How to look at vulnerability? How to interact with the so called vulnerable groups while designing? These are difficult questions. Prof. Ive Marx, various researchers at Thomas More and representatives of Fevlado (assisted by 2 Flemish Sign Language interpreters), ALS Liga, Spond vzw, Federatie Basiseducatie and Vlaams Patiëntenplatform (all advocacy organisations) really gave revealing answers.
In making the connection with the end user for technology, good communication skills are crucial. We did not only learn about the theory of verbal and non-verbal communication, the curse of knowledge and dialoguing (active listening and skilful questioning), but also put the theory into practise via exercises. We reflected upon how (in our project work) we could really make the connection with our end users and lead groups in co-creation.
Week 2 - Community Service Engineering - User Centred Design is a basic topic for the course. User Centred Design involves the end user while designing. All assignments in CSE have the User Centred Design cycle as a basis. Methods for human centred design (Maguire) were explained. We visited LiCalab, the Living & Care lab that has a real-life test invironment. We learned about of potential technology for the sector at Mobilab. Participatory Design is one step beyond 'User Centred Design'. 'Participatory Design' is the design philophy that puts the end user in an equal position as the designer. And of course we also touched the topic of Universal Design (Design for all).
Week 1 – Community Service Engineering, what did we do? Well, we played boccia, a Paralympic discipline, coached by the experts of Sint-Lodewijk; we listened to many inspiring technological proposals in the CSE context and we experienced firsthand the enormous challenges in elderly care in Dijlehof and De Wingerd.