- Briefly share your experience going through Dialogue in the Dark. What were some of the feelings, thoughts, challenges and insights gained while role playing a blind person?
The room was pitch black. The last time I experienced darkness like that was in Batu Caves in Malaysia but that was with some light still. When I first entered the room of total darkness, I felt like I could not breathe for a few seconds because my brain was not used to not being able to see while having to navigate my way through. It was in an instant that I realised how much I have relied on my sense of sight. I felt helpless as I walked throughout the tour as I had to rely more heavily on my other senses which I realised was sadly, not that good either.
What really hit me was when we had to cross the road without our sight, something I never took notice of. I had no awareness of how far the other end of the crossroad was and how long I had to cross which made me panic. Then, I knew I really take for granted my eyesight as I would always use my phone while crossing roads.
I have always known of the existence and struggles of the blind community but never have I thought to experience or empathise with them. I always just thought “Oh, blind people cannot see” but never have I gone beyond to think that the simplest daily activities are struggles to complete due to their blindness. Yet, struggling was not the case for our lovely tour guide. I found it heartwarming to know that she finds the beauty in being blind. Most of what she shared with us were positive experiences which made me realise that we should really be more grateful.
- Drawing on your experience, can you think and list some of the benefits inherent in the design research technique of role-playing?
- Being able to experience first-hand and empathise to thoroughly understand and uncover the needs of the target audience
- Create more bespoke products that tackles more specific issues through better understanding
- Create better user experience
- Be more aware of things you would not have taken note of before without role-playing and later doing a more extensive research
- Clear doubts and assumptions on the matter of research
- Can you think of some contexts where role-playing can be useful to help discover and definition of design challenges or contribute to the development of design solutions?
Role-playing allows one to fully immerse in the certain experience which I believe design can only go so far to do so. Design more so communicates a message but not so much, the experience. Again, role-playing creates empathy to allow the audience to understand more deeply, the issue at hand.