Exploring the innovative concept of Tactful Design for sensitive settings

The project ‘Designing the New Normal’ is part of the overarching project named Meedoen= Groeien!; result of the collaboration between the Revalidatiefonds, the Prinses Máxima Centrum and TU Delft. The research project explores how interactive objects can be designed in order to become a tactful support for children with cancer and their families during the treatment phase. 

Dealing with cancer, can generate emotional burden and tension in the relationships inside the family. AscoltaMe, (‘Listen to Me’ in Italian), a design developed within this project, is meant to stimulate communication among family members and talk about emotions and difficult things. It works like the ‘broken phone game’ that children can use to leave quick messages to the parents and trigger conversations in a new and playful way.

PhD Exploration

Patrizia D'Olivo
Marco Rozendaal (Daily Supervisor)
Elisa Giaccardi (Promotor)
Martha Grootenhuis (Promotor)
Jaap Huisman (External Advisor)

This project represents an example of how design and research used in sensitive settings can be combined to generate potential solutions that go beyond traditional intervention in the healthcare sector and that promote innovative research approaches. Designing the New Normal is an -in progress– project that investigates the role of objects and technologies in the everyday context of families struggling with disruptive life events and it tries to create knowledge towards the definition of a broader concept of ‘Tactful Design’. A new concept of design that brings together methodologies, approaches and hands-on work to reflect on how is possible to design with empathy and tactfulness when we are dealing with sensitive contexts and complex systems of users.


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