As much as we might desire it, the future we face will not be predictable. We are living in a fast-changing and uncertain time––a disruptive age. And we are entering this new global order with a way of seeing and thinking better suited for a world now several centuries behind us. A world that could be explained in simpler terms, when you could expect and carefully plan for gradual shifts in the status quo.
The world has changed, but design, like so any other institutions, has barely kept pace. This discussion delves into three aspects of contemporary design that depart from 20th century modernity—without ignoring its inherent wisdom. This narrative journey playfully unveils major pillars of contemporary social thought applied to interaction design, touching on a wide array of topics from vampire movies and dance festivals to space aliens and horticulture.
by Kel Smith
Despite our growing potential to augment human capability through technology, the innovation curve sometimes leaves behind people who could most benefit. We’ll call this group the “digital outcasts” (a term introduced by researchers from the University of Sussex), and they ironically reside at the epicenter of today’s most exciting developments.
On a purely grass-roots level, digital outcasts are taking it upon themselves to improve and sustain their success in life. They are doing this through personally customized solutions that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Interestingly, their efforts then contribute mightily to the same technological landscape that originally neglected them. For such an important (and growing) demographic, this represents a cultural sea change of increasing significance.
Participants of this session will explore the significance of digital outcasts in the creation of such emerging technologies as mobile apps, video games, personalized robotics and virtual worlds. Emphasis will be placed on products and services in the health sector, with recent case studies spanning multiple therapeutic contexts: blindness/low vision, long-term rehabilitation, oncology, physical therapy, degenerative disease, cognitive disorders and opioid-free pain management. Practical examples will include such platforms as the iPad, Nintendo Wii, haptic interfaces, virtual prosthetics, text-to-speech functionality, eye-tracking, adaptive mobile devices and Second Life.
Regardless of channel – at some point in their lives, everyone gets older and must enter the digital looking glass. This presentation will emphasize the importance of embracing universal design principles throughout development cycles, thus creating ambient, barrier-free benefit to consumers of all abilities and backgrounds.
If you've ever shouted at a computer, you'll know that they can be infuriating colleagues. Since Asimov's iRobot we've recognised that human-computer relationships are beset by disfunction. Inconsistency and lack of ‘emotional intelligence’ are computers’ personality disorders. We have an opportunity to create context-aware interfaces with emotional intelligence. How can we do this and apply it today in defining and designing interactions?
How can computers work with teams of people? For instance, Belbin Team Roles tell us about how different personality types play specific roles on teams. What roles are suited to computers’ strengths? What feature sets and behaviours will make them coherent, consistent team players that human members can relate to? I'll show this is a tool that attendees can apply immediately.
I've interviewed professionals such as psychiatrists and negotiators to see how they apply emotional intelligence. For instance, negotiators adapt their behaviour to others’ stress levels. They don't tell an angry person to ‘calm down’ – they mirror their emotional level and ‘bring them down’. I'll show how we can already detect users’ emotional states and how to apply this knowledge. I'll propose techniques for attendees to discuss and apply.
The presentation will focus on stories, tips and discussion. But I'll provide plenty of references and reading recommendations for the audience to explore afterwards.
We often talk about emotion in terms of the user's experience. It's time computers got emotionally smarter. This presentation will give attendees tools to design interfaces that do that.
This presentation aims to identify and explain differences (and similarities) between how interaction design is practiced in the US and Europe. While Europeans have a rich depth of shared cultural references to draw upon amongst narrow groups, Americans tend to share broader, yet more fleeting, contemporary popular references. Shared references shape how mental models are formed, therefore these differences have an effect on how we create and communicate, ultimately influencing the design process as a whole.
Using anecdotes from their own experiences, the presenters, who practice in Europe and America respectively, will explore how shared references between users, practitioners, and clients influence design processes and practice internationally. Understanding how these differences can inform interaction design will be framed through the lens of cognitive theory and ethnography, providing foundational context for the discussion.
Attendees can expect to learn about unique cultural factors in process and practice that they can directly apply to their own work, regardless of the country or region where they practice. In addition to gaining a depth of understanding about the global interaction design community, attendees will expand their knowledge of methods for understanding representation and reference.
Mobile user experience is a new frontier. Untethered from a keyboard and mouse, this rich design space is lush with opportunity to invent new and more human ways for people to interact with information. Invention requires casting off many anchors and conventions inherited from the last 50 years of computer science and traditional design and jumping head first into a new and unfamiliar design space.
In this talk, Rachel will provide:
Insight into how designers and UX professionals can navigate the unfamiliar and fast-changing mobile landscape with grace and solid thinking.
In-depth information on advanced mobile design topics UX professionals will spend the next 10+ years pioneering
Tools and frameworks necessary to begin tackling mobile UX problems in this rapidly changing design space.
