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lens on practice

Eddie Allbutt / Product Design Year 3 / The Glasgow School of Art Page 1


Project introduction

The Lens on Practice project is an opportunity to define your own approach to design. Five weeks long; building the project from start to finish. Open-ended and exploratory, the design brief and creation of objectives elicit self-awareness; building autonomy, self-confidence and curiosity with regards to delivering a design project.

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Contents Case Studies p4-5 Brief p6 Lens p7 Research p8-13 Insights p14-16 Opportunities p17 Experimentations I p18-19 Experimentations II p20-21 Experimentations III p22-23 Final Outcome I p24-25 Final Outcome II p26-27 Explanation p28-29 Presentation p30 Evaluation p31 Reflection p32-33

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case studies I gathered a collection of example projects from studios and designers I found inspirational, whose work I wanted to emulate. These are brief summaries of take-aways extracted from each case study.

Critical Dialogue DO Architecture

Interventionist video for capturing urban life and hidden routines

12 Shoes for 12 Ex-lovers Sebastian Errazuriz Studio

Rain Room Random International

Personification of distinct object as communication of past relationships Immersive experience of impossible (dream) scenario

Another England Pidgin Perfect

Facilitating Alternative Dialogue. Provoking a new narrative

Do Break Droog Studio

Holisitic performance outcome, requiring participation Page 4


my lens HOW

Critical design, participatory and facilitating, provoking discussion while delivering insights. Story-telling and writing new narratives

WHAT

User experience designer, speculating on future scenarios, keen interest in research and current affairs (politics, economics, sociology) with practice leaning on images, graphics, video, performance, interactions

WHO

Collaborator, part of small company with a collective vision, often working with other varied organisations, working in tandem with the arts and a user-centred approach

WHY

Interested in analysis and exploitation of market opportunies, promoting innovation with inherent ethics and sustainability Page 5


Brief

Introduction How has new technology altered the way that we form and maintain human relationships? How is human behaviour changing? Exponential innovation has not only pushed the limits of our lives but also the very fabric of our beings. In this project I hope to examine digital communication as a supplement to ‘real-world’ interaction. Should we be concerned by our changing nature?

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Discover


Methodology/Lens Through a largely critical and partly speculative lens, I will approach existing communication between friends, loved ones and partners, and look for points of change in relationships. I will use elements of critcal theory as references for understanding the individual in their relation to wider society, and therfore the motivations of the individual themself.

Discover

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Research Defining Parameters Advice given to me early on was to define my parameters. This led me to illustrate the extents of proximity and age as contributing factors in the weighting of a relationship between physical and digital. These helped me to decide at which point i might find the most fruitful research. For me, it was my own generation, ‘millenials’. Grown up surrounded by technology, aware of life without it, but often struggling with it.

Jimmy 21 Single Mother Long-term girlfriend

Jimmy 24 Doesn’t See his Family enough Long-term girlfriend

David 21 From a happy, engaged family Three-year girlfriend

Ben 19 Frictitous Family Active on Tinder

Max 18 Happy Home Very Single

Jess 23 Sees her family every weekend 6 month boyfriend

Adrian 25 Living a long way from home Has struggled to form new friendships

Jenny 22 From a big, happy family Boyfriend for 2 years

Ashley 26 Raised by single dad Girlfriend for 7 years

Patricia 21 Divorced Parents Looking for Girls and friendships

Ralph 24 Still lives at home Has a few long-term friendships

Connor 20 Lives at home Looking for love

km 00 <5

km 50 <2

m 0k <5

0km <1

km <1

Proximity of 2 people

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Discover


Age/Life Experience 80-90 70-80 60-70 50-60 40-50 30-40 20-30 10-20 0-10

one dominant medium

relationships Discover

small supplement

equal blend

little contact, one heavier

lots of contact, one heavier

physical contact digital communication

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An early consideration

An initial noteworthy fundamental difference is in physical interaction during meetings in the real world vs what is simply a communication of data during digital interactions. Technology is a medium between two people, one that could theoretically distort and alter meaning.

