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Sculpture is often concerned with mapping the human body and locating it in relation to the world. Sculptors create objects that are meant to be seen, felt, walked around and directly experienced. Interaction designers, too, are concerned with creating and defining experiences for their audience to directly engage in. Why not see what the one can contribute to the other? Are there things to be learned from sculpture that can be applied to interaction design?
Through ethnographic observations, conversations with sculptors and sculpture aficionados, and an extensive literature review on art history, theory and criticism I have endeavored to answer those questions. Over time, I have identified six aspects of sculpture that are applicable to interaction design: context, multiple viewpoints, bodily empathy, physical parts, multi-sensory engagement and form. During the talk, I will introduce these aspects and use them to critically examine existing interactive artifacts and suggest ways to use them as design lenses.
Will the promise of Critical Design deliver after the disappointment of ethnography? Interaction Designers expected ethnography to reveal rich insights that would inform the creation of better products, services and experiences. However the pressure of solution-focused design practice turned out to be a poor fit with ethnography’s concern with meaning and cultures. In response, Critical Design is emerging as a new strategy for exploring the space that lies tantalisingly beyond the current and the now.
At the core of ethnography is observation and therein lies the appeal to Interaction Designers. The disappointment has been in the failure to translate from the rich descriptive picture of ethnography into the generation of requirements. This expectation reveals a misunderstanding as to the purpose of ethnography. Ethnography uncovers meaning, it does not identify problems or solutions. Interaction Designers have responded by taking a more ‘designerly’ approach to requirements generation by considering both the problem and the solution in a more fluid and intertwined manner. In this vein, Critical Design presents design as a catalyst or provocation for thought. Through ‘design fictions’ the approach attempts to challenge assumptions and preconceptions about the role that products and services play in everyday life. A series recent of workshops will be discussed that have blended aspects of ethnography and Critical Design to identify the future paradigms of interaction in the urban environment.
Designing a hand-held device presents a number of challenges. Designing that device for use by folks with impaired physical abilities introduces another layer of complexity. Ensuring that the experience is appropriate for an audience from five year-old kids to ninety five year-old retirees controlling one of their senses is just downright difficult.
Matt & Shane recently worked with Australian innovator and international success story Cochlear to design device to help bionic ear implant recipients monitor and control their hearing. The design represented an evolution to a simpler more usable device.
Particular attention is given to:
Design artefacts: wireframes and screen mock-ups showing evolution from early design concepts through refined user interface.
The full UX lifecycle including; ethnographic research, iterative design cycles and usability testing with Cochlear implant recipients.
The approach taken to coordinate design exercises across multiple teams including; industrial design, ergonomics, electronics, software design, graphic design and small-screen user interface design.
The delicate balance required when attempting to improve user experience without completely confounding the expectations of a large and vocal existing user-base.
The objective of this case study is to provide conference delegates with genuine insight into the design process by exposing the methods and also by showing the actual designs at various points of their development.
Along the way, we detail the pitfalls encountered and outline the practical solutions that were applied. Processes and lessons learned are applicable across UX projects of all types, not just mobile and hand-held product design projects.
1st–4th February 2012