Designing for the Future of Independent Living
In the Fall of 2016, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) partnered with Vijay Kumar’s Design Planning Workshop at the IIT Institute of Design (ID) to better understand the challenges, perspectives, and meaningful moments of customers and providers within the Home Services Program (HSP).
The HSP is a program within the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) that providers services to individuals with severe disabilities so they can remain in their homes and be as independent as possible.
The following body of work explains the process we took to better understand the program through the many diverse perspectives within it. It also lays the groundwork for the opportunity spaces and ideas that for DHS to improve the program experience for all.
Team: Xiaomeng Jiang, Madison Loew, Meng Yan, Sara Tashakorinia
Our Research Approach
We conducted interviews with 10 key stakeholders in the Department of Human Services, as well as related bodies with differing perspectives: SEIU (union) and ACCESS Living (an alternative independent living center). We had the chance to do 13 ethnographic interviews with program participants and their caregivers, giving us the much needed view of the user experience.
Analysis & Synthesis
In order to bring the experiences of home service program participants to life, we had to do more than just share some slides with our findings. Kicking off our co-design workshop with the Department of Human Services by grounding everyone in the user perspective as well as creating empathy for the user made imagining future and directions for the project much easier.
As a class, we developed eight directions that helped move the home services program toward the realities of independent living.