Design intervention for independence, inclusion and health living
In our daily lives, we all engage with typologies and product visual vernacular. This product language determines how we engage with artefacts, how we are directed, informed by queues and perceived object uses. The designer was interested in how and if these visual qualities could be translated into physical characteristics. Working with RNIB Redhill, a school for visually impaired 11-18 year-olds in Surrey, the interest led to mechanisms that could foster independence and self-confidence in its pupils.
After extensive ethnography and empathising with staff and pupils, one of the main insights was the barriers to nutrition, independence, self-reliance and the desire to leave home amongst students. It was observed that the visually impaired pupils often found using a vegetable knife difficult and dangerous, and the students rarely consumed fresh vegetables as a result. This raised a big health issue. The staff trained the students in the school, but the issue was that, when they were cooking in isolation, some of the pupils felt unconfident. The resulting product was used to create a meal for friends and family and emotional new experience. The tool enabled the users to cook their first meal using fresh vegetables. This was later rolled out in the school.
“It is the simple things that change lives and give confidence; this has changed the residents’ lives and aided them in independent living”.
Support worker, RNIB
Acknowledgements to: RNIB Redhill, Christopher Friend and the RNIB