Design for the user: scenario-based design
Our goal as a designer includes encouraging and supporting children in their learning process, offering the elderly and vulnerable people a safe and supportive environment, allowing people to develop in their working environment, and so much more. We place people at the ‘heart’ of our architecture and strive for a (built) environment that functions as a protective cocoon, catalyst, haven, etc. for the user.
Focus on the end-user: Scenario-Based Design
It is essential to be able to empathise with the end-user during the design process. This process of empathy is not easy: the experiences, motivation, and needs of the end-users can be very different. Moreover, a design process is often a complex one in which there is a risk that the focus on the end-user will disappear.
Scenario-Based Design is a design method that helps us to focus on the end-user during the entire design process and with every design change. We describe these end-users as ‘personas’.
Our personas form the leitmotif of our design
Clearly identifying our end-users is the first step. We often use immersion sessions for this purpose: the design team interacts with others in the setting for a few days, during which interviews, observations, and active participation in activities take place. These data are then further supplemented with evidence-based data. Based on this, we get a clear picture of the diversity in experience, vulnerability, and motivation of the end-users and our personas, each of which typifies a diversity. Through scenarios, we let the persona follow a spatial trajectory, guided by actions, needs, and memories. This is how our personas form the leitmotif of our design.
Moreover, this methodology is supported by all stakeholders involved. Workshops are organised throughout the different phases of the design process in order to check whether the design creates an optimal environment for all users.
Case study - OLEYCK
A project of the future embodying traditional values
De Kerselaar Project in Overijse: taking Jan and Linda into account in the design decisions
An example in which we applied Scenario-Based Design is the De Kerselaar project in Overijse, a residence for people with a physical and/or mental disability. Here, the design started from the physical and mental vulnerability and the residents’ living environment. In order to be able to capture them properly, we challenged the design using the user profiles ‘Jan’ and ‘Linda’.
Our design started from the building block of the resident’s room: a room where invisible care is present, with enough space for lifts and transfers for Linda, who has a severe physical disability. The same building block allows for a flexible layout for Jan, who has an extreme need for structure and order, and for whom a clear day and night division is important.
We have our personas follow a route that maps out their rhythm, daily schedule, and rituals and then we translate them spatially. The aim was always clear: to offer a home where the residents, according to their own decisiveness, can be given and can take on the necessary responsibilities. The design does not want to form an island, but rather to stimulate contacts to actively participate in projects and activities within the community of Overijse.
This methodology supports our creative and reflective thinking and forms a frame of reference for (re-)evaluating decisions.
Case study - NICE MERIDIA
Combining different functions and generations in a denser urban environment
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