Children And New Experiences- Little Observational Research Experts
When a young child is experiencing something for the first time, they seem to be so deeply absorbed as they observe with open eyes and an open mind. I’m sure we could all slow down a little to experience life and really understand what is going on around us, instead of letting it fly by without noticing… What else might we be missing out on?
As a designer we use very similar skills during our design process. We call this human-centred observational research; gaining empathy to identify the unmet needs of the end user. The things that have been overlooked, that no-one else noticed. The inspiration for the ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ design solution.
Noticing The Little Things
The most famous question I hear from my children is “why?” Kids are so naturally inquisitive their curiosity leads the way. They have this deep desire to learn about the big wide world; to watch from a train, pick a flower, jump in puddles, explore, find the answer, observe people, listen to noises and study how a caterpillar crawls. They seem to want to understand how and why in every little detail. There is desire to try new things, to absorb their environment with open ears and eyes to learning. They are always the ones that notice the little things.
Learning About People
I’ve seen how my young child may watch someone closely with big wide eyes and a fixed stare, without feeling like they are invading someone else’s privacy. I can see they are learning everyone is different, people do things in different ways and maybe even how to relate to others and simply make that human connection.
Time To Experience
As my child sits on the train to watch the world race by they are taking it all in. What they see as well as the feeling, the whole experience. It’s something new, something exciting to add to their memory bank of life. They love new opportunities with time to listen, observe, learn and quietly absorb it all. Then I just have to find the time to answer all those questions…
Everyday there are new opportunities. My kids don’t need to look far to learn something new, to study something…. as little as the way grapes connect together on a stem and how easily you can pluck each and every one of them off. The resulting ‘skeleton’ is just as fascinating.
I’m trying to spend more time experiencing things with a fresh mind, from a new perspective rather than taking it for granted. I wonder what we could learn, what we may discover, just by using our beginner’s mind.