- Date:Februari 1, 2018
Health is really at the heart of my design projects, in previous projects I always focused on designing products which could improve physical health. I think it is important that technology can help us staying vital. Your mental health and physical health influence each other, so to stay vital we have to look at both. In this project I wanted to challenge myself to focus on mental health, to get to know more about designing for different aspects vitality. Focusing on mental health is a challenge for me, because it is less perceptible in comparison to physical health. But this also makes it very interesting, this way I will learn new ways of getting information from the user. During my research project in my bachelor I learned that it is really hard to integrate new products into the routine of users. That is why I think it is really important to include the user and experts in the design process to be able to create a strong design. In my bachelor I got introduced to the data enabled design approach, and this semester I wanted to get to know this approach better. I would like to use the data enabled design approach to get more tools to include the user in the design process. I think this approach could be really valuable for field research, because it can give you information about the context over a longer time span. In my bachelor I applied the data enabled design approach in my process, but here we only put out one probe and the connection between the qualitative and quantitative data was less clear to me. In this design process we took several steps to our final concept. These steps in the process really supported one another. We started gathering quantitative data from ourselves, this created discussions which gave us qualitative data. We also used surveys to gather qualitative data from others to support choices made for our probe which should gather quantitative data, which would help us again to gather qualitative data from the interviews. I think this collaboration between the “raw” quantitative data and qualitative data is really beautiful and has the potential to give us a really complete view of the context or target group we are designing for. While learning about stress and burnouts, I got to know that our target group was really big. Many people struggle with stress and burnout and a lot of research is done about the harmfulness of stress, but maybe we can use stress to our advantage. There were a lot of possibilities to explore and I think we chose a really challenging approach to coping with stress. The challenge was to properly integrate mindfulness in a user’s morning routine and how to measure a state of mindfulness. The data enabled design approach really helped us to define where we would like to implement the principles of mindfulness. My team member Iris already knew a lot more about the data enabled design approach and really had a good overview of our process. Because I find it really hard to keep an overview of my process it was really nice to work with iris and learn how to keep track of the process. I learned how to take step back and look how previous steps affected the choices we made. But it also made me doubt my own competencies in the project, sometimes I did not see the relation between choices as fast as she did. During the design process I always focus a lot on technology and realization, so used these skills to make models and part of the technology (code and electronics). But because we eventually did not use all of my work, I tend to under appreciate it. At the end of the project we discussed this and we found out that we both had the feeling that we did too little compared to the other. I think if we discussed this earlier, it would have helped reduce stress and would have improved our collaboration. If we would have discussed it earlier, we would have known better what our role was in the project. In projects I always work closely together with the user. Because this project was focused on mental health and we wanted to increase the mindfulness of users, it is really easy to get stuck in your head. That is why when we approached a therapist and started gathered data I was more in my element. We found a really fast and easy way to track data which I can use in future projects. Because I think working closely with the user and experts is really important, I felt like that in this part of the process we made bigger steps. I can conclude that I have learned how to keep a much better view of the design process. And however we were not able to realize the prototype, I did use a lot of skills from my exchange and my bachelor to create 3D models, write code and make visuals to show our concept. My appreciation for the data enabled design process grew, because it helped me getting closer to the user in this really mentally challenging project. In future projects I will use this knowledge of the design process, and reflect on how steps in the process led to certain choices. By having a clear overview of how all the steps in the design process influenced my choices, I will be able to support my future concepts better.