Help! Engaging students in an immersive simulation to increase empathy when designing emergency products

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

Abstract

In a creative exploration with second year students at the University of Sussex, we attempted to investigate how we can improve our understanding of being in a panic situation in order to design emergency products empathically. In this case we investigated the scenario of being inside a burning environment and we imagined being in the role of an untrained person having to use a typical product for the first time. The potential for human error increases when using equipment under duress and in circumstances where timing is critical, these issues will be especially important. This investigation used the Creativity Zone, a flexible multimedia space, to create an immersive environment that simulated the effect of flames surrounding the subject. The motivation was to allow student’s to interact with the simulation as if they were experiencing the real event directly. The project revolved around designing the interface to make its use intuitive; so that upon first encounter visual clues enabled successful interaction with it. Examples included a fire extinguisher, a defibrillator, an emergency radio and an airplane exit. Theoretical ideas were included based on studies in perception and more information was available through a web site designed to provide an on-line gallery. This was created with help from a CETL bid; the url is www.visble.org.uk. The students were also asked to consider Semiotic thinking in their solution. The project is part of the assessment for a course called Advanced Studies in Form, based on the study of perception.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational conference on engineering and product design education
Place of PublicationScotland, UK
PublisherThe Design Society
Pages272-277
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2010
EventInternational conference on engineering and product design education - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2-3 September, 2010
Duration: 2 Sep 2010 → …

Conference

ConferenceInternational conference on engineering and product design education
Period2/09/10 → …

Bibliographical note

© 2010 The Design Society

Keywords

  • Scenarios
  • creativity
  • empathy
  • usability
  • affordance
  • semiotics

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