4. Design for Empowerment

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If we as designers would like to foster and empower people to embrace this form of personal ingenuity how can we approach the practice of designing? As designers we traditionally like to be in control of all the aspects of an experience, but in order to allow for this personalized tween space to thrive we must release some of the control. Instead of just packaging the experience for consumption, a rich experience is one that’s designed to be hacked. Legos may be a very basic classic example but it’s a great example of a system that supports multiple outcomes (see Fig. 4). In other words, in order for things to have a sense of life we need to consider not only what goes on between the two ends but also systems that can support multiple possible uses, some of which we may not have anticipated. The focus then becomes on designing for the idea of Productive Interaction, which “shifts the emphasis of interaction design away from the notion of creating persuasive, consumptive, feel-good experiences for people, and moves it towards the design of content, contexts, affordances and interactions, creating an open mode of communication where people can form their own outcomes and meanings” (Van Allen et al. 56).

Fig. 4. Will Gorman. Battle Bricks: MakerLegoBot: A Lego Mindstorms NXT 3D Lego Printer.

 

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