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Francisca Mairata Bradbury s3134422 Methods in Design Research and Practices Project Scope Document

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Contents Project Proposal Project Schedule Literature Review Annotated Bibliography Methods and Practices Glossary Tutorial Participation Tasks

Project Proposal Shift: an end to user Abstract: daily life is permeated with technology. In this, frustration with Contemporary the “information age”, what was not long ago considered “high mobile electronics? tech” is now commonplace. The possibilities technologies offer are endless, however, often unrealised. These possibilities, and the intended use and benefits of the device, are often hampered by user frustration with these technologies. User irritation with hand-held technology is well documented and well researched. Norman (2007) connects user frustration with a lack of human-machine communication; Ullmer and Ishii (1999) see tangible computing as a way to solve user frustration, among other goals; Djajadingrat, Wensveen, Overbeeke, (2004) Gaver and Frens (2000) explore tangible interfaces resulting in the limiting of user frustration as a by product of their research; Zimmerman (2006) challenges designer’s ideation processes in view of new ideas of the individual’s relationship to their personal technology. Despite the breadth of literature available, personal technology companies continue to produce devices that frustrate users to varying degrees. This project will evaluate a number of individual user-device relationships in view of proposing a ‘cure’ to this frustration. Research will be conducted through an in-depth analysis of existing literature concerning user psychology, designer methodologies and design philosophies. In addition to this, user-device relationships will be studied directly with existing technologies. Findings from these analyses will inform the creation of hand-held device prototypes to be evaluated in the same way. This project anticipates a number of findings: user frustration arises from an inability to communicate effectively with a device

(as suggested in Norman, 2007), current ‘personalisation’ opportunities are redundant, mass production discounts the individual (alluded to in Zimmerman, 2006). In view of these findings, this project proposes a paradigm shift in the way personal technology is designed, produced and distributed, in order to reduce user frustration when interacting with these technologies. As an alternative to mass produced personal technology, this project puts forward the idea of bespoke interaction design, and anticipates that a truly personalised user-device relationship will reduce user frustration significantly. The findings of this project will have significance to the way in which personal technology is designed and manufactured, and how it is considered by the consumer.

Key words: Usability, personal technology, user frustration, inclusive design, interaction design, bespoke design Contemporary technological developments have seen personal technology become an everyday part of life. ‘Smart’ mobile phones, PDAs, laptop computers, media players and hand-held gaming devices are ever-present companions for the daily commuter – a simple stroll down the street proves the ubiquitous nature of these devices. It can be suggested that this is largely due to the fact that advances in technology allow for smaller, faster, more reliable computing devices to be mass produced, and so to become ever present and accessible to the consumer. However, with this increased accessibility comes increased user frustration. As devices gain functions and become smaller, or act as substitutes for a collection of specialised devices, it can be said that they gain the ability to perform many functions but loose the accuracy or quality at which they perform them. That is to say, it is suggested that the converged device trades performance for


quality (it can perform many functions to a mediocre level). It follows, therefore, that as more of such devices become available, more demand is created for them from the consumer base, and assumptions are made about the device’s usability and intended target market. These assumptions lead to generic, multi-function technology that ignores the individual and their needs. This theory is one of the key aspects of the intended project, and a key area the project wishes to investigate. This project puts forward the hypothesis that user frustration is systemic of the way in which these devices are produced. The project wishes to use the change of this production method from mass to bespoke to demonstrate this hypothesis. The project aspires to put forward that the solution to user frustration would be to bring the design and production of the device closer to the individual; involve the end user in the design process as an individual, not as part of a market. The technique of designing for extreme characters, as explored by Frens (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000) in the production of his alternative PDA prototypes, takes the first step towards individualised electronics production. A methodology to further this idea is bespoke design, in which the product is a result of extensive individual user-designer contact. This approach, while commonly associated with the fashion and graphic design industries, is not readily applied to interaction or personal technology design. This project proposes that in order for personal technology to become frustration-free, the electronic design industry must shift its emphasis on whole markets and narrow its field of view to the individual, in order to address individual usability issues rather than generalised demographic based frustrations. This will mean two things to the electronic goods designer and company: Firstly, preconceptions of ‘ideal consumers’, stereotyped story boards and assumptions during ideation will


be rejected (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000). This project proposes that end user frustration stems from the fact that designers consider a whole market, rather than an individual, during ideation. Often this whole is personified into an ideal figure that, while exhibiting characteristics designers want their consumers to have, ignores many other traits an individual may have that affect how they use an object (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000). Secondly, production will shift from mass to batch, or one-off, production. Although many mass produced personal technology devices allow the user to customise certain settings (often such as visual aesthetics, sound output or cover designs), these have a minimal impact on how an individual fundamentally interacts with an object, and therefore are largely redundant as Zimmerman suggests (Zimmerman, 2006). The framework of the interaction, the form and the basic interface of the device, remain the same, so fundamental frustration remains. This project proposes complete user-designer collaboration on the design of an object. This process necessitates individual production, and may result in highly alternative individual modes of interaction. Thus, current mass production methodologies are excluded from this process. Therefore, this approach will also impact upon the user. It can be said that a device that is frustration-free will be valued by the user more than a standardised common object; this being another theory the project wishes to explore. This would mean that the user would be less likely to consume subsequent models, opting to stay with the bespoke device for a longer period of time. Personal technology, notorious for its short lifespan, would be valued more, and maintained rather than discarded. This approach therefore aims, indirectly, to instigate a paradigm shift in the way in which a user considers and consumes personal technology.

