One of my assignment for MDes is to pitch a conference paper. As mentioned in my earlier post, I've said that I like to let things settle for a while before acting on it. Because of that, I've got a nice collection of different projects and topics that aged well enough to become a solid topic (whether it's already written or not). The topic for this paper? Something I hold close to my heart:
I've ranted in the earlier incarnation of this blog about the mass upgrade of the playgrounds in Toronto, as well as the unreleased rant about the incoherent structure theme at the soon-to-be-opened Mooney's Bay playground in Ottawa. Seriously, it's an eyesore, go look at it, but I guess if that's what kids want -- no. They're plain ugly. We can't let kids think that badly designed things are OK or inevitable. That's learned helplessness at the core.
Anyway. Yes. Playgrounds. Their role is to help promote physical, mental, and social well-being of children. No, seriously. How do people design for such vague things? What's the criteria for a well-designed structure vs badly designed ones? These are some of the questions I had. And from that, I thought how nice it would be to have a framework to assist in the design process. Like some sort of drivers that must be met to pass for production. So it's the twin of safety protocols for design, but it's more educational. Or that's how I see it. If I worded it strange, don't blame me. I've only been in this whole academically scholarly side of things for a month. But that's what I want. So I'm gonna research this.
Now my background on why I want this to be a reality: there's not much available resources on designing for kids. There are some for interaction and UI/UX design, but not much (excluding anthropometrics and ergonomics) on the physical side of things. I'd like to see a manual on design for kids. I think there are some available on "organizations" such as PlaygroundIdeas.org, but you need to join it, pitch an actual product, and give out payment information before you get their resources. I don't actually have a project, and I doubt emailing them and plead to them to hand their confidential information will go that well, so I'm just gonna have to wing it with whatever sources are available. Plus, I doubt their manuals are accredited sources of information anyways.
I've just sent in an abstract to see how it goes. If it's well-received, I guess I'll have to actually do some research on them? Or not? I don't know how conference paper work. It just seems somewhat speculative.
I guess I'll just wait and see...