Teaching children to save energy at home – A workshop with Frascara Noël

Last week Jorge Frascara and Guillermina Noël came to visit our Design Faculty. Originally from Argentina and now based in Padua (but not for long!) they specialize in Information Design, Publication Design, Cultural Communications and Special Education.

Guillermina and Jorge arrived on Monday and were this week’s guest for “Werkstattgespräche”, introducing themselves as well as their work and working methods. The following morning they visited our project “Come On Kids!” and organized a small workshop forus.

After presenting and explaining different factors of User-Centred Design, which consist of detailed discussion about your needs and objectives, a thorough study of the target group, research and development phases, interviewing and observing users as well as testing prototypes, we were given the task of re-designing information about energy waste and thus inviting children to live a more energy conscious lifestyle.

The learning objectives for us students were to work from a user-centred design approach, understand the problems involved in behaviour change and learn how to present information to children.

The outcome was an array of gadgets, games and books, for example glow-in-the-dark sticker prototypes, which remind you to turn of electrical equipment at night, or a board game with a 3D tropical island which makes you think about how to have fun without any electricity at all!

After half a day’s work our target and test group arrived – four children around the age of seven. As we were so many students and only four children we had to try our best and make them feel at ease as not to intimidate them. Every group presented their idea directly to the kids and awaited their final verdict. It was great to see the initial reaction to our designs and hear what they had to say about them: was it good, did they understand it, could it be useful for them, would they enjoy using it, and, most importantly, were they aware of the environmental issues that our designs tackled?

All in all the kids seemed to enjoy being tested and we really valued their honest opinions and suggestions. User-Centred Design is fantastic approach to design and pushes the designer to consider the limitations, possibilities, requirements and desires of the user.

We would like to thank Guillermina and Jorge for visiting us in Bolzano and wish them all the best for moving back to Argentina in a few weeks after so many years aboard!


Corso 2011-2012, Incontro