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Discover


Using critical theory I wanted to include a basic understanding of economists such as Milton Friedman, cultural theorists like Jeremy Rikfin and Marshall McLuhan, and Critical Design thinkers such as Anthony Dunne, Droog Design and the Extrapolation Factory. I believe in understanding the broader societal factors driving human behaviour; so that we can better understand and design for our needs and motivations.

Discover

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Charlie “I like technology, I have a watch phone, laptop, google home, all linked up. So i come in and all the lights come on facilitating routine

overbearing contact

We facetime every night. Normally call in the morning or at lunchtime. We plan stuff for every night, one night get the same bottle of wine or watch our favourite film and talk about it over facetime

yeah, i go to bed later. chatting to her. changing I find that it has made me really value my routine time more. I donʼt tend to just sit. Not for any particular reason, but i find that i am more specific with my time now “and what about your relationships with other people?” Theyʼre largely the same, she fits in really changing routine well. We can each kind of just chat to otherfriends and be fine.

just buying a nice bottle of wine on a friday and having it together really helps

I tend to be really frugal when not with her. it makes me think about money more. I want to save for trips, you think about it more.

mum and dad text me every night, every few days iʼll give them a reply. itʼs just the same every time

“when she comes up to glasgow, do you just do so much? coffee, lunch, dinner drinks...”

ʻit has changed your relationship by the fact that technology enables you to share experiences, do you think you could be together in your current situation without it?ʼ

Weʼre going out all the time. I make better use of my money is the key thing.

when my mum was at uni, she told me she would have to go to the phonebox at the end of the road with some coins to phone my grandparents. you couldnʼt have a relationship like you can now. sharing when she was up we went to the moments lighthouse, in town. So the other

day i went up and took a photo from the viewing platform to show her. She does the same in exeter. its just kinda nice to revisit and share photos of places weʼve been together.

positive shift in life

When i am with her, we want to make use of every second. We never got those lazy days, like every other couple. We just donʼt get that time. “I think your time with her is so much more valuable because you arenʼt always together. When youʼre with her thatʼs the best time.” weʼve done a lot of cool stuff since being together that I maybe wouldnʼt have done on my own.

”do you think it influences other aspects of your life? that you have a long-distance girlfriend you are always talking to?”

My method of research at this stage was to gather qualitative data through informal interviews. I chose subjects around the 18-25 age bracket and asked a series of probing questions within the area of contemporary communication.

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Discover


Pippa

i think people are far less good at communicating because they can do it so instantly

social skills depreciated due to instantaneousness of communication

as soon as you have the instantaneousness taken away, everyone is better at communicating, even a lot of people would choose to text rather than speaking on the phone, or choose to email rather than speaking on the phone, because itʼs easy, itʼs quick, itʼs kind of less hassle

using digital communication to sidestep real-world interaction

even think of going to tesco, thatʼs a whole branch of communication, people will go to self-checkout rather than go to a person, go to milngavie and that and the old biddies will go to a person (because they want to chat to them,) exactly because they like the chat, theyʼre all about it (and itʼs funny how you might be texting someone and they call you and you get a wee bit shocked) yeah and you get a wee bit of a fright. thereʼs nothing that scares me more than a facetime, itʼs putting the absolute fear through you but if youʼre meeting up with someone i donʼt get nervous at all because you know itʼs gonna happen yeah. or thereʼs nothing worse than a surprise meeting as well thatʼs a whole another thing... how much there is online about people! how you feel you donʼt have to ask, youʼve already seen on facebook. people will make chat out of it like ʻaww i saw you and so and so did this, this and that” people find it difficult to make chat

