Wheelchair Bodystorming

Yesterday, at the Design Thinking for Start-ups class, Alice gave us the task to find how to improve the Business School building making it easier to navigate for people using wheelchairs. So, to find solutions in the best possible way, we did a “bodystorming”; this technique consists on physically experiencing a situation to understand the users and create new ideas.

We were divided into teams and the bodystorming started. We took turns with the rest of groups to perambulate through the building pretending one of our team members was using a wheelchair. To made-up this situation, we took a computer chair. Without our help, she was supposed to go to different places inside the building like the coffee shop on the ground floor, the bathrooms on the 2ndfloor and back to the classroom on the 3rdfloor

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During the route, we realized that the building wasn’t 100% adapted for disabled people. The first problem we faced happened as soon as we exit the class. While we were going to the elevator, we came up with many fire security doors that were too heavy to open for someone on a wheelchair. The next problem was coming back to the class and trying to pulling the door, it was again too heavy and almost impossible to do it in one single movement. The last issue that we find was when trying to seat at the class tables, we realized that the wheelchair wouldn’t fit under it, so the person must take his own desk or table.

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To solve all these problems, we redesign both the building and the wheelchair. In the case of the building, we came up with the idea to draw some lines on the floor to show disabled people the shortest and fastest way to go wherever they want. We also thought about an app including a map of the building that can make it easier. And about the wheelchair, we designed a sketch that solves some problems I mentioned above, like being shorter to fit on every single table. After the experience, we presented our ideas to the rest of the groups. It was my first bodystorming and actually, I really enjoyed it. It gave us the opportunity to put us on others shoes and realize how disabled people make huge efforts to go to anyplace.

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