Dialogue with Time – Reflection

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)

I really appreciated the experience at Dialogue with Time and its format. The interactive elements and tasks to get us to role-play as the elderly were effective and allowed empathy in their situations. One thought/feeling that kept returning throughout the role-playing section was how frustrated I was about completing simple tasks. This really let me gain insight into the struggle some older individuals have in just living their daily lives. The most impactful interaction for me was the “TREMBLE” segment where “mind-over-matter” could not apply because I had no control over the movement of my hand no matter how much I tried to focus and still it. 

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

From this experience, role-playing proves to have the inherent benefit of immediate and direct empathy. When set accurately and effectively, role-playing allows users to “be in someone else’s shoes” and experience that someone’s struggles. Role-playing (if done well) is also extremely effective: to have a user move through physical actions and have to activate their decision making is more memorable and impactful in the longterm. Thus, in the context of design research, role-play is effective in weeding out specific problems that one wants to tackle in their design solutions. In addition to seeking out these problems, the specific challenges and emotional response is also revealed – this being very beneficial in design research.

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)

Contexts in which certain physical manifestations of the social issue would be ideal. In street harassment, to role-play as a victim would realise the trauma and discomfort in the roleplayer. These reactions would then be noted down and expanded on to define specific design challenges. Role-playing is particularly successful in design research when it comes to physical disabilities, where limitations are physical and can be manipulated. In the issue of hearing impairment, wearing sound-proof earphones/headset would be a way to set the role-play and identification of design challenges would then be very clear.

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