Three workshops commenced this morning with a lot of excitement: 1. shared vision on user experiences, 2. why-finding: exploring the intersection of logic and emotion, 3. An insight into the world of perfumery.
After quite an experience of finding my way through the workshop room and passing through some famous some custom-made designer furniture, I come into the workshop room full of participants trying to find their ‘whys’. Their whys concern people and their love and hate kind of relationship with products. For example, what factors influence a television experience that results in strong (emotional) reactions. Find your why before you design for a certain product experience.
Workshop Envisioning Use
Headed next door, I come into this room with several probes on side table (clothes pegs, masking tapes, hair bands ) and participants table full of images of famous people (George Clooney!), ordinary people, people inaction, people in crowded spaces, or just plain empty spaces. Among all this, participants are engaged in deep conversation with the organizers busy discussing creating a common vision within a design team with existing products and situations of product use.
Workshop bisociating diversities
Last but not least, I’d like to see how designers can create social responses by bisociating diversities. Designers are nowadays mastering the art of evoking certain response / emotions with the help of the products they develop. But what if, you, as a designer, want to evoke a certain response in a community, but they don’t know how to disentangle this problem? This workshop shows that, for example, designers can ‘happify’ (as coined during the workshop) Londoners on-the-go, only that they can’t do it with a single product. They have to make use of diversities of (bisociating) the concepts ‘happiness’ and ‘Londoners’ and be sharp in creating several different interactions in the society which will make them happy in the end.
Workshop A digital love story
After a cup of English tea (with milk of course!) and a piece of brownie, I’m ready to see the remaining workshops. I chose ‘digital love story’ – who wouldn’t want to experience love stories, digital or not!? To my surprise participants are designing a chair in five minutes – a chair that is able to evoke several different emotions during people’s interactions with them. After all we don’t just love the whole product, but we love certain aspects of a product. Participants swap their designs and reflect emotionally on the freshly designed chairs with the help of LEM-stickers (emotional cartoon characters). Then, they use the same method for the design of digital products.
Workshop Empathy and conflict resolution for designers
We always consider the act of designing simultaneous to finding solutions to a problem. What if the problems designers are addressing are not practical in nature but social problems, interpersonal problems which will may require more tactful approaches from designers. In this workshop, participants impersonate animals (frogs, giraffes, dogs) by making colourful masks and learn to make empathy by understanding the animals’ point of view. Eventually, they will have to tackle conflicts as well. What’s good for one isn’t always good for others. It’s again the designer that has to moderate the possible side-effects of a (new) product / system.
The morning workshops are successfully over except for one which is a full day workshop: An insight into world of perfumery. Afternoon sessions include three more workshops.
Workshop World of Perfumery
After receiving our delicious lunch packages made with free-range eggs and chicken, I’m ready to go into the world of more sensual scents. I find myself in a black room with enough lighting to focus on the contents of the workshops. As soon as I sit down I’m offered by one of the organizers a paper smelling strip that has the scent of my first ever perfume: CK one. Then I realize a table with small containers of fragnance ingredients (botanical extract such as fruits, flowers, and herbs). Soon, we are offered more smelling strips of such fruit extracts, exemplifying how certain smells that we are familiar with on a daily bases can be implemented in products such as perfumes / shampoos / detergents. What a smellicious workshop this is!