Discover

social media substitues real world conversation by given information

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social skills depreciated due to instantaneousness of communication

facilitating routine

using digital communication to sidestep real-world interaction

overbearing contact

social media substitues real world conversation by given information

online markers more significant than Ęťreal worldĘź positive shift in life

changing routine

sharing moments

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Define


I was then able to categorise and group them, to understand which problems to pursue further and develop as areas of interest to expose These common threads instigated an analysis from four perspectives: social, technological, economic and political

Define

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directions

These informed by insights gained from interviews

social

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Tackling prevalent communication issues from four different perspectives

technological

modern connection services are failing us

people canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t adapt to changing cultural protocol and structure

loneliness has economic worth

realgining ethics result in depreciation of social skills

economic

political

Define


TASKS

Issues manifesting into tasks to explore

social

Define

technological

Evaluating motivations driving use of connection services to identify opportunities for behavioural change

Presenting future social applications of technology in effort to elicit response

Assessing financial worth of isolation versus interaction to prove value of each

Proving value of human interaction versus dominance of contemporary digital

economic

political

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experimentations I created a prototype game, writing a number of scenario cards and a grid of reason, measuring visions of the future from positive to negative. This was an opportunity to gauge peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perception of possible futures of our interaction through technology by discussion and conversation.

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Develop


The insight gained from this game was that preferable visions of a technological future are not so easily defined. While writing the scenario cards and participating in the game with a number of possible users, I was unable to predict or understand their chosen placement of certain cards. In addition, upon writing scenario cards explicitly catering to my own idea of good and bad scenarios of the future, I was unable to put all the cards back in to their rightful place after they had been moved. From this experience I came to understand that there can’t exactly be definitive outcomes of good and bad, despite a supposedly clear definition of right and wrong, people have different ideals of the future. It wasn’t fitting to try and be definitive with an idea like this, rather to simply use it as a discussion tool.

Constructed

dystopia

gray area

Emma

utopia

dystopia

gray area

Trying Again

Eve

utopia

dystopia

gray area

utopia

dystopia

gray area

utopia

eve

Nobody Knows how to get better!

S

Social Tools are runnning us into the ground We’re not coping well

All organic culture lost

T

Technology rewritten etiquette New Culture Born Traditions blurred, forgotten

Connection Services are great, they help when they can, but the world still functions without them

Technology respects human beings! We use it like a pet We are the master

We’ve never been so connected!

Nobody Knows how to get better!

We’ve never been so connected!

Everybody knows everyone We love each other Chat to each other Interact, improve, perform

Social Tools are runnning us into the ground

Everybody knows everyone We love each other Chat to each other Interact, improve, perform

We are the master!

Technology respects human beings!

Technology is our bitch I use you when I want to, I pull the strings

We’re not coping well

We use it like a pet We are the master

Everyone does their best, the world turns regardless Business runs of its own right

All organic culture lost

E

Profit made from loneliness! The sadder you are, the more money businesses make

Everyone does their best, the world turns regardless

Sadnes worsens the economy, tax directly related to happiness

Business runs of its own right

Profit made from loneliness!

Technology rewritten etiquette

The sadder you are, the more money businesses make

New Culture Born Traditions blurred, forgotten

P

Technology impedes on real-life. Digital dominates Real lives run by machines

Happy blend of social and digital Two lives complement each other happily

Human interaction has utmost worth and precedence People live effectively in the present, so much gained from real life

Technology impedes on real-life. Digital dominates Real lives run by machines

Human interaction has utmost worth and precedence People live effectively in the present, so much gained from real life

Connection Services are great, they help when they can, but the world still functions without them

We are the master!

Nobody Knows how to get better!

We’ve never been so connected!

Social Tools are runnning us into the ground We’re not coping well

Everybody knows everyone We love each other Chat to each other Interact, improve, perform

Profit made from loneliness!

Technology respects human beings!