In order to realise these findings, the proposal advocates a three stage research process. The first will be an in-depth analysis of existing literature surrounding ideas of user centred design theories, interaction design methodologies, psychology of consumption and related fields. The next stage will be a practical investigation of current technologies and how their users interact with them. Depending on the type of device selected, the number of these case studies could vary. Analyses of the interaction between the user and device will then inform the third stage: a number of working prototypes will be created and subjected to the same level of analysis as the existing technology. The users anticipating these devices will be consulted in the bespoke design manner and the devices will be produced to suit their individual needs. Ideally, this stage would be repeated so as to refine the device design further. The proposal will culminate in a set of observations and conclusions informed by the three stage process. These will either support or deny the idea of bespoke interaction design as a solution to user frustration with hand held mobile electronic devices.


The results of this proposal will be significant because of the ubiquitous nature of personal technology and the possibilities for change the shift in production implies. It has been suggested that user frustration leads to an inability to fulfil a device’s potential or intended design, and it is expected that the research undertaken during this proposal will confirm this suggestion. The proposal will then suggest a method for combating user frustration and realising the potential of a device. This is valuable because it will place more value on an object, which will provoke the consumer to retain and take advantage of the device to its full potential. On a large scale, this approach would mean a more sustainable attitude towards consumption of electrical goods, and on a smaller scale this process would create a more symbiotic relationship between a user and their technology.

Ullmer, B & Ishii, H 2000, ‘Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces’, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 39, No 3/4, pp.579-601.

Djajadiningrat, J.P., Gaver, W.W, & Frens, J.W 2000, Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions, 1st edn.,, accessed 28 July 2009, from < publications/00DjajDISInte.pdf > Djajadiningrat, J.P., Wensveen, S.A.G, & Overbeeke, C.J 2004, Interaction Frogger: A Design Framework to Couple Action and Function through Feedback and Feedforward, 1st edn., portal.acm. org, accessed 29 July 2009, from < cfm?id=1013140> Gaver, B., Dunne, T. & Pacenti, E., 1999. Cultural Probes. Interactions, 6(1), p.21-29. Norman, Donald A 2007, The Design of Future Things, 1st edn, Basic Books, Philadelphia USA

Zimmerman, J 2006, ‘Addressing the Relationship Between Product Interaction and Identity in Experience Design’, in CHI Workshop on Theory and Method for Experience Centered Design, HumanComputer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University


Project Schedule WKS



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Scholarly Research

Write Brief

Analyse, Iterate

Observe & Conclude

Analyse, Iterate

Observe & Conclude


Design Solution


Observe & Conclude


Design Solution


Design Solution



Critiqued (formally & informally)


Self Review, Conclude, Present


The diagram on the previous page is an example of the project’s expected timeline. Due to the nature of this project, the timeline’s main feature is graphic at right, which represents the iterative observe-design-prototype-observe process that the project’s working prototype would have to undergo. This graphic (and therefore the prototyping process) currently spans roughly 13 weeks, but this will be dependent on the type of device prototyped. A complex device would need a larger prototyping period, for example, and a simpler device would need less of an observation period. This would allow for less or more iterations of the process over the year.

Analyse, Iterate

Observe & Conclude


Design Solution

‘Observe & Conclude’ refers to both the user and designer. It is imagined that the user would be provided with a diary or log book to fill in over the time, and would have regular interviews with the designer.

Prototype The red areas of the diagram represent when ‘concrete’ outcomes need to be produced. A conclusion would need to be drawn before the next iteration of the cycle, so as to be able to continue the research. The ‘Critiqued’ bar (below) is subjective – the weeks filled in for formal presentations would vary according to the class schedule. The ‘Scholarly Research’ and ‘Documentation’ bars are fairly dominant in this proposal’s timeline as the nature of the proposal is more theoretical than practical. Rather than being concerned with processes and manufacture, the project’s documentation would be more focussed on proposing and testing hypotheses, hence the need for almost constant scholarly research. This diagram represents one of the three suggested user-designer relationships. The proposal calls for the observation of, and design for, a number of users , but this may not be realistic given the time frame. As such, only one user’s designed object’s process is pictured here. The budget of the project will be highly individual to the user and designed outcome and is therefore not included here. It is anticipated that the designer would manufacture the prototype themselves where possible to save time (so as to allow for more iterations). The proposal necessitates ‘quick and dirty’ prototyping only, so there will be no need to outsource production.

Critiqued (formally & informally)


Literature Review Frameworks and Precedents

Introduction Frustration with hand-held electronic devices is a familiar feeling. Few of us can honestly say we have had the pleasure of interacting with a device without becoming irritated at some time during the course of our contact with the object. Despite how common this feeling seems to be, the design community continues to produce devices which create feelings of frustration across their user public. I am of the opinion that this frustration arises essentially from a lack of communication, whether it be between user and object (Norman’s affordances , or Djajadiningrat, Wensveen, and Overbeeke’s feedback and feedforward), designer and user (Zimmerman’s application of consumer research and design), or designer and object (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens’ interaction relabelling). I see one possible solution to this problem of frustration as bringing all communication down to the individual’s level; that is to say, shift the current paradigm of mass interaction design to one of bespoke design. This practise would involve a designer being in direct communication with their intended individual user, and would allow the designed interaction to be based on specific communication modes preferred by the individual. Seeking to explore the theories behind these ideas, and ultimately to ascertain whether this viewpoint is viable or not, I will investigate a number of relevant design frameworks and corresponding case studies within the field of interaction design. The frameworks investigated will include the design ideation techniques of interaction relabelling, designing for extreme characters (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000) and cultural probes (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti, 1999). Frens’ Masters Project (Djajadiningrat at al., 2000) of redesigning a series of PDAs will


be used as a case study for both interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters, and Gaver’s Presence Project (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti, 1999) will be used as a precedent for investigating cultural probes. Conclusions from these analyses will be combined with findings from works by Norman (Norman, 2007), Paterson (Paterson, 2007), (Zimmerman, 2006), Ishii and Ullmer (Ullmer and Ishii, 2000) and Djajadiningrat et al. (Djajadiningrat, Wensveen, and Overbeeke, 2004) throughout the paper.

