Invisible to Visible: Identifying the Emerging Communication Needs in the ‘New Normal’ through Design Research
The pandemic, which started at the end of 2019, has affected societies in their own socio-cultural contexts and altered the interactions of human beings through their use of personal spaces and objects. Changes in the design of a wide range of objects varying from small tools to urban furniture are anticipated, as the “new normal” will be fully established in the coming months and years. We believe that each individual is recognized to be affected by a different aspect of pandemic, which yielded the fact that for such cases the paradigm for design may shift to favor user needs more than maintaining usability. This study examined the personal behavioral transformations after the acceptance of “new normal” and how these would be reflected on the design of everyday objects, tools or spaces. In order to address this problem, we developed design research method that was based on the tales of utopic cities found in the novel Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino. In this method, students, who already started living under the requirements of curfew, were guided to turn inwards and relate with their needs that arouse in the pandemic period with one selected city narrative and try to find design solutions based on the metaphorical narration and language used in the selected story. From the analysis of 17 works based on abductive reasoning, we obtained results in two different categories: (i) 5 generic cases supported by user scenarios, (ii) 3 groups of artifacts interacted by analogue means.
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