A few months back, I posted a bit about a project which Madeline Balaam and I are doing in a children's hospital. We've been asked to write a report recommending how technology enhanced play can be incorporated into the design of a new building for the hospital which will open in 2017. We've now finished the first phase of our consultation with patients, parents and the play specialists on staff. After observing children in the play rooms, and interviewing various people who kindly spared some time, and reading the literature we came up with a set of design principals and then design stories based on them.
Here is a draft list of the design principals. Play technology in the hospital should:
- Offer age appropriate opportunities for creative, imaginative, expressive and therapeutic play
- Support comfort and rest: technology can be used to make surroundings more pleasant when patients are feeling unwell
- Enable play with children and their parents
- Support family and friendship ties- patients need to communicate with their friends, classmates, teachers and family members outside the hospital.
- Help children to make new friends within the hospital – patients should have opportunities to meet other children of their own age within the hospital
- Foster a community – build a sense of belonging and contributing to something positive
- Keep patients in touch with the outside world: patients can engage with nature, the passing of time and seasons and world events. If they cannot go into the outside world, it can be brought to them
- Enable patients to express their emotions, even if they are negative.
- Offer opportunities for children to care and nurture.
- Meet health and safety requirements in terms of medical restrictions, infection control and child protection
Our design stories are here. They are based on the principals above as you will see. I'd love it if you could add some comments and suggestions. Children, parents and staff at the hospital will be doing the same (am going to start this process on Radio Lollipop tonight), but we are keen to consult more widely. Particularly with knowledgeable (and may I say charming) technologists such as yourself.