Frameworks Interaction Relabelling The first framework to be investigated is interaction relabelling. This practice involves a designer taking a digital process and applying it to an unrelated physical object (or vice versa) in order to inform new ways of interacting with a product or process. The example given in Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens’ article is the mapping of a digital calendar/diary function to a revolver (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000). The “appointments were almost always mapped to bullets”, with “loading blanks to plan moments of rest”, “firing the gun at someone to make an appointment with that person” and “emptying the bullets from the gun to cancel all appointments” (Djajadiningrat et al., p. 67). This physical interaction raises questions about the digital process which lead to alternative, creative design opportunities. Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens come to a few conclusions about this technique that I find relevant to my above concerns. Firstly, this is a technique best performed in a group, as the competition between group members helps to overcome inhibitions an individual might have about how a product ‘should’ work. The authors mention in passing some participant’s reluctance to engage “in what first appears to be a silly exercise” (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and

Frens, 2000, p. 67). This, to me, indicates the authors’ underlying association between the GUI (Graphical User Interface - the oldest and most common form of human-computer interaction) and a ‘real-world’ or ‘serious’ idea of interaction. That is to say, the authors’ and their participant’s pre-existing ideas about interaction with an electronic device based on the GUI is so engrained as to provoke them to immediately discount any other form of interaction (one that isn’t graphically based, for example). I therefore see interaction relabelling as a valuable ideation technique as it forces the participants to break this association from the outset, which allows the design process to become more free and creative. Secondly, the authors suggest that “the ‘hands-on’ nature of interaction relabelling enables participants to come up with novel ideas about interaction which are different from those that emerge from market research, literature studies, traditional brainstorming techniques or sketching” (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000, p. 67). This ties in with Norman’s ideas of “natural interaction” and “implicit communication” (Norman, 2007, p.25). Norman sees natural interaction as a system of feedback that seems unconscious to the user, for example, the ability to detect and broadcast emotions. He suggests that, in the development of future computing, “Soft, ill-defined, human-centred, common sense reasoning, fuzzy logic, probabilities, qualitative reasoning and heuristics (“rules of thumb”) rather than precise algorithms” and “mathematical logic and decision making” (Norman, 2007, p.39) will become the norm, and that along with this, implicit means of human-computer communication will be developed. I see interaction relabelling as the first step in designing for this type of communication, and an important technique to consider when designing user frustration out of hand-held electronic devices.

Extreme Characters Designing for extreme characters is another technique that allows designers to break ingrained assumptions, this time regarding the user rather than the product itself. The technique involves “tak[ing] the opposite approach” to the traditional technique of “designing for a prototypical character from a target group” (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000 p. 67). Designers focus on character traits “which, though common, remain hidden because they are antisocial or in conflict with a person’s status” (Djajadiningrat et al, 2000 p. 67). This allows for a consideration of “the full spectrum of human emotions” through a focus on “exaggerated emotional attitudes” (Djajadiningrat et al, 2000 p. 67), which in turn (in my opinion) affords a more ‘human’ design outcome. By designing for facets of an individual’s character which may not be apparent in the stereotypical ‘perfect consumer’ designers tend to visualise, I believe this technique is another that moves towards the idea of bespoke interaction design rather than design for a (collective) mass market. Following Zimmerman’s ideas of the importance of roles an individual plays in society in shaping their character (Zimmerman, 2006, p.1), design for extreme characters could be seen rather as design for roles. Zimmerman suggests that “people enact many different social roles” and that an individual “derive[s] and overall sense of self through the different identities they enact and choose to ascribe to” (Zimmerman, 2006, p.2). This suggestion, coupled with his theories that “people construct and extend their identity through the products they own and interact with” and “the relationship with products is connected strongly to the different roles people enact” (Zimmerman, 2006, p.1), relate to, in my mind, the practise of designing for extreme characters. When considered together, these theories and technique seem to suggest a bespoke design for an individual as a collection of certain roles (or extreme character traits). As such, I can see how


designing for extreme characters is a research practice that can be of use when considering bespoke design as a solution for user frustration in hand-held electronic device interaction. Cultural Probes The use of cultural probes involves the designer creating a number of highly specified publications (such as postcards, diaries, maps etc) that the user (research subject) can manipulate and return to designer. This process affords creative, intangible, tacit and expressive feedback from a selected target group, but more importantly, from individuals within that target group. As such, their relevance to my above concerns is twofold. Firstly, as Gaver at al. describe it, “they’re a way for us [the designers] to get to know you [the users] better, and for you to get to know us” (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti, 1999, p.22). This kind of personal designer-user communication is exactly the kind of contact that would be essential in bespoke interaction design. Gaver at al. state that “the probes were out personal communication to the [user group], and prompted the [user group] to communicate personally in return” (Gaver et al, 1999 p.29). Gaver et al. apply the results of this kind of communication to design for a communal space, but I see this technique as also being relevant on a personal scale. For this reason, a modified cultural probe approach (perhaps more likely called an ‘individual probe’, or ‘personal cultural probe’) using the same basic method and achieving the same feedback style would be immensely valuable to a bespoke interaction design practice. Secondly, the kind of feedback received from participants in the cultural probes affords creative, individual design responses. Cultural probes allow for “inspirational data” (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti, 1999, p.25), rather than “precise analyses or carefully


controlled methodologies” (Gaver et al, 1999 p.24). This, consequently, allows for “ways to open new spaces for design” (Gaver et al, 1999 p.24). I see this creativity in design problem resolution as being critical to the idea of solving an individual’s user frustration with hand-held technology. It follows that each individual will need a unique design solution as each individual would experience frustration in a different way. A modified cultural probe approach would allow the designer to receive individual, creative feedback directly from the user.

