Making Tactful Objects for Sensitive Settings

A Research through Design Process

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This contribution illustrates the Research through Design process of Mr.V the Spaceman, a tactful object meant to support families of children with cancer maintain a healthy domestic life during stressful times. By recounting insights from the field and unfolding changes to the original artifact over a period of two years, the paper illuminates how an understanding of tactfulness has emerged and developed into a key design quality for this work. This complex and entangled process of making is surfaced and illustrated by a rich and scrupulous annotation of the artisanal craft and technological explorations that led from the original Mr.V prototype to what is now Mr.V the Spaceman.