Designing an Experience-oriented Charity Center for Physically Disabled People: An Iranian Experience, Case Study of Raid Charity Center

By Najmeh Mirzaie and Vahid Choopankareh.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In several countries like Iran, people with physical disabilities are faced with numerous difficulties in obtaining equal participation in the society due to mistreatment from irresponsible organizations and communities. Charity centers, as groups concerned with physical disabilities, have the potential to ameliorate the gap between the disabled people and the society. Unfortunately, most of these centers are still managed with traditional principles, thus falling short of understanding users’ real needs, especially those related to social and emotional aspects. Through studying experience design, product service systems, and especially scenario-oriented design this paper investigates the process of designing services in charity centers for the physically disabled. The two key factors considered in designing services were substituting general services with individual consideration of users ‘needs and advocating the participation of users directly in every level. The Raid charity center, which provides services for physically disabled people, in Tehran, Iran, was chosen as the case study. Studying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the center, identifying users’ main needs, and designing an agile center are different steps in this designing process. The agile center services—from users’ first visit to the center to the diverse range of physical or psychological treatments—were arranged with the premises of individualism and consideration of user’s characteristics, rather than offering the same typical services for everyone. These services have been generated under the supervision of a research core, which was incorporated into the center’s management. This group, consisted of members from former successfully trained users, improved the practicability of the services and users’ experiences in the center and society. Art therapy, valuable entertainment during users’ leisure time at the center, and necessary communications with related organizations and communities for career opportunities are among the different examinations that have been conducted in the research core.

Keywords: Experience Design, Product Service System, Scenario-oriented Design, Charity Center, Physically Disabled People

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.109-128. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.467MB).

Najmeh Mirzaie

MA, Department of Industrial Design, University of Tehran, Mountain View, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Najmeh Mirzaie born in 1983 received her B.F.A. and MFA. degrees in Industrial Design program in Iran. During her studies, she became particularly interested in how the situation of neglected environments and people’s lives have been affected by inappropriate designs. She inspired to concentrate her projects in limited access areas for these groups such as her master thesis that was about developing the services of physically disabled people charity centers in regard of their users’ perspectives and direct participations. She published the results of her studies in different national and international conferences and journal such as “Social design approach in developing countries’ design” (The Tarh va Namad journal of Iran University of Science and Technology, 2010) and “Designing an Oxygen Room” (Seoul Design Olympiad, 2008). Moreover, she engaged in different communities and exhibitions like Iranian Industrial Design community (Nov. 2006-present) and has lots of practical experience as a designer and researcher in different companies. After moving to America she has specialized her personal studies in information-communication design for urban public spaces, experience design, health services, and sustainable behavior.

Dr. Vahid Choopankareh

Chair, Department of Industrial Design, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)