Precedents Interaction Relabelling Interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters The example chosen to illustrate interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters is the same one, Frens’ PDA deign Masters Project (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000) as the use of these techniques together allows for a highly individual outcome. Frens designed three PDA devices using tangible interaction (Ullmer and Iishi, 2000) as a basis, and employing three distinct form and interaction models derived from the process of interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters. Frens aimed to highlight his view that “aesthetics and interaction are interwoven concepts, rather than separate identities”, and in doing so proposes that “aesthetics of interaction moves the focus [of an object’s design] from ease of use to enjoyment of [user] experience” (Djajadiningrat et al., p.66). This “enjoyment of experience” translates in my mind to the antithesis of user frustration, so Frens proposes the exploration of aesthetics of interaction through interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters as a solution to user frustration. The fact that he uses a PDA (hand-held electronic device) marries nicely with the area I wish to investigate.

Frens designs three PDAs based around three distinct extreme characters: a drug dealer, the Pope and a “hedonistic, polyandrous twenty-year old” (Djajadiningrat, Gaver, and Frens, 2000, p.68). While the function of the designed devices are the same (to keep records of appointments) the form for each differs greatly, as they are each mapped onto different existing analogue objects; a set of rings, a set of pen and inkwells, and a fan. Frens concludes that “for PDAs... the fresh look provided by interaction relabelling turned out to be quite useful” (Djajadiningrat et al, 2000 p.70), and elaborates by stating “the technique exposes how poor most electronic products are in terms of actions” (Djajadiningrat et al, 2000 p.71). Here Frens highlights the ideas in (Norman, 2007) expressed above regarding implicit communication (in terms of physical interaction) with a product, suggesting that this is a richer avenue of interaction to pursue. Similarly, incorporating the haptic senses (Paterson, 2007) allows for a richer user experience, as implicit communication takes the form of gestures, tactile feelings and many other non-verbal/visual signals. Frens then states that interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters, as exampled in the PDA redesigns, “help to explore how the actions influence the role a product supports” (Djajadiningrat et al, 2000 p.71). Frens foreshadows Zimmerman’s assessment of the influence a product has on an individual through the reinforcement of social roles, as discussed in (Zimmerman, 2006). As such, Frens’ PDA redesign and the conclusions he and co-authors Djajadiningrat and Gaver draw seem to fit with my own conclusions and suggestions for a bespoke interaction design practice. Cultural Probes Cultural probes as a tool for eliciting individual responses to highly specific stimuli are exampled in Gaver et al.’s 1999 Presence Project. The authors produced packages of maps,

postcards and other materials to “provoke inspirational responses from elderly people in diverse communities” in order to inform the design of “novel interaction techniques to increase the presence of the elderly in their local community” (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti, 1999, p.22). The authors produced their probes with a focus on “aesthetics and conceptual pleasure” (Gaver et al, 1999 p.25) and used influences from the Situationist art movement as well as “Dada, the Surrealists, and more contemporary artists” (Gaver et al, 1999 p.26) to highlight the aesthetic quality of the probes. By retaining these focuses, the cultural probes were able to inspire highly individual feedback from the participants, who sent back items of personal opinion, but that also “capture particular facets of the cultures, clearly symbolizing important issues” (Gaver et al, 1999 p.27). As explained above (in Cultural Probes), the authors regard the major success of the probes as the personal nature of the communication between designer and intended user, and again, as explained above, I agree with the assessment with regards to my personal design intentions.

Conclusion To conclude, I wish to draw attention to the fact that all of the articles mentioned in this paper seem to have an underlying assumption of interaction design of hand-held electronics for the mass market. I am of the opinion that it is this fundamental attitude that continues to provoke designers to produce frustrating design. I propose a shift in the way in which interaction design is considered, to incorporate a bespoke approach to designing these devices. The literature considered so far seems to support this theory in a number of varying ways.


Bibliography Djajadiningrat, J.P., Gaver, W.W, & Frens, J.W 2000, Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions, 1st edn.,, accessed 28 July 2009, from < publications/00DjajDISInte.pdf > Djajadiningrat, J.P., Wensveen, S.A.G, & Overbeeke, C.J 2004, Interaction Frogger: A Design Framework to Couple Action and Function through Feedback and Feedforward, 1st edn., portal., accessed 29 July 2009, from < citation.cfm?id=1013140> Gaver, B., Dunne, T. & Pacenti, E., 1999. Cultural Probes. Interactions, 6(1), p.21-29. Norman, Donald A 2007, The Design of Future Things, 1st edn, Basic Books, Philadelphia USA Paterson, Mark 2007, The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies 1st edn, Berg, Oxford UK Ullmer, B & Ishii, H 2000, ‘Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces’, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 39, No 3/4, pp.579601. Zimmerman, J 2006, ‘Addressing the Relationship Between Product Interaction and Identity in Experience Design’, in CHI Workshop on Theory and Method for Experience Centered Design, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University


Annotated Bibliography Accompanies the Literature Review

Djajadiningrat, J.P., Gaver, W.W, & Frens, J.W 2000, Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions, 1st edn.,, accessed 28 July 2009, from publications/00DjajDISInte.pdf This article showcases two design ideation techniques, interaction relabelling and design for extreme characters, and outlines the Masters Project of one of the authors – a redesigning of the PDA using these two techniques. The authors themselves were involved in the design process using these two techniques. While the article explains these techniques in detail, it does so from a single viewpoint and has not considered other examples of the same techniques. The techniques and case study examined in this article were very useful to my research as they present real world examples of interaction design theories, and the methods explored particularly resonate with my personal design concerns. The article is limited in its assumptions – namely the assumption that interaction design is always geared to mass manufacture – and this article steered me towards the idea of bespoke interaction design as a solution to user frustration. Djajadiningrat, J.P., Wensveen, S.A.G, & Overbeeke, C.J 2004, Interaction Frogger: A Design Framework to Couple Action and Function through Feedback and Feedforward, 1st edn., portal., accessed 29 July 2009, from citation.cfm?id=1013140 In this article Djajadiningrat et al introduce a graphical framework for making action-function couplings in an object’s design obvious during the design process. They outline 6 aspects of interaction that, when unified with the user’s action, result in intuitive interaction between user and product. The scope of this article with respect to explaining the Frogger framework is limited, as the authors use one common example (scissors) and

