Welcome back to my first week at Designability! Apart from having a cold for the first half of it, the week has gone really well. I have received such a warm welcome and I could not have asked for a more supportive environment to carry out a three-year project. In this blog post, I will share a few things that have contributed to my first week.
My Working Week
Designability is based at the Royal United Hosptials (RUH) in Bath, and I have found the atmosphere to be just right for me. Over the duration of my project, I will not have much contact with other departments in the hospital, but the hive of research and care is clear when you walk through the corridors. Artwork hung all along the main corridors makes the space feel much less intimidating, which I imagine is a comfort for many of the people who make their way through the hospital. Also - and I know it's not the most important part of running a hospital - the canteen food is delicious!
Another aspect I like about being embedded in a workplace is the (approximately) nine 'til five structure. Sometimes, unless you are a very disciplined person, research and studying can be too ad hoc, with 11 AM starts, two-hour lunch breaks, and 9 PM finishes. I am happy to be back in a routine, especially because I get involved with extra-curricular activities three evenings out of five.
To maintain links with my academic peers, I will be spending one day a week at university. Being so close to the university will allow me to take advantage of the expertise of my academic supervisors, as well as to share my work with other members of the department. I think this arrangement will lead to a more balanced research project and ensure I keep on track.
Getting To Know All About Designability
During my induction week, staff members at Designability have been giving me an insight into their roles and how these contribute to the varied work carried out here. I have heard from members of the design and engineering teams about how they go about developing products for end users, as well as learning about the more administrative roles, like communicating what Designability does via social media.
What is clear from my induction events is that everyone at Designability is on the same page: Designing with the end-user in mind is key to successfully developing products that people will want to use and from which they will benefit. Everything from getting user feedback on prototypes to making the product look attractive and not stigmatised as "for disabled people" is important to get the product right. This ethos is exactly what attracted me to Designability in the first instance, so it is wonderful to see it in action.
Everyone at Designability is helpful and willing to share their experiences, which has made my first week much easier to manage. I am lucky to have a wealth of support and knowledge around me to aid me in my research over the next three years.
This first week has only made me more excited and motivated to get stuck into the research, which is a good thing since I already have a three-page-long to-do list to get through! The focus at the moment is on learning about dementia and the people who have it, as well as trying out some of the technologies we might be using, like the HoloLens.
Next week I will be meeting with my supervisors for our "kick off" meeting, during which we will discuss the work I have carried out so far. Talk to you all then!