Online Course: Culture Sensitive Design
Cultural sensitivity and understanding can stimulate the potential for innovation in new product and service design. This course will show you how! Could a valuable (and healthy) innovative idea, such as the use of hot air technology to fry food be adopted worldwide? Can indigenous patterns and other forms of native art be used to decorate products regardless of their context and meaning? Can the way we look at and compare cultural differences and practices be a source of inspiration in product and service design? This course will take participants beyond the obvious into the unexplored. It will expand their view and move their research from the realm of the traditional user-product environment into the cultural context. Cultural sensitivity will help, not only to avoid mismatches between designs and intended users, but it will also prove a great source of inspiration and opportunities for new product design. This course is geared towards working design professionals who want to gain insight into why culture is relevant for their work, through what lens they can study culture and how they can examine culture and apply the results to their work. You will learn to:
- Identify culture and its role, both from a personal and professional perspective.
- Recognize and understand cultural terms.
- Reflect on the influence of culture on individual and collective identity.
- Provide personal examples of the terms used during the course.
- Determine opportunities for applying culture as a tool while designing.
- Integrate cultural tools and theory into a design project.
- Judge the use of the cultural approach in other projects.
Real world examples
In a comparatively new field of study it would be easy for a course to be highly theoretical but Culture Sensitive Design includes concrete examples of the theories applied to practical design contexts. Think ahead: A company developed a hot air fryer that was intended for frying French fries. At a later stage of the development the company realized that the technological principle of frying with hot air - which limits the use of oil and is therefore very healthy - was a valuable idea, worth exporting worldwide. However, the initial product was based on Western food culture and did not fit the requirements of Asian food culture yet. Avoid mismatches: A designer was fascinated by an indigenous pattern and decided to use it as a styling element for shoe design. Through a lack of understanding of the culture the context, way of use, function, and moreover, the meaning of the pattern, was completely changed. The original users of the pattern as it was first intended felt offended and complained via social media. Find new product ideas: In a design research project on sustainable bathing, cultural variety was consciously used to broaden the perspective about the ways people bathe around the world and the cultural significance of bathing. A comparison between bathing in Japan, India and the Netherlands helped to gain a deeper understanding and to generate new, and more sustainable, ways of bathing, such as bucket bathing which maintains hygiene and conserves water. Be adaptable: The mobile phone was initially designed for individual use. However, in some parts of the world it was found that people shared a phone where its design did not support this collective way of use. The finding led to suggestions for modifications, such as multiple address books on a single phone, so that each user could maintain a separate contact list.
- Cost: € 325
- Course length: 7 weeks
- Estimated effort: 3 - 4 hours per week
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Last updated November 29, 2017