About 15 percent of the total world’s population, or roughly one billion people, live with a disability (World Health Organization, 2011). A disability is an umbrella term for any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being, e.g. autism, memory loss and physical disabilities (World Health Organization, 2011). Unfortunately, a disability affects people’s lives and influences their capabilities during everyday life situations.
I believe that design has a social function. I find it important that a user can find support in my design. Therefore, as designer I believe that it is important to develop designs that assist people with disabilities in dealing with everyday situations; it should improve the user’s life and relieve unpleasant situations. To me it is more important that the quality of the people’s lives is high rather than ‘fixing’ a disability; I want to increase, maintain, and/or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Thus, I want to design assistive technologies that assist them during everyday life situations. Examples of assistive technologies that I designed are ‘GUIDEMENTIA’ and 'Sam & Co'.
GUIDEMENTIA is a portable device that assists people with dementia during the complex procedure of completing multi step activities. All activities that are added to the device consist of short videos, visualizing the different steps required to complete the activity. Since dementia is a cognitive disorder, this example fits my vision as GUIDEMENTIA is a tool to assist people with a disability in executing daily life activities.
Sam & Co is a board game for children with autism to support social interaction. The game is based on the phases of social play (Bass & Mulick, 2007). In this game, clear exercises are provided to the children. Step by step, the children are figurally and literally brought closer to each other. through a guided process by means of interactive gameplay, the children learn to connect with each other and collaborate in a playful and safe way.
Up to this point I developed myself into a visually orientated, social and supportive industrial designer. As designer I work with a human-centered approach, with the focus on the physical aspect of a product as well as on the visual communication of product.
I like to tinker and experiment with physical models and visualization programs. Therefore, I would say that I rather express my ideas and concepts with graphical visualizations and physical prototypes. For me this is the way to communicate ideas and concepts to the user and/or client(s).
I am very social and interested in people’s opinions, thoughts and experiences. For that reason, I find it important to analyze user’s behavior and desires, but also to test my products within real life situations. In this situation, it is not only important to involve the user, but also their surroundings. So, one could say that I am a human-centered designer who is inspired by the needs and wishes of the user and who will involve the user completely within the design process. This approach will give me the opportunity to find ways to improve the user’s live and to design specifically for them and their fellow-sufferers.
I am always there for people when they need me and I always try to come up with the best solution possible. Therefore, I love to design product that help and support the user during daily activities they struggle with. I find it important to improve not only the user’s life, but also to relieve unpleasant situations. It will make my designs valuable and important within the healthcare sector.
Copyright © 2018. Daborah Pulles.