Design Research Studio
Collaborator: Ian Shei
This is a process documentation of senior design research studio, which focuses on rethinking accessibility design in healthcare through design research and hybrid environment design.
Preliminary Case Study
1. This Ables (IKEA Israel)
Hospitals have been good at providing patients a sense of privacy. However, along with privacy comes with a sense of isolation. The feeling of not being understood, the feeling of being taken away from the familiar person/environment, the feeling of fighting with the disease all alone. There are lots of moments in a patient’s experience in hospital can potentially fall into the black hole of sense of isolation, whether mentally or physically, especially for vision-impaired and physically impaired patients.
Notes from Catherine Getchell’s Talk
Catherine’s detailed and candid talk about her experience as a person with blindness was a really valuable experience for me to demystify some common misconceptions about the blind community. Her talk reveals a great paradox about our assumptions over the blind community. On one hand, we underestimate the amount of conscious/unconscious(blind) discrimination that she faces in her daily life since even a simple task for us like filling the forms can already cause her so much troubles; however, on the other hand, we overestimate her disability and assume that people with blindness cannot communicate normally with other people. This paradox makes me reflect on the scope and intention of our project. Just like Catherine emphasized that interviews with people with disability is a must because there is no way we can truly relate, we should allocate more efforts to really understand the community of disability so that we don’t design things based on our assumptions. Since design researches before mostly focuses on creative research methodology, her talk is a good reminder that design research should at least make sure that it truly reflects the need of the disabled community. (9/16/2020)
How Might We?
- how might we redesign the exam room to keep the blind patients accompanied?
- how might we reconfigure the exam room environment so that doctors can easily grasp the mental states of patients
- how might we create a community for patients to encourage each other?
Notes from Ashli Molinero’s Talk
Ashli Molinero, who is the Director of Disabilities Resource Center for UPMC had a talk with our class about the resource center available to UPMC and shared some of her own experience as a person with disability herself. Her encounter at an outdated medical facility stuck me the most, especially when she described how even the bathroom, the most common facilities in the building, cannot even meet the basic medical standard, no matter how small her wheelchair already is.
It is very heartbreaking that both of the speakers, Ashli and Catherine, spoke a lot about their frustrating experiences in service/infrastructure inaccessibility, which is something that I cannot truly empathize with since I am not experiencing the same thing as they do (probably except for that one time that I can’t find a women’s bathroom in Porter because the space is designed with the assumption that most engineering students will be male). Therefore, it presents a huge challenge for us designers to think about how can what we design truly reflect what the users need. Wouldn’t it makes more sense if its a designer who experience the same disability that design the accessible environment/product? (9/21/2020)
Notes from Rachel Delphia’s Talk
I am glad that Rachel Delphia, the curator of CMOA Access+Ability exhibition provides us a design perspective on the topic of accessibility. She gave a lot of interesting examples of design and psychology that are not really perceptible/ seems unusual to people without disability. She made me realize that the needs of people with disability are not just physical, but also emotional, developmental and even social. The example she brought up was that sometimes people with hearing disability would still choose to attend symposium, or people with visual impairment would still choose to visit museums. They have the same needs for social companion, motivation to learn knowledge as anyone does. This reminds me of a project done by FakeLove studio for deaf people to experience concerts:(9/23/2020)
- Carrie Morales — hosting the Youtube channel Living Accessible, introducing the latest assistive technology for BLV community
- Aaron Steinfeld — associate research professor from Robotics Institute with specialization in human-robot interaction and assistive robots
- Holly Stants — blind low-vision occupational therapist, teaching patients essential livings skills and assistive technology to adapt to their visions
How to design an empathetic practicing environment for low-vision patients to adapt to their life?
As shown below, our initial concept drawing shows a rough gamification concept. Once I presented the initial concept to peers, I received some initial feedback about presenting the concept flow in a greater details, especially emphasizing the characters and their actions.
- What makes sense to me does not mean it makes sense for the audience. To express the full research process and concept in 8 minutes requires the speakers to really clean up irrelevant information and focuses on the core concept. And for the audience to have a better sense of the concept, ground it in an example scenario is more effective than talking about the concept in a higher structure.
- I really appreciate that Deepan brought up the business value proposition since practically speaking, a valid concept needs to be able sustain itself for a long term whether financially or functionally.
Revised Empathy Map
Through our interviews and mid-term feedback we decided to ground our concept in a more practical way. Therefore, we again twisted our HMW:
How can blind low-vision occupational therapists continually support patients home exercises outside of office setting?
we proposed two initial solutions for HMW in two major exercising environments: healthcare center and at home. Considering the amount of existing OT technological development in these two areas, we pivoted towards home training since it lacks more supervision. However, we also integrated the environmental tracking technology from the simulated environment and applied it in the home environment.