What happens when you decouple design from the marketplace, when rather than making technology sexy, easy to use and more consumable, designers use the language of design to pose questions, inspire, and provoke — to transport our imaginations into parallel but possible worlds?
Once you start doing this you are effectively dealing with fiction and very different aesthetics come into play.
In my talk I will use examples from the Design Interactions programme at the RCA and my own studio to discuss aesthetic issues around crafting design speculations, such as engagement, ambiguity, suspension of disbelief, and different kinds of thought experiments (e.g.: counterfactuals, what if…, and reductio ad absurdum).
by Jonas Lowgren
What is a “designerly way of working”? In my view, the core elements of design are to investigate possible futures, to address all aspects of quality in parallel (think aesthetics and utility), to grow an understanding of the “problem” by developing attempts to “solve” it, and to think through sketching and other tangible forms of representation.
In interaction design practice, I find that a designerly stance based on the elements outlined above most often manifests itself in Exploring and Sketching.
Exploring as in assuming that there is a wide space of possible designs ahead of us, and we need to learn about its topology to know where the most promising directions are. Moreover, we can involve users in exploring the possibilities together, rather than merely asking them about the point in the space they currently inhabit.
The main vehicle for exploration is Sketching, where possible designs are materialized in ways that are specific enough to assess their qualities, yet lightweight enough to be disposable. Sketching interaction design comes with a set of particular challenges, since the essence of the sketched idea is nearly always in its temporal properties – how the interaction unfolds over time.
In this keynote, I will examine Exploration, Sketching and other designerly ways of working in interaction design practice, illustrate them by means of examples and assess them in relation to professional standards.
Gamification is the process of applying game design elements to non-game contexts in order to drive user engagement, influence behavior and improve the user experience associated with digital products and services. Over the past year, the practice of gamification has exploded, fueled by marketing hype, media curiosity and spirited debate. While much of the discussion has revolved around extrinsic reward mechanisms as a panacea for customer loyalty and engagement, the most important and effective motivational dynamics of games have been left on the table.
In this presentation I’ll cut through the hype and draw from the fundamentals of game psychology, double-tapping into the techniques game designers use to motivate, engage and guide players through a game’s lifecycle. In doing so, I’ll lay out a model for architecting user engagement, directing behavior and satisfying the needs of both users and business alike.
While we have put men on the moon, mapped the human genome and found cures for various diseases that previously decimated humanity, the scientific, organized understanding of human motivation and behaviour largely remains the undiscovered country. It shouldn't and, if we have anything to say, it won't.
Join Dirk as he diagnoses why and how the essential, internal human condition has been left to wither while external, physical aspects of the world have been developed seemingly beyond the limits of human comprehension. Then, he will illustrate the immense opportunity that now lies before us to revolutionize how we understand ourselves and others, and what impact use of that knowledge can have on us as citizens, designers and marketers.
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.
by Abi Jones
In your head you've probably called your users a lot of names, but is ‘Hobbits’ one of them?
Thinking about your users as Hobbits can help you frame the use of your website or application and help you put yourself in the user's shoes. Uh, except they’re hobbits, so they’re not wearing shoes.
Thinking about your users Hobbits will help you by:
Establishing a path through the application
Creating a call to adventure (even if you work in online banking)
Showing how to overcome Frodo's (ahem, a user's) refusal of the call
Introducing a mentor (like Gandalf or Yoda)
Helping users overcome an ordeal (ordering pizza online counts), and
Returning as a changed person (ideally changed for the better).
Much of user-experience design borrows from methods that assume users have discrete & identifiable goals. However, this assumption can seriously inhibit designing for real human behavior, which (as we will see) often has less to do with rationality than we tend to think.
While the Web has evolved from flat documents to being fluidly ambient, we’re using the same user research and usability testing methods and techniques we were using in 1994. We know that conducting usability tests can tell us where people get frustrated. What will testing reveal about frustrations with interactions people have with other people online? When interaction is protean, how do you derive a task scenario? What are the success criteria?
by Amber Case
We are tool using creatures. Prosthetics touch almost every part of our lives. Until recently, humans have used their hands and bodies to interface with objects. Early interfaces were solid and tactile. Now, the interface can be anywhere. The best interfaces compress the time and space it takes to absorb relevant information, and the worst cause us car accidents, lost revenue, and communication failures. We increasingly live on interfaces, and it is their quality and design which increases our happiness and our frustration.
This speech will discuss how the field of anthropology can be applied to interface design, and how future interfaces, such as the ones employed by augmented reality, will change the way we act, feel and communicate with one another.
Topics in the speech will include:
Superhuman interaction design
Augmented and diminished reality
New and Invisible Interfaces
and other physiological effects of computing.
* Interfaces and objects as prosthetics and their effect on our nervous systems &8211; the extension of our nervous system into digital interfaces.