one case study (their alarm clock) which requires prior knowledge in order to understand. The article was, nevertheless, useful to my research because of the general theories and assumptions it expresses before explaining the framework. These assumptions expose the limitations of the article – it is assumed that a product (being explained by the Frogger framework) is being used for its intended purpose, and that tangible interaction design is suited to mass production. The authors introduce the idea of feedforward in conjunction with feedback, and three types of feedforward/ back: functional, augmented and inherent. These theoretical frameworks were of more use to me than the graphical Frogger framework. Gaver, B., Dunne, T. & Pacenti, E., 1999. Cultural Probes. Interactions, 6(1), p.21-29. In this article, Gaver et al. present the process and findings of a research exercise they conducted using cultural probes to gather feedback from three different user groups in three locations. The authors showcase the cultural probes and present the benefits of designing products, services or systems with the data gathered through this process as a base. Their research focuses on the elderly in three communities (in Oslo, Amsterdam and Pisa) that they used as a user base to inform the design of a system of interaction to increase the presence of the elderly in their communities. I found this article useful to my research as it gave a comprehensive example of the benefits of using cultural probes in certain design situations, but I feel the authors fell short of describing the drawbacks of the technique. Therefore, while the benefits this kind of research may have to my project are evident through the examples given in the article, it is hard to predict where this technique may fall short due to the authors’ obvious bias towards cultural probe research. I will use this article, and the design research technique it presents, to a certain degree during my own research but will not rely entirely on it.


Norman, Donald A 2007, The Design of Future Things, 1st edn, Basic Books, Philadelphia USA In this book, Norman expresses the way he sees the future of technology and design. A largely speculative and philosophical work, Norman uses his own previous work and work of his colleges as a basis to hypothesise about the future of HCI. This book includes Norman ideas on communication, augmentation, AI, the human brain and existing interfaces, among other things. The book is useful to my research as it outlines theories behind interaction design (such as implicit communication and the idea of existing HCI as a set of monologues), and in its focus on tangible interaction design as a solution to user frustration. The book is limited, however, by its seemingly contradictory opinions. This book is a good starting point to considering the theories behind tangible interaction, and a source of inspiration for future technologies, but not necessarily the ultimate word on the subject. The ideas in this book have informed the direction of my research heavily, but not exclusively. Paterson, Mark 2007, The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies 1st edn, Berg, Oxford UK In his book Paterson explores the philosophical nature of touch – how it is perceived by the average individual, its place in multimedia and the technological pitfalls of designing for advanced perception and sensation. Paterson aims to bring the complex and all encompassing nature of touch to the reader’s attention, and aims to justify all interaction in terms of touch. Paterson draws facts and theories from many sources ranging from hard empirical data to ancient philosophical theories. I found the syntheses of ideas from these sources very useful to my design practise (as I recognise the need to combine “scientific” and “artistic” thinking in my proposed project), but mostly I found the ideas Paterson expresses highly relevant to the


emerging field of interaction design. Having said this, I found some of his sweeping statements ungrounded, which lead me to question their origins. Even so, this book proposed some interesting ideas about perception and sensation that I intend to explore (and relate to) during my proposed project. Ullmer, B & Ishii, H 2000, ‘Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces’, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 39, No 3/4, pp.579601. I regard this paper, and these authors, as fundamental to the field of interaction design. With this article, the authors introduced the MCRpd framework for expressing Tangible User Interfaces, and in doing so addressed some of the basic theories behind TUI design. The authors aimed to propose TUI as a way to integrate the physical and digital worlds; this goal being an underlying theme running through the article. The authors used 3 projects of designed objects and interactive systems as case studies to highlight the advantages of TUI in 3 different situations. I found the contextualisation of their theories in case studies very helpful and the theories expressed in general very interesting and relevant to the basic premise of my proposed project. I feel the article, and the author’s larger perception of the field of interaction design, is limited by the underlying comparison of TUI to GUI. The authors define TUI in terms of GUI, which I find limiting, as a result of their educational context. They also assume interaction design for the mass market; an assumption that is common in much of the literature of the field. Overall, this article has been fundamental to my understanding of interaction design, and has served to validate my position and personal theories surrounding my proposed project.

Zimmerman, J 2006, ‘Addressing the Relationship Between Product Interaction and Identity in Experience Design’, in CHI Workshop on Theory and Method for Experience Centered Design, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University This article presents Zimmerman’s theory that design should take into account research done in other fields of study, like psychology, to provide a more contextualized basis for innovation. He then goes on to suggest how a number of current HCI design research methods (most of which I had encountered in other articles) can be improved by incorporating methods examined in other fields. Zimmerman addresses a wide scope from empirical data analysis to psychological inferences, all with relevance to the product design profession. This, and the conclusion that Zimmerman reaches concerning how a product impacts on an individual’s development of a social identity, were particularly useful to my proposed project and research area. Again, as is so common with literature in this field, Zimmerman assumes design for a mass market, though differs from most in the fact that he addresses the idea of customization and personal input into a product as central to the way a user behaves with it, and therefore highly relevant to the product designer. Another limitation, or underlying assumption, that Zimmerman expresses is that the identity of an adult is static; it stops developing after a certain age (or level of maturity). I disagree with this idea, and note that Zimmerman seems to contradict himself by saying that an individual’s interaction with a product is an ongoing narrative process, and that the individual is psychologically shaped by this interaction. It follows that the shaping goes on as long as the interaction does – the process, by its nature, is therefore never ending. Overall, this article has been and will continue to be relevant to my chosen area of study.


