Children’s toys are amongst the last places you’d expect to find toxic chemicals. After all,…
The designer’s job has radically changed in recent decades, it continues to evolve and receive interesting stimuli and facing challenges of global impact; we are not telling you anything new but it is good to stop sometimes and think about how our profession is closely linked to a social context and observe how it influences and is influenced by technological and human progress. I have recently made these thoughts when I discovered and deepened the project ‘Design for Children’s right guide’, or the guide to design with respect for children’s rights and to act at the core of the creative process.
The project was born in Helsinki in 2018 during an event that brought together designers, researchers, neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, educators and experts in children’s rights in collaboration with UNICEF. Since then there have been many steps forward, especially in refining the guide and spreading it as much as possible between the interested public and companies in the sector; in this regard, an association was founded, Designing for Children’s Rights (D4CR) – Association, with the aim of establishing new standards for the design related to the youngest and to inform about their rights, as established by the United Nations.
The guide consists of 10 principles, you can find them on this page, which mainly touch on three macro themes:
- Inclusiveness, intended not only of gender or age, but also as collaboration in the game and participation in the creative process;
- Consciousness, in the sense of guiding the child in understanding himself and what surrounds him, even through moments of rest;
- Security, not only “physical”, but above all technological.
This last topic is particularly interesting in this historical period, in fact the guide underlines the importance of protecting users from the dangers of the web, from the data business and from unwanted contents. We talked about it in this article and besides considering necessary a concrete action on the subject, we think that the attention to the safety of the child in the design and communication phase can be transformed into a key value at the moment of the parents’ choice of purchase; they are indeed increasingly aware of the less crystalline sides of the network, in particular regarding the products and services for children.
But it doesn’t end here, because the guide to design with respect for children’s rights is accompanied by a series of useful methods and practices, a kind of toolkit, for every designer. On the website there’s a list of tools that the designer can use in the five design phases (research, definition, development, prototyping and evaluation) divided according to the “double diamond” scheme, dear to design thinking.
Both the guide and the association are under development and looking for support; we believe that provide the principles and tools for a child-friendly ethical design is an excellent starting point that can meet the approval of many designers involved in these issues; it would probably be useful, as a future step, to show on the website some examples of worth products or companies, case studies “approved” by the association or developed following the principles and methodologies indicated, to bring the theoretical indications into reality.
Images source: Twitter @D4C_Guide