Two-week work plan
Week 1: Finalized the concept logistic, conduct observation with Holly
Week 2: Parti diagram, rough digital model, moodboard of each training scenario
Observation on Thursday
- Mostly focusing on baseline assessment;
- A lot of questions about patients’ life challenges and eye conditions;
- ADL & ADSL are also included in the questions;
- How to solve spilling: pour water in sink, or use ping pong ball to help visualize waterline;
- Patient got super excited about doing recreational activities that they haven’t been able to perform for several years;
- A series of testing devices are used
- Tone: should not address the traumatic experience in playful way,Less gamey, more learning focus
- Collaboration should be careful because of relationship dynamics. Collaboration can be potentially outside the game
- The OT monitor themselves, which can foster trust, interpersonal relationship
- Modularity: the complexity of each scenario might make it hard to standardized
- Different level of difficulty in tasks: progress from easy to hard
- Time of the tasks should be appropriate so that patients don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of time
Ena Kenny (11/16)
Ena from Stantec introduced the practice of Stantec with a specific focus on healthcare environment design. I really enjoy the project from Stantec
Stephanie Gitto (11/18)
Stephanie from LAB — a small lab within Rockwell Group that connects environment with technology. Tia Clinic, originated from a health-related chatbot, is designed to empower female with more information about their health. The clinic environment is a transformation for the client from digital environment to physical environment. I appreciate how the environment is super interactive and visually-pleasing, but it also does lose the core of the functionality of the space. Stephanie introduced how scripting of the full experience help explain the whole environmental interactive system. I find it useful that she presents the concept from the perspective of a user persona, and how touchpoints in each places are and how they cohesively work together to construct the whole experience, which makes the whole complex system much easier to follow.
Q: how to bring a high-end environment and dynamic to a cost-effective scenario while keeping the joy of experience?
- price engineering to make sure the installations are within the budget
- understand that what is mission critical, and keep the essence
- paint can do a lot of job to keep the essential quality of the environment
Unfortunately during the cross-track feedback, we didn’t get much valuable feedback just as how it previously went. Probably because people from other track, especially C, are not familiar with our development process and workflow, we had to spend the most of our time reiterated our concept and context, and their questions are generally covered or has already been discussed during our in-track peer review.
Mary Dietrich (11/23)
Mary from Kolar design delivered a presentation of her practices in designing branded environments for healthcare design. I really resonate with her point about the complexity when designing for healthcare system. Especially as my group delve deeper into our subject topic — occupational therapy, we realize that even such a specific field of study has layers of interactions by observing on-site.
Concept Validation — 2nd Interview with Holly
Holly has been very helpful throughout the process. We presented our general concept and were glad to find out that she found our research targeting in an area that is currently beyond the knowledge of occupational therapist — home exercises. She gave two major suggestions to our design:
- Wearable Camera Device — One piece of first-person information that OT wants to know the most is patients’ scanning pattern. She would like the device to be head-mounted to understand how patients look around to avoid visual blocking. Therefore, we redesigned our device to be weared in multiple ways, including head-mount.
- Interface — Holly appreciated that the exercise recommendation interaction fits really well with the existing occupational therapy process paradigm, and she would like to be able to further customize the activities and create her own exercises if needed. Therefore, we designed the exercises to be able to manipulated by OT in details.
- She also corrected some details of her therapy process and we together classified them into four different steps.
Detail Refinement — 3rd Interview with Holly
To make sure that our design is realistic, the third interview with Holly mainly focused on final detail correction of the therapy process, and we together brainstormed recommended exercises for each section of patient evaluation.
It has been a great challenge but also a pleasure to work on inclusive design this semester for Design Research Studio from several aspects, such as team collaboration, and even the prompt on design for blind, low vision. The project changed my stigma about design for healthcare and made me realize the complexity of the issues in the industry. It made me experience a mindset shift about all these aspects and to some extent changed the way I used to use design to solve problems.
The first impact comes from the prompt itself. Different from any previous prompt, having an actual client gives me a stronger sense of responsibility to make sure our proposal is relevant and practical. On the other hand, given the project has a prospective nature, Ian and I believe that we should push beyond relevancy and design for the future of healthcare. Therefore, we had to find the delicate balance between practicality and innovation. During the design research process, ecosystem mapping and journey mapping definitely helped us ask the right question and identify the right audience in such a complex system, but I found that in-depth research about technology development trends in the industry helped us the most in shaping the final form of our design. We interviewed a wide range of stakeholders who are familiar with new assistive technology for blind and low vision, including occupational therapist, youtuber about latest technologies for BLV community, and research scientist in developing assistive technology. Through talking with them we developed a much better understanding of tech development trends in the field and they provided a great source of inspiration for us to get feedback from. The conversations also taught me that it is ignorant if designers working in healthcare design without an in-depth understanding of their stakeholders. Although we tried to research as much as possible for this project, I still felt that there is still a great gap between our concept and a practical solution.
Another thing that I learnt the most this semester was how to collaborate remotely. I am very glad that I made the decision to collaborate cross track because it provided me a challenge but also an opportunity to learn how to work with people from a different discipline. It was already pretty challenging since we are working remotely, but Ian and I had some additional difficulty in collaboration because we need to together produce one cohesive thing that meets the educational goals for two tracks. Unlike other groups, because of the class separation, we also lost the time during class to furnish our ideas. We had to use time outside of class to communicate with each other about what we learnt from each of our classes. I am glad that we were able to overcome all these communication barriers and put together the best we could do. There have been times when we had disagreements with each other’s approach but we always solved them by focusing on the project itself not the arguments. I also really appreciate that we tried to respect each other’s track requirements and tried our best to adapt our design to both tracks. Another reason why I enjoy working with Ian is that we are both knowledgeable and perfectionists in the field that we work on, and our skill sets and working styles complement each other quite well. I am happy to say that I really enjoyed this challenging collaboration and I hope that it can be widely applied for Design Research Studio.