Methods and Practices Glossary Collected over the semester

Terms Abductive Reasoning A method of thinking about a topic or problem based on guessing, hunches or intuition. For example, a person might use Abductive Reasoning to connect a set of facts in their mind that may not have an immediately obvious connection, and then move on to another method (such as Deductive Reasoning) to prove that they are connected. Abductive Reasoning is a form of Heuristics. Anthropometry Anthropometry is the study of the human body’s measurements for anthropological classification and comparison. These measurements, termed anthropometrics, include general figures, such as height and weight, and functional measurements, such as how far a person can reach in a certain direction, or how much they can lift for how long. Such data is useful to the field of design on many levels, from the bespoke design practice to designing for mass manufacture and distribution. When designing for the latter, it is common for the designer to consider the majority and exclude the outliers on a set of anthropometric data. User-centered design uses anthropometric data to inform the design of an object, service or system specifically for all of the variations expressed in the data. Anthropometric data is therefore also useful when designing for a specific demographic, as anthropometric study makes evident physical distinctions between different groups in a population. Context Aware Computing Context Aware Computing is a field of computer science, specifically ubiquitous computing, which is concerned with making applications aware of the resources available to them,


and the specific requirements of their users, in a given situation. Sometimes considered as ‘artificial customisation’, context aware computing aims to make the user’s experience more enjoyable or productive by automatically tailoring its programs to suit the needs of a specific user at a specific time and place. A simple example of this is an air conditioning system that senses the current temperature, number and movement of people in a room and adjusts its output of air accordingly. From a more theoretical perspective, context aware computing aims to translate the dynamic user environment to the typically static computer operating system and therefore reduce the user’s need to adapt to the computer. As such, the principles of ubiquitous computing (computing devices that work while the user is unaware of them) overlap with those of context aware computing. End User Programming (EUP) or End User Development (EUD) End User Programming refers to the practise of a user modifying software to better serve their personal requirements without necessarily being a professional programmer. Designing for EUP requires the ‘translation’ of program code into more universally recognisable symbols, which must be then programmed into the original software. Examples of EUD (at v arying degrees) include any software where the user has a significant amount of control over the output: wikis, blogs, digital modelling software, spreadsheets, and all software with customisable visual features. Extension Language An extension language of a piece of software is a second layer of programming language that allows a user to customise or command their program with ease. Essentially, an extension language is the middle-man command between the user and the original software coding. Also called ‘scripting language’ or ‘script’, the extension language is distinct from, and much simpler than, the

core code of an application. For example, ‘’’ is a ‘term’ in the extension language of the Wiki core code that allows a user to type bold text. GUI Graphical User Interface – the input-output system that we associate with the traditional computer. GUI’s consist of a screen-like visual output which can conventionally be manipulated only by the mouse’s cursor. Other output systems, like sounds, were added later to augment the GUI system. With the event of the touch screen, the long-established GUI has taken a step towards the TUI (Tangible User Interface). Input into the GUI system usually consists of a mouse, which manipulates a pointer on the x and y axes only, and keyboard, which inputs lines of code to the operating system’s software. Frustration with the GUI’s limited input and feedback capabilities have lead to explorations in the fields of Interaction Design, Tangible Computing, HCI design and many others. Interaction Relabelling A technique used in design ideation that involves a designer taking a digital process and applying it to an unrelated physical object (or vice versa) in order to inform new ways of interacting with a product or process. For example, the digital process of sending an email could be mapped to a dart board, so that the user literally throws (physical process) their message encoded in a dart. This physical interaction raises questions about the digital process (what if the user missed the target? Would the email reach its destination?) which lead to alternative, creative design opportunities. This is a technique best performed in a group, as the competition between group members helps to overcome inhibitions an individual might have about how a product ‘should’ work.

Lexicon A term that is used to categorise a set of words, definitions and uses of these that is specific to a particular context. For example, the lexicon of the field of Industrial Design might include such terms as ‘profile’, ‘affords’ and ‘flux’ (meaning ‘two dimensional elevation’, ‘guides the user’ and ‘flow’) while the lexicon of the field of Psychology might include the same words but associate them with alternative meanings (‘personality synopsis’, ‘financial ability’ and ‘constant change’). The lexicon of different fields is important to consider as the context in which a word is used affects its meaning and associations. This is particularly relevant to Industrial Design, and in fact Design in general, as examples from other contexts are often used to communicate newly designed concepts. Also, interdisciplinary working relationships require all parties to have knowledge of the others’ lexicon and how this differs from their own. Just as each field of study has its associated lexicon, individuals too have a personal lexicon that influences the way in which they communicate with others. An individual’s lexicon (or their vocabulary, and how they use it) is made up of emotional associations and highly specific events.

Lumen (lm) The Lumen (lm) is the SI (International System of Units) unit of luminous flux. It is not to be confused with Lux (lx), which is the measure of luminous flux over an area. For example, two emitters putting out an equal amount of lumens in two different areas will not light both areas in the same way. The same amount of lumens will seem to be dimmer when dispersed over a larger area. The lux of the emitter will therefore decrease as the area it’s emitting over increases, while the lumens stay constant.


Luminous Flux or Luminous Power Luminous flux is a measure of the power of light as seen by the human eye. It is not necessarily the total power of light emitted by the source, but only the power of the visible light emitted by the source. Luminous flux is measured in Lumens (lm). Radiant Flux Radiant flux is the measure of total power of light put out by a light source. This light may not necessarily be visible to the human eye; radiant flux is a measure of energy that includes ultraviolet, infrared and the visible light spectrum. The measure of radiant flux includes luminous flux, and its SI unit is the Watt (W). Relational Thinking Relational Thinking is a system of thinking that centres on the relationships surrounding an object and the next object. Relational Thinking considers all things in terms of the interactions they have with other things. For example, Relational Thinkers would “see” the form of a head when looking at a pair of glasses, and they would “see” the form of air currents when looking at a bird in flight. Relational Thinking is related to Affordances as it is the method of thinking that allows someone to become aware of the affordances an object might have. In this way, Relational Thinking might be the overarching discourse encompassing Ergonomics and Interaction Design. RFID Radio Frequency Identification – any technology that transmits a unique number (ID) from a tagged object to a receiver using radio waves. RFID tags differ from other identification techniques (such as the UPC barcode) due to the fact that an RFID tag does not need to maintain contact or line of sight with its sensor in order to be read. As such, RFID tags can, and are most


