top of page



2020 Product Design Finalist

Cocoon is a portable private workspace where users can enter its soundproof walls and shut the noise and lights of the office out while maintaining their productivity and drive. Combined with its corresponding desktop app, Cocoon tracks users’ usage and environment preferences to create significant insights for users’ usage patterns and understanding of their migraine preferences.


Human Factors

IACT 375 Spring 2020


9 Weeks

MAR 2020 - MAY 2020


Natalia McElrath

Jasmine Attanasio

Eduardo Alfonso

Max Poliseno


Research Lead

Product Ideation

Copy Writer UI Designer


The Problem


Chronic migraines affect over 12 percent of the US population and 90% cannot work or function properly during a migraine episode.

This project was an 9-week team project for a Human Factors course at SCAD. During our research, we found that chronic migraines is the 6th most disabling illness in the world and 90% of sufferers cannot function normally during a migraine episode. Therefore, we focused our design on creating a solution for working migraine sufferers that allows them to continue their daily lives in comfort.

The Problem

Migraine Data


of participants experience extreme sensitivity to light and sound during a migraine.

For two weeks our group gathered data from sufferers of migraines ages 18 to 60 to gain a better understanding on the affects of migraines on participants and what their greatest obstacles were.


of participants experience 1 to 5 migraines a month.


of participants have inhibited motor functions during a migraine.



After we gathered our data, we created four separate personas to represent our different customer segments. Our segments are split into four criteria: Daily vs Infrequent migraines, and Willing vs Unable to work. With these personas, we were able to narrow our design focus.


I know my limit and energy capacity, which allows me to continue on with my daily functions at work, even if there’s a limit to how much screen time or noise I can handle. If I miss out on work every time I had a migraine, I might as well be unemployed.





- Daily migraines of high intensity.

- Experienced with her migraines so tends to fight through them.

- Works despite migraine but causes great fatigue.

Ursula is a defense lawyer in the city. She is married with three kids, all in college, and has had migraines since she was 11.

Daily Migraines | Willing to Work

Construction manager

Why We're Great >


I'm not used to my migraines but I know I can’t miss work. Despite the pain I just pull through it and try to continue with my day. Once I gets home I'm fully drained. 





- Infrequent but intense migraines

- Unable to work while experiencing a migraine.

- Has no warning for upcoming migraine.

Pat is a construction worker in the city, his migraines started when he was 15 but he still hasn't found a routine to help him. He tends to miss work when he experiences a migraine.

Infrequent Migraines | Willing to Work


Why We're Great >


Though my migraines come more frequently now, I still can’t find the energy to teach choir, which will make my migraine even worse. Once my migraine hits, I call in sick and shut myself in till the migraine goes away.





- Migraine intensity keeps her from teaching.

-Has not found methods to cope.

Susan is a choir teacher at a local high school and has started having migraines in college. They have become more and more frequent the older she gets.

Daily Migraines | Unable to Work


Why We're Great >


I don't know what triggers my migraines, I've only had a few so far. All I know is that I end up skipping class and constantly have to play catch up. I'm worried I'm going to fail.





-Skipping classes can cause him to fail.

- Never prepared for a migraine, they come unexpectedly.

Paul never had migraines till he reached college. He's not sure what triggers them and is never prepared when they start. 

Infrequent Migraines | Unable to Work

The Process

From our data, we gained understanding of what our users wanted while experiencing a migraine.

- Understanding in the workplace

- an isolated place to relax and care for migraine symptoms without making them worse

-Maintain productivity at work despite migraine.

From these design criteria we decided to focus on a workplace based product, users like Ursula, that would enable users to maintain productivity while caring for their migraine. 

Final Product
executive summary (1).png



Customizable Lighting

To help with sensitivity, Cocoon enables users to adjust light brightness to their needs. An additional green light option is offered to help lessen migraine pain.


Adjustable desk

Maintaining blood flow, posture, and comfort is important for anyone at work, mostly when trying to find comfort during a migraine. An adjustable desk helps users continue to customize their environment to their needs.


air flow 

Some users prefer cooling sensations during a migraine. Controlling the airflow strength allows users to control their temperature and environment to their comfort level.


Corresponding Interface

Users are able to track their Cocoon usage and preferences to monitor their migraines, make reservations of a Cocoon, and customize their Cocoon settings to fit their migraine needs.


What I Learned


Overcoming barriers is exciting

Due to COVID-19, my team and I had to meet virtually through the span of 9 weeks, and throughout the interview and user testing process we experimented with various methods of testing to gather substantial results. Despite this barrier of virtual meeting, my team worked tirelessly to understand our users and their needs and develop a strong bond with one another as we worked towards a common goal. 


Unique users means unique solutions

Migraines are a very individualistic neurological disease that affects each user differently. Unlike other disabilities which tend to either be outwardly seen or more spoken about, migraines are still a very minimally researched disease that many people tend to misunderstand. Due to this, our users requested we help create workplace understanding while allowing them to care for their migraine in peace and privacy. These design criteria enabled us to create a private workspace that adjusts itself to the user that can help create a norm in the workplace for needed isolation and mental health self-care.



Cocoon contains a corresponding interface that allows users to reserve Cocoons, check their personal logs, and change their Cocoon environment virtually. 

bottom of page