Engaging with vulnerable user groups


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A presentation slide for ServDes 2012 conference in Espoo, Helsinki.
My reflection on engaging with homeless people during co-design practice at Homeless SMS.

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  • Engaging with vulnerable user groups

    1. 1. Co-designing an SMS service for London’s homeless Ohyoon Kwon, Annemiek van Boejien t:@ohyoonkwn 1
    2. 2. This presentation will talkabout how designers cancollaborate with a vulnerableuser group and theirsupportive service deliveryorganizations.
    3. 3. Homeless peopleHomeless people have a variety of complex problems.Varying accommodation status and levels of habituation.They are hard to reach to provide right supports.
    4. 4. Homeless Service Providers http://hoffman.photoshelter.com/image/I0000.Kp.jl._edE coalitionforthehomeless.orgEach service environment has its own policies that regulatethe accessibilities and behaviors of the homeless users
    5. 5. Designers Adapted from four types of co-design practice (Mattelmäki&SleeswijkVisser, 2011)Use of various techniques/ activities to involve intendedusers into a design process
    6. 6. Inside Homeless Service people providers How can designers engage with related parties and co-Outside design a service? Through performing a variety of activities such as research, workshops, prototyping and testing services, evaluation… Designers
    7. 7. Two approaches to co-operate with the homelessand service providers.
    8. 8. Homeless Service Service people providers providers Designers Homeless Designers peopleDesigners become Homeless people are insiders invited to the outside
    9. 9. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocessApplication of the ‘in/outside approach’ to the ‘DoubleDiamond’ design process of an actual service design case
    10. 10. Case:subtitleSection Homeless SMSDevelopment of an SMS service for London’s homeless
    11. 11. Most homeless people in London own a (simpletype of ) mobile phone
    12. 12. For us these are everyday media, but for someit is uncomfortable and unusual.
    13. 13. Service providers Other homeless/ ex- homeless people Outside worldThis is social mediain a ‘homeless’ context
    14. 14. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocessDiscover:User Research
    15. 15. Designers becomeinsiders, by volunteering in Homeless people Service providerstheir environments. Designers+Conduct observation researchBuild empathy with usersEstablish trusting relationships_Invest substantial time & energyRisk of being burn out because ofconfronting users’ difficult lives
    16. 16. The results of the research. A close look at the life of ahomeless person
    17. 17. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocessDefine:ConceptualizationWorkshop
    18. 18. The homeless are invited tothe outside, by participating Service providersin workshops facilitated bydesigners.+Create a setup that participantscan actively exchange ideasDramatically increaseparticipants’ understanding on theproject Homeless Designers_ peopleIt may infringe regulations ofservice providers
    19. 19. A workshop with homeless participants, volunteers, serviceproviders and designers.
    20. 20. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocessDevelop:Serviceprototyping
    21. 21. A service concept is co-developed with five engaged Service providersparticipants through runningprototype services usingtheir mobile phones.• Participants were supported by providing them a pre-paid SIM, unlimited SMS• 1 person stopped using the service after 2 weeks Homeless Designers people• 3 participants became core- users
    22. 22. Information packages were provided explaining how to usethe service.
    23. 23. Participants were involved in several user feedbacksessions
    24. 24. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocess Deliver: Implementation
    25. 25. The consolidated servicewas brought into a homeless Homeless people Service providersday centre. Tested with 25+clients. Designers• Worked in the day centre building during service hours• Restrictions with engagement with participants• Participants got incentive of a lunch voucher (£2)• One employee played an integral role
    26. 26. http://urmsg.wordpress.com/The day centre starts a new service ‘UR_msg’ from thisJanuary
    27. 27. Inside Outside Outside InsideDiscover: Define: Develop: Deliver:User Research Conceptualization Service prototyping Implementation Workshop
    28. 28. Homeless Service people providersIn-outside approach‘Double Act’ Tithcn and Binnie (1992)Designers need to be awareabout the extent ofengagement with theparticipation of homeless, both Designersinside and outside theirenvironments.
    29. 29. Ethical Issues 1Dual roles are not alwaystransparent to participants aswell as to organizationse.g. a friendly relationship established as aninsider (volunteer) unintentionally is beinginstrumented for the design project.
    30. 30. Ethical Issues 2Prototype services are realinterventions to people’sroutine “How come there’s not any smsmsgs; not even weather forecast?” A text message from a participant
    31. 31. Ethical Issues 3The Contribution ofparticipants is difficult toreward.Providing a lunch voucher is (£2) not sufficient
    32. 32. Possibilities for designers1. Allow participants to haveownership of the project.The ladder of citizen participation,Arnstein (1969)
    33. 33. Possibilities for designers2. Consider participants’abilities and graduallyincrease the level ofengagement co-production agreement on mistrust participation contribution