In his keynote address, Fabian Hemmert will present a series of research prototypes from his doctoral thesis, including weight-shifting, shape changing, life-like, whispering, grasping, and even kissing mobile phones.
by Pete Denman
The rings on a tree, the strata on earths crust, the pedals of a flower, the depth of clutter on your desk, even the lines on your face all tell a story. These details when viewed in the organisms whole give the viewer a history as well as an indication of well being. As members of society and mother nature, we all inherently understand how the fresh new green buds on a plant indicate growth and the older weathered look of a tree trunk gives indication of a harsh winter. These are things built into understanding of the world. We as designers can take advantage of this natural “visual affordance” and develop a user experience that is can convey large amounts of information that is easily understandable.
I have developed a user interface that takes advantage of biomimic techniques and delivers complex data sets in an easily understood way. In user testing of this prototype users were able to see data trending they didn’t notice previously and were able to quickly understand over all conditions.
I would like to talk about biomimic techniques in general and how I have applied them. I’ll give overview of user needs (why I created it) the tools techniques I used to create it, show it running on different platforms and the way it will quickly digest and display any data set formatted in XML. I’ll end with user feedback and next steps. i have a video clip of me speaking large group too
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.
by Dan Saffer
Continuing his award-winning and highly-acclaimed “How to Lie With…” series, Dr. Saffer* will illuminate the world of Design Thinking: namely what you need to know to fake your way through conversations about design thinking. Topics to be covered include: IDEO, Bruce Nussbaum, Fast Company, service design, post-it notes, “proof-of-concept” videos, 37signals, James Joyce, and whatever happens to be in the news that week. Each and every audience member will be certified as a Design Thinker by Dr. Saffer* (diploma not included).
by John Finley
When you think about the design of your product or service, what comes to mind? Is it the color scheme, the layout of the navigation, or the smoothness of the animation? What about… how it sounds?
As humans, our ability to perceive and identify sound is powerful, but typically underutilized by the products we use. Mediums like film and video games have long harnessed the emotional and psychological powers of the aural channel, while many products and services today seem to miss the mark.
Since so much of what we design communicates visually, it can be easy to ignore our ears. But when used effectively, sound can close the feedback loop just as good as anything else, whether it's exposing the state of an application, identifying the boundaries of behavior, or rewarding an action.
In this talk, we'll examine the role of sound in interaction design, the kinds of sounds that make sense, and the times when you should use this exceptional feedback channel to create a positive user experience.
Ritual has always played an important part in our lives. How do designers tap into the desire for ritual to enhance engagement with products and services? This presentation will ask more questions than it answers in an attempt to start a dialog around the topic within our community. What is it about ritual that is so attractive? How does it manifest in consumer products? When can things become too easy, so easy that they loose their appeal? Is ritual at odds with usability?
Using examples from our every day life we will begin to explore the nature of ritual interactions and how we can design for them or around them in our products.
by Jeff Gothelf
Even today, Design is too often perceived as a tactic to simply “make things user-friendly.” To combat that oversimplification, designers often shroud their work in a mysterious cloud of specialized tools and jargon. This mystery gives designers (of every sort – visual, UX, interaction, et al) a false perception of value, uniqueness and control over their process and work. In actuality, this self-imposed mystery drives divisions between designers and their teams. Designers need to stop looking at their work in terms of “trade secrets” and start opening up about their process. Through this transparency, the cloud lifts and the true value of Design becomes clear while designers are revealed to be the indispensable product people they truly are.
In this session you will learn:
Why self-imposed Design mystery makes life as a designer harder
How revealing your design secrets leads to more productive, highly collaborative teams
How transparency makes you more valuable to your organization
How to (finally) convince your colleagues that designers are not just pixel people, but product people
5 tactics for you to immediately begin demystifying Design and increasing your value
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.
We have relationships with technology – we always have had. And these relationships have regularly strayed beyond the merely functional, or rational. Whether anthropomorphising all manner of objects from steamships to guitars, or systematically attacking and breaking machines out of fear and loathing, we have had strong emotional connections with technology. Furthermore, this emotionality is not only borne out of daily activity, it also has its origins in the realm of fiction, myth and even legend. As such we can tell a story where Excalibur, the Luddites, The Turing Test and Cyberdyne share a common genealogy – they are all about our relationships with technology.
Today we inhabit a world in which there are many pieces of technology in our lives, our homes and our places of work, worship and leisure. Early mechanized objects like looms, pianolas and wireless radios have given way to digitally connected computational devices, but have we developed a new emotional register with which to engage with these objects? In this talk, Genevieve offers a meditation on the nature of our relationships with computing, locating them within this larger conversation, and offering a much wider space for human-computer relationships to flourish.
1st–4th February 2012