This week we concluded the generalized research phase and we required to decide on a focus for our final project. I decided to focus on designing devices for children that provide them empowerment through enabling education or by allowing them to contribute either to their family or the community.
Throughout these past few weeks, there have been multiple opportunities identified while sifting through all the information that was gathered. One of the largest user groups that presented a significant need for assistive devices are children with disabilities. Children with disabilities not only have to suffer through their condition with little understanding about it, but also at times feel isolated, neglected, and not valued because they can not contribute to their family or the community. Some opportunities include products that overcome road conditions for long distance travel to school, products that adapt to the changing sizes of growing children, and devices that assist in the child’s contribution at home or at school. Devices are also needed for the rehabilitation of conditions and not for permanent cases.
Below is my scenario board that was made for our final presentation that illustrates some of the opportunities/problems stated in the design brief. Although the illustrations demonstrate some of the problems that people with mobility problems would experience, the points surrounding them are generalized so that they can be applied to other kinds of disabilities.
Children have very unique requirements compared to adults. Products must adapt to the changing sizes of throughout the growing stages of children, or have a standardized size. The device needs to be easy to understand and easy to use in terms of the child’s strength based on their individual conditions.
Measuring the Success of Desirable Outcomes
There are various challenges that must be considered and to overcome for this project to achieve desirable outcomes. Design considerations include environmental conditions, cost, manufacturing methods and materials, and ergonomics. Durability of the products is essential due to harsh road conditions and lack of maintenance. Cost is also an important factor. Research has proven that there is link between poverty and disability. Therefore, the final product must cost as least as possible. The entire design must also utilize of local materials to generate income with in the population of the country and disregard any parts that depend on being imported by another country. Lastly, ergonomics is another concern especially when designing for people with disabilities. A successful outcome must accommodate the user’s certain condition/disease and not cause them strain or make the experience uncomfortable.
At the end of this week we were required to present a summary of the information that we discovered over these past few weeks, decide on a focus, and present it through a design brief and a scenario board. The presentation was successful and can be accessed below. It was a great experience coming together with my group members and exchanging information and ideas.
Next Weeks Goals
Now that I have decided a focus, I would like to gather more primary research to get a better understanding about my user and focus even more. Bjarki stressed during our presentation we should pick a particular person or persona and design specifically for them. Navine Parehk has identified some people in Uganda that are willing to do a Skype interview with me. This would be a fantastic opportunity, and I am going to try to see if I can come into contact with them sometime next week. Next Friday we also have to create a research report to explain in further detail the information presented.