Colloquium announcement

Faculty of Engineering Technology

Department Design, Production and Management
Master programme Industrial Design Engineering

As part of his / her master assignment

Wonink, F.K. (Femke)

will hold a speech entitled:

To be and to become an everyday designer

RoomWaaier 3


The transition from adolescence into adulthood can be a very difficult for young autistic adults (YAA). The nature and difficulty of the challenges they face vary per person and therefore require personalised solutions. Technologies (in the broadest sense of the word) have the potential to help YAA in facing these challenges, thereby achieving higher levels of independence, provided that the technologies are tailored to the person’s individual characteristics, skills and circumstances and that they are readily available to the person in question. This is currently not the case.

The Design Your Life (DYL) project set out to develop a set of tools that helps YAA and their caregivers to envision, select/adapt/create and evaluate their own personalised technologies. As part of the DYL investigation, the toolkit that is designed in this thesis is inspired by the concept of everyday design. While using technologies, users find personal and unique ways of adopting, adapting and incorporating said technologies into their daily lives in such a way that their personal and situated needs are met. Everyday design does not require (professional) design expertise, which makes it suitable for a user group without a design background. But while everyday design is usually described as being an unconscious process driven by the need to solve a problem in the moment, this research is focussed on finding out whether everyday design can be done consciously so YAA and their caregivers can actively use it to tackle bigger and more complex challenges. This thesis ventures to answer the following research question: How can the concept of everyday design help YAA and their caregivers in selecting / adapting / creating personalised technologies that empower YAA in their daily lives?

This research relies on both experiential and theoretical knowledge throughout the entire toolkit design process to base (design) decisions on. This is an iterative, dynamic and inductive process using principles of grounded theory.

In the end everyday design was incorporated into the toolkit in three ways: everyday design as design practice, everyday design as design resource, and allowing everyday design. Other interesting topics were empowerment and concessions. The former refers to finding ways in which the YAA could actively participate and give their opinion. The latter refers to tailoring the toolkit to meet the participants comfort zone.

This resulted in a toolkit that consists of multiple card sets that guide the users through a design process that uses off-the-shelf technologies as a starting point for creating personalised technology solutions.