Paul sent me some great feedback and ideas to explore over the weekend. I don’t want to totally give away all the awesomeness that I’ll be exploring in future posts, but I will say I completely agree with his comment that I must design a cane that able-bodied people look at and go, “I WANT one of THOSE!”
Building functionality beyond what is expected of a normal walking cane will definitely be a balancing act. There are some awesome ‘add-ons’ that I could integrate into the function of the cane that have never traditionally been. I know that I want the final design to be half piece of art, half functional cane. Therefore, I must be prudent with increasing the number of functions, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the user or create a product that is too complex. To do so, I will return to my ‘design thinking’ processes and tools to ensure I’m designing a product that the users will actually find valuable.
Additionally, I know cultural perspectives of disability will be crucial when designing my product. Therefore, I plan to conduct a variety of ethnographic research on my upcoming trip to Europe. I have previously experienced that perspectives of disability vary a lot across countries, and much of Europe is not as disability-friendly as the U.S..