Dialogue with Time reflections

Briefly share your experience going through Dialogue with Time. What were some of the feelings, thoughts, challenges and insights gained while role playing an elderly person? (150 Words)

While going through the Dialogue with Time exhibit, we got to see through a window of what it is like to live the life of an elderly. The experience started with allowing us to think of our life journey and how we would like to experience life when we grow old. That allowed me to effectively put myself in the elderly’s shoes as we were induced to think about the elderly from on own point of view. The yellow room was my favourite part as we could physically experience what difficulties the elderly may experience on a day to day basis. I tried the mobility station first that required us to tie 2kg weights to our ankles and walk up and down the stairs. When I first put on the weights I was immediately surprised by how much harder it was to walk with it. Thereafter, while trying out the other stations such as the medication station and the listening station, I was again made aware that I had underestimated and undermined the extent of such day to day difficulties experienced by the elderly, allowing me to better understand how it is like for the elderly.

Drawing on your experience, can you think and list some of the benefits inherent in the design research technique of role playing? (150 Words)

In Dialogue with Time, the yellow and pink room encouraged role playing. In the yellow room, participants actively experience the simulation of the physical difficulties the elderly experience, and in the pink room after experiencing the yellow room, we get to listen to the difficulties we’ve just experienced. This has allowed me to better put myself in their shoes and better relate to their problems, in turn better understand their problems as accurately as possible. Hence, the design research technique of role playing aids in:

  1.  Helping designers / the public better relate to the existing problems through personal experience
  2.  Allowing designers to understand what is lacking in the current system and hence allowing them to generate ideas that can address the existing issues
  3.  Allows designers to test and compare their theories to the reality for higher accuracy when designing to tackle problems

Can you think of some contexts where role-playing can be useful to help discover and define design challenges or contribute to the development of design solutions? (150 Words)

While people can be empathetic towards others, it is always hard to completely or correctly understand another person if one has not personally been in the same / a similar situation. It is always hard to understand someone else, but I think role-playing allows designers to much better grasp the concepts of the problem and tailor the most suitable solution to the problem in the design process. For example, if designer who is not pregnant or hasn’t been pregnant wishes to design solutions to aid pregnant mothers during their term or to raise more awareness for the problems they face, it would be difficult for the designers to design a solution that will accurately address the problem. With the help of role play, designers have the chance to experience the very problems that pregnant mothers face and hence be able to design more specific and directed solutions to tackle the root of the problem.

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