Recognising exclusion is the first step to designing accessible products and services. Most products for disabilities (including assistive technologies) are designed with permanent disabilities in mind. However, temporary and situational exclusions (broken arm or pregnancy, for instance) limit our physical, motor, visual and hearing functions and make it difficult to use everyday objects. This contribution focus on a 5-day workshop experience developed at the University of Venice with Product and Communication Design students. The workshop started with a case study: the “ThisAbles” opensource project developed by Ikea for people with disabilities. Based on that, students worked to readjust existing furniture and object for changing needs, focusing on temporary and situational exclusion to rethink daily use products. The different steps of the design process are divided into: i) brainstorming to understand and classify the different types of exclusion ii) empathy exercises to empathise with the user iii) sketching and mockup iv) 3D modelling and 3D printing. The results are 3D printed and tested with the second phase of the empathy exercise and granted in opensource. This paper describes the specific activities, difficulties and results of each step. Designing for complex users with very different needs from designers can be difficult. Working on temporary and situational disabilities has been a strategy to bring young designers closer to the theme of disabilities. They chose familiar situations and empathised more with the user they designed for. So, this exercise can sensitise the designer to complex needs so that they can contribute to a more accessible world.

Empathy in the design process: a workshop experience on temporary and situational disabilities with design students

Frausin, Martina
2022-01-01

Abstract

Recognising exclusion is the first step to designing accessible products and services. Most products for disabilities (including assistive technologies) are designed with permanent disabilities in mind. However, temporary and situational exclusions (broken arm or pregnancy, for instance) limit our physical, motor, visual and hearing functions and make it difficult to use everyday objects. This contribution focus on a 5-day workshop experience developed at the University of Venice with Product and Communication Design students. The workshop started with a case study: the “ThisAbles” opensource project developed by Ikea for people with disabilities. Based on that, students worked to readjust existing furniture and object for changing needs, focusing on temporary and situational exclusion to rethink daily use products. The different steps of the design process are divided into: i) brainstorming to understand and classify the different types of exclusion ii) empathy exercises to empathise with the user iii) sketching and mockup iv) 3D modelling and 3D printing. The results are 3D printed and tested with the second phase of the empathy exercise and granted in opensource. This paper describes the specific activities, difficulties and results of each step. Designing for complex users with very different needs from designers can be difficult. Working on temporary and situational disabilities has been a strategy to bring young designers closer to the theme of disabilities. They chose familiar situations and empathised more with the user they designed for. So, this exercise can sensitise the designer to complex needs so that they can contribute to a more accessible world.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11578/317756
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