commonly, incorporated into products rather than included on their surfaces. There are three types of RFID tags: active, passive and battery assisted passive. Active tags contain a battery and transmit signals constantly and autonomously. Passive tags require constant sensing in order to be read, as they contain no battery and do not output any signal of their own. Battery assisted passive tags are a hybrid between the previous two types, as they are activated by an external power source (sensor) but contain a battery that allow them to transmit to a higher capacity than the ‘wake up’ sensor would allow. RFID tags are a staple for prototyping in the interaction design field and have been since they were incorporated into the daily functioning of Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre) in the late 1980s. Tacit Knowledge Tacit (meaning unvoiced, silent or implied) Knowledge refers to knowledge that is know by an individual but that is difficult to communicate through written or verbal means. The individual is not usually aware of this type of knowledge, and can only communicate it to others by being in contact with them for extended periods of time and over a variety of contexts. Its opposite is Formal or Explicit Knowledge. Ubiquitous Computing Coined in 1988 by Marc Weiser, the then chief of the Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre), the term ‘ubiquitous computing’ or ‘ubicomp’ now refers to a field of study encompassing computer science, interaction and environmental design that is concerned with integrating computational ability into every aspect of a given environment so that the user is unaware of its presence. Ubiquitous computing proposes a ‘post-desktop’ model of interaction in which many small computation devices form a large, networked “smart” environment. It is because of this model that ubiquitous computing is sometimes referred to as the

“third wave” of computing; the first system (called Mainframe) involved many users and one machine, the second and current wave (Personal Computing) involves one user and one computer, and the third (Ubiquitous Computing) involves many (smaller) computers for the one user. As a result, ubiquitous computing is also referred to as pervasive computing, ambient intelligence or ‘everyware’, and considered to be roughly the opposite of Virtual Reality. Ubiquitous computing is a contemporary concern of interaction and interface designers, as the field requires the user’s attention to shift from the technology (performing an action) to the action performed. Thus, the GUI is not applicable to devices designed for ubiquitous computing, and alternative interaction techniques like natural or tangible interaction must be considered as an integral part of ubiquitous computing. WIMP interface Windows Icon Menu Pointer interface – the most common system of organisation, visualisation of and interaction with a computer’s software. The term was first used in 1980 by Merzouga Wilberts at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) and has since been eclipsed by the term Graphical User Interface (GUI). ‘WIMP interface’ is now used colloquially in a derogatory way by programmers (or others) that prefer to interact with a computer’s software by typing lines of code directly into the operating system. The WIMP interface was developed in tandem with the first mouse (or similar early input device) in the late sixties by Douglas Englebart, and has remained the dominant visual and physical means of interacting with a computer to this day. Though dominant, the WIMP interface (GUI) is slowly becoming redundant with the popularisation of alternative interaction devices and techniques (namely Tangible User Interaction prototypes/concepts, and associated software). Saying this, most common TUI devices still interact with a WIMP system by translating rich user gestures to a cursor on a screen

(for example, a Wiimote, which allows the user to gesture much more freely than a mouse, but which still only manipulates a pointer in a window/icon/menu system).

References Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility 2009, What is RFID?, viewed 24 October 2009, <> Brown, V & Morin, R 1999, ‘Scripting Languages’, Mactech, vol. 15, no.9, viewed 28 July 2009, < mactech/Vol.15/15.09/ScriptingLanguages/index.html> Clarkson, J 2008, ‘Human Capability and Product Design’, in HNJ Schifferstein (eds), Product Experience, Elsevier Ltd, Sydney, pp. 16580. 2009, Lexicon, viewed 24 October 2009, <> 2009, Lumen, viewed 1 August 2009, <> 2009, Tacit, viewed 1 August 2009, <> Djajadiningrat, J.P., Gaver, W.W, & Frens, J.W 2000, Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions, 1st edn.,, accessed 28 July 2009, from < publications/00DjajDISInte.pdf>


Djajadiningrat, J.P., Wensveen, S.A.G, & Overbeeke, C.J 2004, Interaction Frogger: A Design Framework to Couple Action and Function through Feedback and Feedforward, 1st edn., portal.acm. org, accessed 29 July 2009, from < cfm?id=1013140> Gaver, B., Dunne, T. & Pacenti, E., 1999. Cultural Probes. Interactions, 6(1), p.21-29. Goodell, H 2000, End-User Programming, University of Massachusetts Lowell, viewed 18 August 2009, <http://www.cs.uml. edu/~hgoodell/EndUser/> Greiner,L 2008, ‘PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, Perl, Python, and Tcl Today: The State of the Scripting Universe’,, pp. 1-4,viewed 28 July 2009, <> Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary 2009, Luminous Flux, viewed 1 August 2009, < luminous+flux> Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, Tacit, viewed 1 August 2009, <> Norman, Donald A 2007, The Design of Future Things, 1st edn, Basic Books, Philadelphia Online Etymology Dictionary 2001, Lexicon, viewed 24 October 2009, <> Paterson, Mark 2007, The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies 1st edn, Berg, Oxford UK


