Family time becomes difficult with limited resources
According to James Heckman, the greatest disadvantage of poverty for children is not in the lack of income or parental education, but in the quality of family life. These parents are time poor and as a result, kids have have less positive engagement with them. Ultimately, low income children are disadvantaged because they are less likely to be exposed to interpersonal experiences that protect them against the toxic effects of adversity, foster well-being, and allow for non-cognitive skills to develop.
Develop user insights to find opportunities for family time
The purpose of this workshop was to glean important insights about family life for low-income families. The aim was to understand and generate ideas collaboratively in order to help inform design decisions for product development.
Visualizing quality time
Participants were first asked to fill out a worksheet individually. They were prompted to define quality time in their own terms, mark when it happens, draw what it looks like visually, state the prerequisites required, and admit the challenges they face to achieve it. Each participant then listed out the sequence of significant events that occurs in their family during a typical school day.
Identifying common ground
Once the worksheet was complete, participants transferred their answers to stickers and placed each sticker respectively on a timeline. The blue stickers represented their own actions and the yellow stickers described the actions of their children. In groups of 2, the participants shared each other’s stories and worked together to identify areas during the day where new opportunities for family time may exist.
Creating new rituals out of the existing time parents and kids share together
This workshop proved to be very generative and revealed that there are many moments throughout the day where kids and parents are physically together, but their interactions aren’t always acknowledged as family time.
This workshop was conducted as part of my graduate thesis, Closer Kin: Building Stronger Family Environments by Design
at SVA Products of Design