Taking the advice from my three mentors, I took the time to break down my design concept even further. Here are the results:
Current Elements of Physical Model:
The overall model consists of contained space, shapes, forms, colors, textures, levels, heights, and removable parts. I am going to advance on this design by figuring out which ones are really necessary and which ones I can combine in order to simplify the overall design.
The ‘mat‘ is an element of contained space, limiting the boundaries and adding material to the design that might be restricting the possibilities of use. It could be the main part to remove from the design, leaving the tiled pieces as the main focus.
The ‘three stages of tiles‘ consists of moveable parts and is the most important and impactful element of the design. However, having the three separate stages might be too much. It makes the design far too complicated, increases the amount of parts required, and is too defined at this stage of the design. I will continue focusing on this aspect in order to pull out the individual elements from each stage and then further break those down.
A Breakdown of the Three Stages:
Stage One – Consists of textures, two-dimensional flat pieces, hard and soft pieces, rearrangeable parts, elements of varying resistance, and an overall tactile focus.
Stage Two – Consists of textures, three-dimensional pieces, various angles, different heights, curves, edges, hard and soft pieces, and shapes.
Stage Three – Consists of three-dimensional pieces, removable parts, cause-and-effect factors, interacting parts, and an audial element.
Important Overall Elements:
Having gone through the lists above, I narrowed down all the elements into the four most crucial elements to continue developing.
1. Texture. Varying textures enhance the overall sensory experience. They allow varied levels of surface resistance and an eased transition into the surrounding environment once the child’s mobility is gained. Lastly, having their limbs be in contact with a number of different textures heightens their sense and awareness of their own bodies. The textured surfaces are stimulating for them.
2. Varying Resistance. This element has the possibility to make certain tasks harder or easier for the child, depending on what is needed at the time. Too much support and resistance does not allow the child to advance, while too little support and resistance does not help them when they need it.
3. 3D Elements. While the two-dimensional elements are helpful, they can be combined with the three-dimensional forms to have fewer elements with a greater purpose. The three-dimensional elements can be incredibly helpful throughout this entire development process. They can be used for basic purposes in the beginning and for more advanced, creative purposes as the child develops physically (and in effect, mentally as well).
4. Removable Parts. The parent and child can use this element together. In the beginning, the parent can rearrange the parts for the child and as the child develops physically, he/she can play a bigger role in the setup of the design. This allows the product to advance in stages along with the child. In a sense, they are growing and advancing together. Lastly, it further enhances the child’s fine motor skills once the gross motor skills have been developed. The child is able to move the individual elements around on the floor and take them apart using their hands, depending on the future design of each piece and how detailed they will become.