Low Floors: It's easy to enter the room
High Ceilings: There is room for complexity
Wide Walls: There is room for everyone, and there are many points of access
1. Is it easy to enter the room?
2. Is there room for complexity?
3. Is there room for everyone, and are there many points of access?
Know that there is no such thing as a universal design, try as we might to achieve such a thing. By asking themselves these questions, designers should be aware not only of how their designs can enable, but also how they can disable.
*big thanks to Eric Rosenbaum (co-creator of the MaKey MaKey) for giving me a crash course on the Room Metaphor for design.
The reason Part I & II of this workshop series starts with the MaKey MaKey is to get learners comfortable with the device itself. In the process of doing so—in a constructionist way of trying out different conductive materials to test functionality—we may call upon experiences (which involve observation) and these can lead to ideas to prototype. While it really depends on the group of learners, in my experience this initial phase of discovery and playing usually runs its course after 1 to 2 hours. There are some learners (such as myself) that are quite content to continue on in this way, but in my experience many learners eventually hit a point where the novelty wears off and disengagement starts to set in. This is actually a good thing. As wonderful as the MaKey MaKey is, we don't really want the workshop to be about it because it is simply a conduit to helping us design new instruments.
Enter Norman's iterative design cycle. We can see that human-centered design ought to start with observing (which includes dialoguing with) people to identify their abilities and needs. From there we develop ideas to meet these abilities and needs and build prototypes of these ideas to be tested by the very people we design for. As Norman says, repeat this cycle until satisfied. Ideally, we can go out into our respective communities and do just that. But what if we can't for whatever reason? What else can we do?
1. Population (the most important in human-centered design)
I differentiate the categories using different colored recipe cards, but sticky notes work really well too.
The picture below shows some of the ideas I've used (and not all of them could fit in the frame), but please add more and tell me so I can use them!
You can add the cards together within categories and across. Typically the more cards, the more constraints there are to consider. So, for example you could select the cards Wheelchair + Playground + Rolling + Squishy. That's a tall order, but it can be done! What might an instrument be like played by someone in a wheelchair at a playground that involves a rolling motion to play something squishy? There are lots of right answers to this question.