Design Research by Proxy: using Children as Researchers to gain Contextual Knowledge about User Experience

van Doorn, F., Stappers, P. J., Gielen, M.
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering

Presented at CHI 2013, Paris, 27-April - 2-May

This paper explores the use of participants as research collaborators in the domain of contextual user research. In participatory- and co-design, users participate increasingly early in the design process. When conducting user research in order to gain contextual knowledge about the lives, experiences and wishes of users, collaborators can be of help in setting up, conducting research and analyzing the data. A case study was conducted to investigate if and how children are able to perform as research collaborators. Children conducted interviews with other participants, and in doing increased their knowledge about people close to them, and about themselves. The gained insights were personal and the used personas proved to be a valuable tool. In the role of researcher, the children discovered similarities and differences between themselves and others. Besides gaining valuable insights from their participants, they accessed and shared their own experiences, so while listening to others, the children got sensitized themselves. In other words, the current study found that next to gathering more data, “super-sources” are created when children become research collaborators.


User Centered Design in Primary Schools: A Method to Develop Empathy with and Knowledge of the Needs of the Elderly

van Doorn, F., Klapwijk, R.
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering

Presented at DRS//Cumulus, Oslo, Norway, 14-17 May

Human-Centered Design is of growing importance for professional designers and in the past two decades a series of techniques for designers to develop understanding of and empathy with a diversity of users has been developed within this field. In the second half of the 20th century, intended users were involved late in the design process, i.e. during the testing of products or prototypes. More recently, the user is involved in the early phases, when the direction is set. Users have rich local contextual knowledge and can work together with professional designers. Although these techniques are now entering mainstream design education at the university level, they have not yet reached Design and Technology Education in primary and secondary schools. Teachers do not yet provide opportunities for pupils to conduct research to uncover the needs, wishes, and experiences of specific user groups.  However, this understanding of users belongs in D&T education, because artifacts have a dual nature: a physical and an intentional nature. In this paper we describe a Contextmapping method for pupils (aged 9-12 years) and illustrate this with a design project. The assignment for the pupils was to “design a playground in which children and elderly people are active together” in which the pupils developed an understanding of elderly people through Contextmapping.


Friends sharing Opinions: Users become Research Collaborators to Evaluate Design Concepts

van Doorn, F., Stappers, P. J., Gielen, M.
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering

Presented at IASDR 2013, Tokyo, Japan, 26-30 August

The role of users in design is diversifying and increasing. Besides product evaluations and idea-generation sessions, users can collaborate in research that aims to find requirements for design by acting as researchers themselves. Earlier studies have addressed a variety of reasons why giving users the role of co-researcher makes sense: users have easier access to the target group (of which they are an active part), speak the same language, or is a cost-efficient workforce. A previous study [2] explored the merits and constraints of using children as co-researchers in contextual user research, interviewing peers and family members. This current paper explores two follow-up questions: Can this method also be valuable for the evaluation of design concepts? What differs when other target groups than children become co-researchers? These questions are answered by describing a case in which children, elderly and students performed as co-researchers by interviewing their peers to evaluate design concepts. Comparing this case to the previous one reveals the differences in using co-researchers from different target groups and for different research purposes. We found out that the interfering factor of the co-researcher can have an enriching effect on the research findings.


Mapping children’s experiences: adapting context mapping tools to child participants

Gielen, M
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering

Presented at NORDES 2013, Copenhagen/Malmo, 9-12 June

Within the area of user-centered design, Contextmapping is an approach to participatory user experience research that provides designers and user researchers with a clear workflow and hands-on toolkit. It acknowledges the user as the expert of his or her own experiences and aims to deliver rich insights to designers: deep, authentic and inspiring views into the personal lives and experiences of prospective users. This approach is originally developed for use with adult participants. As it gets applied with child participants, some adaptations are necessary to meet children’s skills (both cognitively and socialemotionally) and motivations. We conducted a series of research projects on aspects of Contextmapping and design cases where Contextmapping has been applied in child-centered formats. Some barriers and enablers were identified with which the role of children as informants in a design process can be further enhanced.


