Responsible design, product design to help with psychotherapy

Document Type : Research Paper


1 industrial design department architecture faculty art university of isfahan Isfahan Iran

2 Faculty Member, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Responsible design as part of the broader concept of social sustainability seeks to identify and respond to the marginalized needs without being recognized by the market mechanism. This approach, rooted in morality and social responsibility aspects, brings the empowerment of the community with them, and increases social justice. The health domain is defined as one of the eight main axes of purposeful socially responsible design. In the meantime, mental health-related diseases are less in the angle of view of the designers despite its high importance. The present article has entered the domain of Mental Diseases and tries to narrate a picture of how to meet social responsibility in the form of a product design project to control self-harm. It seems that taking four fundamental steps in an action responsible design project is required: searching and identifying the problem, empathetic understanding and definition of the problem in its social context, collaborative design, and receiving feedback and learning. In the first step, by looking for the undiscovered needs or less attention of the community and regardless of issues raised by the market mechanism, a solution was based on the treatment of suffered people from self-harm. Addressing the self-harm issue is a clear necessity because of its relevance to the possible suicide in the next steps. In the second step with the aim of understanding the problem from the perspective of the target group, five people who had experienced self-harming were identified and interviewed. In addition, the findings of observations, information of consulting sessions of two psychological experts with their clients, and also studying the notes of individuals involved with this disease in social media, were complementary to this step. After filtering the data, applied keywords were created in the form of visual cards with the objective of facilitating the common understanding of the problem-solving process. In the third step with the aim of providing solutions with the presence of people involved with the subject in the solution process, the interviewees in a joint session took action to sort the cards below their intended concepts and the free representation of metaphors and descriptions that flowed at the same time. As a result, some suggested statements formed the basis of some original ideas. Then solutions that were more worthy were developed with respect to the consultation of relevant psychologists, and developed a package of complementary products that cover a range of emotional behaviors for the user. Finally, in the fourth step, with the aim of obtaining real feedback from the solution, product efficiency was evaluated in both dimensions of design and psychology. The design-based evaluation was done based on the three layers of the emotional design of Norman in three surfaces instinctive, behavioral, and reflective; and also the psychological evaluation was performed by three experts in the field of psychology. Finally, the capability of the products set as a tool for managing self-harm has been assessed positively and has been approved for clinical use.


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