User-Centered Design for Sailors with Low-Vision (NQ4 Make Up)

Although many of the topics that were discussed in the reading on user-centered design are also currently being covered in 2.009, there were some key concepts that were worthy of further inspection in the context of my PPAT team.  The reading addresses that there is a lot of value in having designers who have varied levels of experience, as often generalists and specialists working together creates a very effective design process.  My PPAT team consists of two Course 6s, one Course 9, and one Course 2, and thus my diverse PPAT team is very well equipped to tackle our semester project.

The reading lists many different types of research that can be done to facilitate design, and our team has implemented some of these methods and found them extremely useful.  Because the activity related to our project, sailing, is a niche activity, observation to understand the activity and how our client interact with the activity has been crucial.  Today, we specifically completed direct observation.  Our entire team went to Community Boating, Inc. together to watch Pauline compete in a blind sailing regatta.  Although we weren’t directly in a boat with Pauline, we could observe the races from a motorboat and observe the actions Pauline went through to complete the race.  Additionally, we also observed those around Pauline—we could hear how the sighted guides were giving information and watch how other blind sailors sailed as Pauline’s competitors.  Participant observation can also accompany direct observation.  The reading points out that designers who already participate in the activity of the user may inflate the relevance of his/her particular experiences and preferences.  As a sailor myself, I must remember to remain objective and subject my own experience to scrutiny, as Pauline’s experience sailing is quite different.

Leave a Reply