Salim, F Dr., ‘Context Aware Computing’, Tangible Wiki, 13 October 2009 (In-class lecture by Dr. Flora Salim on Context Aware Computing, as part of the Tangible Wiki elective run by Frank Feltham, Sem 2 2009) Shaine, J n.d., Relational Thinking, MIT Educational Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, viewed 18 August 2009, <> Taylor, A G 1997, WIMP Interfaces, Georgia Tech College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, viewed 24 October 2009 < dialog-wimp/> Thagard, P Shelley, C 1997, Abductive Reasoning: Logic, visual thinking, and coherence, University of Waterloo, viewed 22 July 2009, <> Touchatag 2009, Developer’s Guide, viewed 24 October 2009 <> Ullmer, B & Ishii, H 2000, ‘Emerging Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces’, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 39, No 3/4, pp.579-601. 2009, WIMP interface, viewed 24 October 2009 <> Zimmerman, J 2006, ‘Addressing the Relationship Between Product Interaction and Identity in Experience Design’, in CHI Workshop on Theory and Method for Experience Centered Design, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Tutorial Participation Tasks Comment on Sha’s Reading and Response

Sha, The parrellels between your proposal and Xenaki’s work are evident and I agree with your assessment of his work (and this article). As you say, there are “infinite realms of possibility within this design topic”, and I can see how Xenaki’s exploration of space can be used as a building block for what I understand as your exploration of the relationship between the user, their environment and the objects that inhabit it. As I see it, Xenaki bases his work in old, familiar, well thrashed out ideas – philosophy (the basis of all human expression and creation?) and mathematics (the basis of human rationalization?) - and combined these to form a solid theoretical base before tackling the ‘practicalities’ of his designs. Fundamental to his working method is a blurring of boundaries between classic knowledge definitions – that is to say, his work is fundamentally interdisciplinary. It might be of interest to you to have a chat to Dr. Harry Krane about his thoughts on interdisciplinary design (as Industrial Designers, it is our job to master just enough of as many disciplines as possible). This idea of interdisciplinary thinking has popped up in my research into user perception in a more clinical sense. I attended a lecture from a Neuropsychologist who, basically, is of the opinion that the ‘input’ the 5 senses give the brain is merged until we try to express verbally what we have experienced, ie. we only identify the siren and flashing lights of an ambulance in isolation after we know the ambulance has passed. Similarly, I have recently read a book about the senses of touch, haptics, which names 3

sensations that we lump together as ‘touch’ when we try to express what we have felt. So, all this relates to your proposal and Xenaki’s work, in my mind, in its paradigmatic shift of user perception. Xenaki merged input from the 5 senses and created forms; your proposal aims to create an awareness of the tacit user experience – these both require a shift in how we (the designer and the user) perceive and express our experiences. Easier said than done! I will be interested to see how (and when) you achieve this. So, you may like to consider this merging of sensual input/user perception as a basis for your work. Another reading you might find relevant is an analysis of place vs space I came across last year during studies: White, E. 2006, ‘Path, Portal, Place’, in Urban Design Reader, eds Matthew Carmona & Steve Tiesdell, Elsevier Press, Architecture Imprint, Oxford UK, pp 192-198. This gives an insight into how a person perceives their environment – perhaps it can be of some use. All in all, an interesting case study, and one that I can see will be relevant to your work in a number of ways.


Comment on Nate’s Proposal

Nate, What an epic ending! “Revolution is a dying practice” – a catchy title perhaps? Definitely an effective closing statement, and you have me convinced… but I’m not sure of what. The opinions you express, though a bit obscure at times, are certainly ones that need airing in the design community (in my humble opinion), but this proposal seems to be little more than that: a collection of opinions. What I mean to say is that I think your ideas could benefit from a bit of rearranging and coalescing into a more succinct argument/ research topic/narrative. Also, you may need to define the term ‘design’ – do you mean the profession, discipline, or art? Or a combination of these?

Between Product Interaction and Identity in Experience Design’ by John Zimmerman is worth a look. It is concerned in part with how an individual constructs themselves through the interactions he/she has with their possessions. A scary idea, having read your proposal. Are designers to be burdened with the responsibility of psychologically raising the populace as well? Ok, so that was a bit melodramatic, but you should have a look at that article. All in all, an interesting set of ideas to pursue, especially within the context of industrial design. Hooray for ethical awareness! Go for it – this proposal will get you noticed. :) Xis

A couple of things spring to mind that you might find useful: As you are contextualizing your thoughts in contemporary society, and contrasting design ideals with those of the past, you might want to look into Post-modernism (or Post-post-modernism) and the philosophies that immediately preceded it. I was thinking this could be useful in helping to define contemporary society, but it also fits with your reference to jokes; post-modernist design is characterized (in part) by its use of humour and self-criticism. This could be an interesting parallel to explore. Mob psychology – why exactly is it that the consumer shouldn’t be in control? It’s no secret that individuals act ‘stupidly’ in a mob, and perhaps the same theories could be applied to the larger ‘mob’ of consumers? An article I found called ‘Addressing the Relationship


Comment on Ellen’s Literature Review

Ellen, A solid lit review! It’s clear you have done your research and can pull relevant examples from various texts to support your argument.

and has a wealth of knowledge on interaction design. It’s one of the databases the library has in it’s network, so we can get it’s article for free. Woo! I hope that helps.

I found the introduction/background context particularly helpful in establishing your point of view, and while it’s not necessarily a formal part of a lit review as I understand it, you should definitely keep it as it is.


I also found the idea of designers maintaining the self-image of their designs interesting – I hadn’t considered the role of a designer as ongoing. I guess I had thought of a product designer’s relationship with the user over once the design was completed. But now I’m thinking further products a designer produces impact on (interact with) their previous work, and how the user perceives contemporary and past work. This is a really interesting point, and maybe one that you could elaborate on, since I get the feeling you are writing to a designer audience. I’m not sure if this will help, but I found an article that outlines the relationship between interaction design and identity creation in experience design. Here’s the url: It’s definitely worth a look – some interesting ideas in there. Also, if you haven’t already, check out the ACM Portal– it’s the database of the Association for Computing Machinery,


The Project Scope  

Xisca's Methods in Research and Design Practices Project Scope Document

The Project Scope  

Xisca's Methods in Research and Design Practices Project Scope Document