A group of local senior citizens recently supplied a critical building block to the design projects of some Virginia Tech students — honest feedback.
“As opposed to loved ones, they’re not afraid to tell us our idea is not going to help them,” said Jordan Jones, a Virginia Tech student. “You know, my grandma would be like, ‘Oh, that’s so great, Jordan.’ But they’ll just tell us, ‘I don’t want that.’”
Jones was one of about 40 third-year students studying industrial design to receive such feedback from residents at Warm Hearth Village, a senior living community near the Blacksburg campus, on a recent Monday.
It was the students’ third of four visits to the facility as part of their semester-long group project to design and create items that make routine tasks easier for people as they age. This meeting was specifically scheduled to gather real-life insights from the very population they aim to help.
“It’s about learning how to really respond to those human needs when you look through the eyes of someone else by incorporating those needs into your decision-making process,” said Martha Sullivan, department chair and an assistant professor of practice in industrial design.