Do We Design for the Experiences of Children or Do We Merely Crouch to a 120cm Sight Level? A Co-Design Workshop for a Child's Play Area

workshop – 120 min | Feb 4 – 10:00

As interaction designers we seek to enable change through users experiences and interactions with the physical, mental, emotional and digital world. However, these experiences are often prescribed to the needs and challenges of adults, whose view of the world is above the 120 cm sight level of a 7 year old child. When designing services and products for children, designers frequently design and build solutions based on a generalised perception of what a child needs, without involving the children themselves in the design process. Arguably, this why we have seen limited innovation in outdoor play experiences were the users themselves, the children, are frequently excluded from the design process . Do we perceive we understand a child’s life experience and interactions by merely crouching to 120cm sight level or are we ready to interact with the children themselves to enable them to provide creative and resilient solutions?

During this interactive workshop you will be transported into the lives of children living in an Asian and African context who have both undergone displacement and are currently living in seemingly ‘wild’ and unfamiliar situations. Through video testimonies you will hear the children’s needs, motivations and challenges in relation to interacting with others and their environment. In the time that remains, you will adopt child participation methods to co-design play solutions with fellow participants during interactive and playful activities. Lastly, through reflecting on the co-design process, we will collectively suggest how we can and why we should, as interaction designers, truly engage with child users.

The interactive co-design methodology developed by Dream Networks & University College London (UCL) research will be provided as a guide to enable you to playfully engage.

Marie Williams

Marie Williams
Dream Networks, United Kingdom

About the speaker

Marie Williams

Marie Williams

Dream Networks, United Kingdom

A senior chartered engineer, the CEO of Dream Networks C.I.C, PHD student and perhaps most importantly a woman who is passionate about child development through play. PhD focuses on the co-design of resilient play areas within displaced urban and rural communities in Kenya and Lebanon at UCL (UniversIty College London).

CEO and founder of Dream Networks Social enterprise. Dream Networks collaborates with businesses, schools and communities to co-design and build creative playgrounds in economically deprived countries where children lack access to engaging and safe playgrounds. Since 2016, we have partnered with STEM based organisations such as Atkins to co-design creative playgrounds that have been sustainably built for over 3000 children.

Experienced chartered (CEng IMeche) senior engineer and product manager who has led product development and implementation within varied technology sectors. These sectors include Aircraft programs, nuclear fusion building design, big data analytics for big data monetization and digital visualisation. Strong design development, analysis, communication, data analytics, 2D and 3D visualisation, business development and management skills. Specific specialism in technical leadership, product development, creative design and programme integration within large multi-disciplinary projects and start-ups.

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