Human Centered Design: Naya

Human Centered Design: Now Breast Pumps Benefit Mom as Much as Baby

  • Capabilities Used
  • Strategy
  • Industrial Design

Working with Altitude, the Silicon Valley startup Naya secured $4M in funding from investors to develop a breastfeeding pump that revolutionizes the experience for working moms through human centered design.

"Whether I had a good pumping day or bad pumping day, my supply is connected to my identity right now."

- Jenny, user in Rowan’s research

One mom described her pump as, "my worst enemy that feeds my greatest love."

“Supporting the key emotional drivers through innovative design and connecting the product to its real purpose—providing love and nourishment for a child—is critical to truly transforming the pump into something moms can love. The new design got the attention of investors and moved Naya forward into the marketable product it is today.”

- Cortney Rowan, Altitude

Uncovering Unmet Consumer Needs

As experienced technologists and strategists, Altitude’s Cortney Rowan and Cindy Weflen are well versed in uncovering unmet consumer needs and identifying opportunities to fill design gaps. As working moms, they are well versed in the dreaded experience of pumping. Inspired by these experiences and emerging “calls to action” from other new moms seeking a better pumping solution, they set out to discover how to improve the pumping experience. Through qualitative research with new moms, they collected emotionally rich stories and discovered the deep problems with current pumps.


They heard from numerous moms in their research that pumping is possibly the most “public private” experience one encounters in an office – and is typically demoralizing and dehumanizing. The telltale black bag, the time it takes to pump and the accompanying suction sounds, bring discomfort as well as feelings of shame. Moms worry they’ll be viewed as slackers receiving extra breaks and rush the process, making the pumping experience even less productive. To fix these problems, Altitude uncovered an opportunity to elevate the design of the breast pump by making it a more efficient and comfortable product that truly fit moms’ lifestyle.

At the same time, Janica Alvarez, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, reached many of the same conclusions through her own research and founded Naya to revolutionize the breast pump industry. After reading Rowan and Weflen’s article, a partnership quickly followed. Naya hired Altitude to design its groundbreaking new breast pump.


How This is Different

Naya’s Smart Pump incorporates patented HydroComfort Technology™ that delivers unmatched comfort, better performance and a much quieter pumping session. It also offers smart features for today’s tech savvy Mom.


Altitude’s mission was to turn this technology into a lifestyle product that moms would be proud to carry.  To make the pump more fashion item than medical product, we looked to premium designer handbags for inspiration. And to make it more user-friendly, we made cleaning easier and designed it for maximum portability.

The Outlook

Naya’s Smart Pump is a self-contained system small enough to be easily carried, stylish enough to fit moms’ lifestyle, and quiet enough to ease a working mom’s concerns about pumping at work. It is well on its way to disrupting the breast pump industry. Partnering closely with Naya, Altitude’s human centered design helped the company raise the capital necessary to bring this groundbreaking product to market, providing new moms with a truly improved pumping experience.