Personas and Role-Play Help Students (and Designers) Experiencing Reality
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: van Os, Gerard; van Beurden, Karin
Institution: Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Research Centre Design and Technology, The Netherlands
Section: Reflection on Teaching
Many experienced product designers will recognize this from their starting days in the design world: how to understand the people (e.g. users, customers), environment (e.g. professional, home, outdoors) and problems or needs one has to design for.
This paper explains how we teach design students the necessary awareness and skills to learn and experience reality on their own. The paper explains how we mimic the reality of product design and how qualitative research leads to output like personas and use scenarios. These tools exist for some time, but we made them more practical for both students and designers of products for caregivers in home situations. The paper also explains how a role-playing or experience tool, one of the results of the RAAK-MKB Ontwerpen voor Zorgverleners ("Design for caregivers") project, can be used by students to understand hands-on what it means to be a member of the target group. The tool can also be used by designers to explain to others in the product team the specifics of the target group.