Tangible interfaces for children’s mental healthcare
Abstract: The area of healthcare has a lot of challenges and restrictions when it comes to design. There is no access to one of the users. A research on this topic resulted in the creation of Robbi – an interactive toy that supports communication between a child and psychologist during their therapy sessions. Children (patients) as stakeholders are a very vulnerable party of this project and as they were not involved in the process directly; there was no opportunity for intervention, observation or action research. When the therapeutic session is happening, the setting of the environment has to be as comfortable for the client as possible and the presence of a third person at the session would disturb the result in a severe way. I would argue here that the therapists can act as proxies in the projects related to design for MHC clients. Psychology therapists are skilled and experienced observers and area experts. In many cases we actually have to think: who is the real end user of our design? What relationships are there between the stakeholders and the solution are? As the project involves therapists as participatory design actors it is fair to say that the therapists are primary users of the design concept that is to be created. It has to fit all the needs of the doctor, enable them to make the therapy sessions more efficient, engaging and profound. At the same time the concept has to be developed in the framework of interaction for children in terms of visuals, tangibility, emotional content and usability.
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