The sadder you are, the more money businesses make

We use it like a pet

Connection Services are great, they help when they can, but the world still functions without them

Technology respects human beings! We use it like a pet We are the master

We are the master! Technology is our bitch I use you when I want to, I pull the strings

We’ve never been so connected! Happy blend of social and digital Two lives complement each other happily

We are the master

Everybody knows everyone We love each other Chat to each other Interact, improve, perform

Technology is our bitch I use you when I want to, I pull the strings

Sadness worsens the economy, tax directly related to happiness

Human interaction has utmost worth and precedence People live effectively in the present, so much gained from real life

Happy blend of social and digital Two lives complement each other happily

Everyone does their best, the world turns regardless Business runs of its own right

Happy blend of social and digital Two lives complement each other happily

New Culture Born Traditions blurred, forgotten

Nobody Knows how to get better! Connection Services are great, they help when they can, but the world still functions without them

Social Tools are runnning us into the ground

Technology impedes on real-life. Digital dominates Real lives run by machines

Human interaction has utmost worth and precedence People live effectively in the present, so much gained from real life

We are the master!

Technology is our bitch I use you when I want to, I pull the strings

All organic culture lost Technology rewritten etiquette

Sadness worsens the economy, tax directly related to happiness

We’re not coping well

Profit made from loneliness! The sadder you are, the more money businesses make

discarded Sadnes worsens the economy, tax directly related to happiness

All organic culture lost Technology rewritten etiquette New Culture Born

Technology impedes on real-life. Digital dominates Real lives run by machines

Everyone does their best, the world turns regardless Business runs of its own right

Traditions blurred, forgotten

Develop

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Experimentations: II

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Develop


These graphic exercises were concerned with digital to physical crossovers. What would a Tinder shop look like? What might the qualities of a LinkedIn radio be? Asking participants to physicalise and manifest digital, almost abstract, services and ideas encourages an alternative method of thinking around previously understood businesses

Develop

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experimentations iii Following a tutorial with Lorenz, we discussed the possibility of creating a more collective workshop, that incorporated elements of tools used before. The design outcome in this case could be the creation of the mechanism itself, by which people can better understand the implications of future interactions through technology. The framework as an umbrella for a series of exercises allows a better deferral of behaviour than any singular â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;perfectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; product outcome.

Start

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Finish

Develop


I reiterated existing product experimentations and refined them under the guidance of user feedback.

Develop

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final direction Vernacular. The name meaning â&#x20AC;&#x153;the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people of a country or region.â&#x20AC;?This project is concerned with translating digital interaction effectively in to real-life application. This is reference to the growth of internet culture; which seems to have birthed and cultivated a language of its own.

Snapchat Canary Yellow Twitter Baby Blue Facebook Royal Blue

Background Graphic Motherboard, technology, colours, growth Page 24

Deliver


Supporting Sketches

Emblematic of physical/digital crossover. Blend of natural/organic shapes

Deliver

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final direction II Vernacular is the framework for a speculative workshop that explores the future of human interaction through technology by application of successive workshop tools. The workshop follows this timeline trajectory for which participants will be guided through stages of realisation and understanding. From initial brief introduction; to self-analysis, to future casting scenarios, contemporary applications, and future solutions to interactions. The intention of this workshop is broadly to provoke discussion, guided by a curriculum of sorts that aims to accomplish set tasks and outcomes guided by learning objectives.

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Deliver


Ethics & Morality Randomly speculate on future scenarios

Personality Testing Exercise

Give theme- digital communication interaction

start

initial group discussion surrounding exercise

A

Future Interactions

further group dicussion surrounding future interactions

repeat throughout groups until board is filled

B

C

Future Goals self-identify personal interaction friction scenario utilising personal role-play

Contemporary Application walk through scenario (contemporary issues)

Write responses to scenarios (recipes for...) (interactions applied to worlds)

evolutionary discussion on interaction etiquette

D

finish

Learning objectives

Deliver

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The first stage sees a personality analysis, in order to individually recognise and analyse biases, desires and strengths of each participant. This undertaken independently regardless of the size of the group so as not to be influenced by any dynamics

personality

16 unfazed

age addiction

34

A

hooked

very alone

number of friends

never lonely

painfully shy

confidence

overconfident

novice

knowledge of subject

informed

careful

impulsiveness

excitable

Followed by a future scenario exercise that gauges approaches to morality and ethics with regards to future society, technology, economics and politics. This tool randomly allocates a number of possible futures from negative to positive, and asks the user to define these utopian or dystopian scenarios.

