Empowering Children as Design Informants through Generative Design Research

Süner Pla Cerda S., Erbuğ Ç.

in: Creativity in Educational Research and Practice, Elena Xeni, Editor, Brill, pp.41-54, 2019

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Brill
  • Page Numbers: pp.41-54
  • Editors: Elena Xeni, Editor
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


In user research, empathy is a challenging yet vital element to better understand user needs and expectations. This issue is more critical in design research with children. Designers have a natural tendency to think as adults, and thinking within the framework of children’s mental models become forefront as a compelling issue. Innovation requires experiential and generative research methods in order to reveal tacit user knowledge instead of predicating on assumptions about the user. The aim of this chapter is to explore the potential of familiar tools and techniques to elicit experiences and ideas of young children to inform design process. A co-design project of a children’s slide was conducted in individual sessions with 20 preschool children using drawing, clay modelling and drama as creative techniques to convey ideas. Results show that each and mixture of the techniques empowers children to communicate ideas about various dimensions of product attributes and experience such as form, size, emotion, and safety.