Currently, I’m part of a European project called ProFit, in which field labs are realized in different European cities. A field lab is a place where companies can test new “sport and movement” innovations with volunteering participants. For example, the field lab in Delft is dedicated to elderly and children being active together. My role is to find out the user needs for these field labs and introducing co-research – that is using participants as researchers. The field labs are a valuable case for my PhD research, which is about developing a method to be used in co-research for design. The main topic for my thesis will be co-research with children. Working on the case of field labs I already discovered the benefits of challenging kids to become researchers for the issues concerning them personally. It gave them a sense of pride and responsibility and resulted in acquiring an ability to talk about the issues in a new abstract way. In situations when they would interview other participants, it also gave insights into their interactions which is very inspiring for designers. In the end, I will design a toolkit facilitating the practice of using participants as researchers in a design project.
The motivational aspect is very important as the field labs should help change participants’ behavior in certain ways. For the one where we want to promote physical activity, we have a playful product which whistles to seduce to play with it when it is not being used. Also, we found and specified users’ motivations to become more active and made it into a set of cards – guidelines and inspiration for the designers.
I am also involved with the Design Conceptualization and Communication (DCC) section.
text by Malgorzata Pawlak