What are SuperPowers?
Everyone experiences limitations in their daily lives. This can be because of several reasons. More importantly is that people develop skills to circumvent these limitations. For children with physical disabilities, we call these skills ‘Superpowers’. These superpowers are important because we at Usuall believe that we should focus on the strengths of a child, instead of solely zooming in on their disability. A product should amplify the strengths of a person whilst compensating for their limitations.
A PRODUCT SHOULD
AMPLIFY A PERSON’S
POWERS, NOT JUST
In order to integrate a product into somebody’s life, it is important that it fits within their daily routine and lifestyle. When we base the design of a product on the Superpowers of a child, there is a higher chance that he/she will want to use the product. In turn, this can increase the impact of the product.
How to use SuperPowers?
Use the Superpower template to find the Superpowers of the intended user of your product. We advise you to formulate the Superpowers for the most important actors within the life of a child. These can be: the child itself, the parents and the peers. You can discover their Superpowers during interviews with them. Ask them what they are proud of, what things are easy for them and what things are slightly more difficult about the situation.
Critically assess your product/project with the help of the Superpowers you have found in the discovery phase. Try to answer the following questions:
i. Which Superpower(s) does/doesn’t your product/project support? Why?
ii. Which Superpower(s) would/wouldn’t you prefer to be supported by the product/project? Why?
iii. How can your product/project make use of the Superpower(s)?
Create a redesign based on the answers to the three aforementioned questions.
After redesigning your product, reflect on the product/project with your intended user. How do they perceive your product? Can you discover Superpowers that you hadn’t thought of previously? The Superpowers are used to actively search for solutions that emphasise the strengths of your intended user instead of just focusing on their limitations.
The Superpowers are used to shift the mindset and actively search for solutions that emphasise your users strengths within your project.
Children grow mentally and physically. Becoming too big for their bike and too old for their puzzles is part of the growing process. In general children adapt continuously to their new products. Children with physical disabilities transform even more physically and need to adapt faster to their new products. (SuperPower: being flexible) Because the children deal with a lot of different supportive devices during their daily life, they know which support they need for certain daily activities. (SuperPowers: make choices independently)
The Midway, a project by Leon van Klaveren, makes use of these SuperPowers. It is a vehicle that can be used as a kick-scooter, push-trike or as a e-tricycle. The Midway is able to provide different types of support (being flexible) where the child can choose from and easily switch between (make choices independently).