Help me define a social design issue!

So for my final project of the semester we were instructed to design a toy or a tool in solidworks. It could be an existing one or our own design. I decided to take this project in my own personal design goal directions, which is to be socially responsible with my designs. However, I am having the worst time trying to define a social design issue. There are so many that are so broad. Any ideas? I was aiming towards design a toy that helps children with a specific need.

Ask yourself enough questions and the answer will appear!

Is it a Toy or Tool? (you picked toy already so you’re halfway there!)
What is it’s function? (help special needs children)
What specific special need?
Why is this need important?
What it the toys function?
What is the best color/shape/material?
How can you make it socially responsible?
What are your socially responsible goals?

Etc Etc. Make a good list of questions and answer them. The design issue will solve itself with enough questions!!

You really have to design from the inside out. What I mean by that is choose exactly what you’re designing for. If it’s a toy for children w/ disabilities then what’s the disability? What are the hardships encountered by this disability? What is currently in the market specific to this disability? I always thought in school it was hard to get such open ended projects, so you have to act like you are your own client and set yourself up w/ a specific goal in mind. The more specific research you do on the front end before even picking up a nice sharp indigo prisma the easier it will be to design to an end result.

design a toy ehich makes it fun for kids to exercise - or anything else - there are millions of ideas out there. I had a similar project at uni. I ended up designing hearing aids for the ‘i-pod’ generation - god knows how i got to that one - I think most schools set this brief mainly to open up students eyes to just how many design briefs are actually out there and also to prove that design is not just about making money (or making more money)

good luck


yeah if you want meaningful design… design a toy that will get children to learn something or exercise without them knowing it.

There will be some interesting material that you can look into rewarding techniques/mechanisms. Get them to do something, and reward them for doing it.

And remember toys aren’t just for kids… you’ve got animal toys, and adult toys… and children’s toys that get hijacked by adults (eg. Nerf anyone?)

I think I’ve defined it as facilitating social interaction through play.