B

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Deliver


The third stage requires participants to list their daily interactions through technology, whether this be phoning their mum for a catch-up, skyping a longdistance partner or connecting with strangers over xbox live. This interaction is then applied to a given extreme example of a future world

how to...

in a...

world

C

The final stage asks participants to reflect on their own individual future interactions and establish preferable criteria for interaction via digital technology. This conclusive exercise ties up the established knowledge gained from the process and feeds into plans for the future.

D

Deliver

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presentation/reflections Inital Brief: Evalutate the role of digital communication as a supplement to forming and maintaining contemporary relationships 12 Shoes Rain Room

Critical Dialogue

Personification of distinct object in communicating human relationship Intention:

Lens on Practice

Immersive experience of impossible (dream) scenario Build a framework

Interventionist video for capturing urban life and invisible society

Final for people to analyse technology as a means for socialising, with directions for positive futures Another England Facilitating alternative dialogue. Provoking a new narrative.

Final Presentation Do Break Holistic performance Tuesday 1st May 10am outcome, requiring participation

The presentation was not for presenting a perfect, finished project, but a fluid infrastrucure for iterative development. Thought-provoking and inciting, this workshop is a tool for opening discussion surrounding this certain issue. With intentions of guiding production and facilitating conversation, the outcome for the participants is more for insight and empowerment in tackling technological design issues rather than for polished, perfect, applicable products.

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The intention of this work is to be visually stimulating, thoughtprovoking and fluid. While Vernacular is the umbrella titlle for the project; its tools and methods may evolve over time, driven by feedback and research. The content of the workshop is guided by learning objectives which move the participant through activities. In broader terms, the creation of this workshop invests in a collective capital for society. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existence provides a platform for discussion that encourages dialogue and change rather than providing it explicitly. Page 31


The parting glass

Who Am I? Exiting this project, I’m increasingly analytical of my role as a designer, and the relevance of my ‘products’ in the contemporary world. I’ve always had a problem with the design of objects for which the world has no real need. From this project, I understand my role not only as a sole creative individual who can enact some impossible genius, but as a collaborator and strategist within a wider design production framework. This project, for me, has stressed the importance of research, process, iteration and collaboration. It’s comforting to know that the design field in which I’m entering does not demand perfection and resolution, rather collaboration, dialogue and fluidity.

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The role of designers is becoming more varied: part creator, part researcher, part facilitator, part process manager. We see graduates of design schools specializing in these roles to varying extents. Usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; roles are also changing. A side effect of co-creation Awakened expertise can lead to confidence, inspiring users to take increased responsibility and initiative. It is likely that this effect can be found in all areas of co-design and co-creation. Open everything in particular, and open design in general: the act of taking part in the creative process, and becoming aware of the expert within, gives people the confidence to take initiative Open Design Now Creation & Co: User Participation in Design Page 148

Open design implies that the boundary between designers and users is blurring, at least with respect to motivation, initiative and needs. So what does this mean for the interaction between potential designers and users? On the basis of my organisational classification, open design is based on a libertarian relationship between designers and potential users, and not a rational one in which the designer is seen as a superior. Neither is it based on an integrating relationship, in which the designer looks after the interest of the majority of potential users. The libertarian approach emphasises the freedom and personal responsibility of every individual. This means that the designer is no longer placed above users when determining what is right for them; rather, the designer is part of a larger community. Open Design Now Teaching attitudes, skills, approaches, structure and tools Page 165

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