We don’t need another Mustermann
PARTICIPATORY DESIGN METHODS AND RESPONSIBILITY
Co-teaching w/ most talented and savvy ︎︎︎Deborah Sillmann: we led a 3 week project for undergraduate design students at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences in the module 'perspectives and social skills'. Since most of the students were just starting their design studies, it was important to us to give them practical design methods that would be useful along their way. Also, we wanted to address the importance of awareness of one's responsibilities as future designers. Within the 3 weeks, they developed their own projects, making use of different design methods.
How might we make students aware of their responsibilities as future designers and provide helpful resources?
OUR KEY CONCERN
A great number of products today are made for a non-existent mass of Max Mustermanns and John Does, replicating the views and beliefs of their developers without taking into account a huge amount of needs of different people.
This can be traced back to common methods used in the design process, such as personas, which are oftenly not applied correctly and thus reinforce stereotypical, cookie-cutter insights and 'users'. Instead of embracing diversity, many important needs are hastily dismissed as 'edge cases'.
GOALFor designers making use of the right design methods is important. This is true during the whole design process but especially crucial when qualitative research is being carried out to provide a solid basis for a product.
In this project we wanted to make the students aware of their personal lenses in order for them to pay attention to any biases and to critically question development during future projects.
DIVERSE GROUP OF STUDENTSThe project framework was deliberately kept free in order to do justice to the span between freshmen and students from higher semesters as well as their different majors (Graphic Design, Interface Design and Product Design).
Like this, each one of them could learn and create at their own pace, no matter their previous skills or knowledge.