Facilitating Design And Innovation Workshops Using The Value Design Canvas

Gultekin Atasoy, P., Bekker, M. M., Lu, Y., Brombacher, A.H., Eggen, J.H.
Eindhoven university of Technology

Presented at PIN-C 2013, Lahti, Finland, 18-20 June

Design and innovation workshops are common practices to match diverse stakeholders to initiate collaboration for innovation. Due to the complex and multi-faceted processes in such a collaboration workshop, not only the toolkits but also the facilitation of the process needs to be taken into account. This paper discusses the use of the Value Design Canvas, a paper-based tool that is designed to support multi-stakeholder co-design process in a design and innovation workshop. We evaluated the current version of the tool in a multi-stakeholder design and innovation workshop session with a special focus on the quality of the facilitation process. The findings are described by relating facilitator activities with implications for tool (re-)design.


Keep Moving, motivating teenage girls to be physically active

Willemsen, M., Bekker, M. M., Lu, Y.
Eindhoven University of Technology, Industrial Design

Presented at the 23rd TAFISA World Congress, 2013, Enschede, NL, 23-27 October

This paper shows the results and experiences while designing for a specific target group. In the design process sports and technology were combined, leading to an innovative concept.  The Interreg project Profit at the Technical University Eindhoven, focuses on how to keep teenagers and older adults physically active.The sub-project ‘Light run!‘ focuses on girls between 14 and 17 years. Nowadays teenagers show a lack of movement and sporting. The live of teenagers is changing dramatically around this age. They change school, get new friends and they are developing their own identity. Friends become really important for them and teenagers want to spend as much as possible time with their friends. As a result of their busy lives, sport is one of the first things that they stop doing. To get teenagers moving again a concept is created that combines sports and technology. Running is selected as (traditional) sport for several reasons (1) it is cheap, (2) you can run whenever you want (not a strict schedule), (3) each time you can run with a different amount op people, and (4) teenagers do like the easy running games during gymnastic lessons.  The basic properties of the sport are adjusted to the values of the girls, which resulted in de following game: Light run! The final game exists of three elements: (1) an app, (2) light pylons, and (3) a personal light stick. A scenario can be described as follows: One of the girls wants to sport and contact her friends to arrange a timeslot. When they come together, they place the pylons and take a personal light stick. After a training program is created, which exist of different games, the training can begin. For example one of the games has the goal to collect as many as possible of your personal color (the color of your light stick), you fulfill this goal by running to the different pylons and ‘take’ your color with your personal stick. In the end your personal performance is shown in the app.  The pylons can be rented at a public place. The platform can be made open source so people can add new games themselves. The app is also a tool to gather data.  Nowadays technology makes it possible to easily create platforms and communication systems. Through Light run!, this paper demonstrates that to combine innovation/technology with sports a new dimension can be added to a sports experience, which is visible in the large amount of opportunities. This dimension enriches the user experience.


Visual tracking of a GPS target

Foster, L., Heller, B., Goodwill, S., Curtis, D.
Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Sports Engineering Research

To be presented at ISEA 2014, Sheffield, UK, 14-17 July

The monitoring and videoing of a user’s movement within a “Fieldlab” recreational facility is required to study the effectiveness of innovative equipment designed to increase physical activity.
A low cost alternative to current tracking systems based around the Global positioning system (GPS) has been proposed for use within the Sheffield FieldLab. This low cost tracking system is based around a typical Android™ smart phone, which is used as a wearable tracking sensor. The system will be combined with a bespoke video surveillance system, which takes positional data and outputs appropriate camera parameters. In pilot work, participants’ GPS positional data was converted in real time to a pan tilt and zoom values. This allowed the targeted participant to be viewed in the centre of the video stream. Positional data was updated every second, allowing the camera to move and track the participant by keeping them at the centre of the video frame as they move about the site. The effectiveness of the system has been initially gauged and limitations noted. Other potential uses as well as enhancements to the system have also been commented on.