The team at PDR are proud to announce that we have another doctor in our midst... Senior User Centred Designer, Dr Claire Andrews recently completed her PhD which investigated how the employment of theories of resonance and extraordinary users in the collaborative design process resulted in better design outputs. Below is a brief summary of her thesis. Congratulations Claire!
Resonance is the correlation of needs between extraordinary users and ordinary users in extraordinary situations (Pullin, 2009). Instances of resonance are common and plentiful, for example: attempting to talk to a friend whilst at a loud concert sees similar problems to those that people with hearing impairments overcome daily, or, using a device whilst wearing thick gloves shows resonance with people with limited dexterity. Whilst undertaking a literature review around tactile navigation devices for people with visual impairments a resonance was identified in that, people with visual impairments cannot visually engage with mobile devices, and, pedestrians without impairment should not visually engage with devices as it causes dangerous and anti-social pedestrian behaviours.
This recognition lead to the research question of:
“How might the employment of theories of resonance and extraordinary users in the collaborative design process result in better design outputs?”
A double-phased research approach was taken. The first phase was a practise-led approach using a participatory design process. It reflected upon the integration of people with visual impairments into the (traditionally visually dominant) product design process and used reflective practise to document the techniques used, their outcomes and their effectiveness.
The second phase then tested the output of phase one, a tactile navigation aid, against commercially available aids. The comparative study was designed to evaluate the actual and perceived benefits of the new device, designed with people with visual impairments, for people without visual impairments in usage contexts demonstrating resonance.