3 designers ; Session 2: Individual Designer
S 1
P 1 | Male | 4+ y/o design
P 2 | Female | 2+ y/o design
P 3 | Male | 3+ y/o design
S 2
P 1 | Male | 3+ y/o design
  • Artifacts: The participants created a sex toy for long distance couples to incite excitement & a sex toy for people with erectile dysfunction to incite confidence
  • Observations: They required little to no help to use the toolkit. The group worked together but there was one person who took charge and facilitated the group and asked others for their opinion.
Future Steps and Reflection
This toolkit could also be used to:
  • Study sexual communication among couples who just started dating
  • Teach students about the design process and the various factors involved in creating safe, ergonomic, and functional sex toys.
Reflection and learning outcome
  • Conducting and facilitating workshops
  • Interviewing poeple about sensitive information and seeking data when it's not easily accessible.
  • Domain knowledge about the sex tech industry.