Methods: Some tools to communicate in entertaining ways with individuals
Figure 1: Project carried at Procorp , including neighbors in a urban planning project.
As mentioned before: Multivocality is vital for design and community projects. But not only in the social sector but also business-wise. It is important that we treat social projects with the same quality standards as we do with business projects. This is why I commonly test research methods and information displays in both kind of projects. Figure 2: Diverse student’s approaches [Piwonka, Puyalto, Prieto, Castro]
PEOPLE LIKE “TO PLAY”
In my experience as a professor and researcher [social+private projects], I’ve realized that people “like” to play. Engaging research as a designer has a good side and a bad one. The good side: designers are skilled to “create” tangible and visual ways of researching that can be great to communicate with individuals. We can “make it”. The bad thing is that the discipline lacks, at the moment, some kind of rigor in research. And this is, because as I frequently indicate, design is shifting from a craft to a discipline [Poggenpohl & Sato, 2009]. So it is not just how you apply the techniques and tools, we should think about how we “make sense” of the information we are looking at. And in this we need to work to be comparable to other sciences. So not willing to make an assertion that “these tools I’m about to show are rigorous enough”, I present some tools for participation [I wouldn’t say full collaboration, as they were made in rapid applied research cycles] in visual ways. My students have been really creative in engaging these approaches. Figure 3: Project carried at Procorp , with Maite Otondo. Game & Display.
In the same line that Liz Sanders, PhD in psychology with her “Make Tools” has developed, I’ve worked with methods that help elicit some of the needs, desires or ideas that are not “articulated” when doing a project with a community that is not your own. It is important that, when creating these engaging experiences with individuals, they are planned interactions yet flexible to adapt to different situations or individuals. On the other hand, is important to identify protocols that help us in the further stages of analysis [as Miles & Huberman have stated, these stages are intertwined] of the information, “how we make sense of it”. And, most important of all, is to maintain an “ethical” stance towards the individuals and towards the research conveyed.