Creativity Design processes Publications Research

The Productive Role of Material Design Artefacts in Participatory Design Events

Another paper here at the Nordichi conference, this time presented by my colleague Nicolai Brodersen Hansen: The Productive Role of Material Design Artefacts in Participatory Design Events.
Physical design artefacts are employed in a wide range of participatory design events, yet there are few comprehensive discussions of the properties and qualities of them in the literature of the field. In our work, we examine the productive role of material design artefacts in participatory design events. By productive, we refer to the ways in which participants in design events employ physical materials and artefacts to create momentum and move forward in the design process. We offer a theoretical foundation for understanding material artefacts in design, on the basis of pragmatist philosophy. Then, we employ this theoretical perspective to analyse a case in which a range of physical design materials was employed to envision and explore a future building, the Urban Mediaspace in Aarhus, Denmark. We use examples from this case to articulate a series of design considerations for employing material design artefacts in collaborative design events.

The Productive Role of Material Design Artefacts in Participatory Design Events from Nicolai Brodersen Hansen

Hansen, N. B., Dalsgaard, P. (2012): “The Productive Role of Material Design Artefacts in Participatory Design Events”. In Proceedings of NordiCHI 2012, Copenhagen, Danmark.

Interaction design Publications Research Visualisation

Tangible 3D Tabletops

Today I’m giving a paper presentation at Nordichi about a new type of interface, Tangible 3D Tabletops, that Kim Halskov and I have developed over the past year. As is implied by the name, the interface combines elements of tangible tabletops (e.g. Reactable) and 3D projection onto physical objects. This allows us to augment tangible objects with visual material corresponding to their physical shapes, positions, and orientation on a tabletop. In practice, this means that both the tabletop and the tangibles can serve as displays. In the paper, we present the basic design principles for this interface, particularly concerning the interplay between 2D on the tabletop and 3D for the tangibles, and present examples of how this kind of interface might be used in the domain of maps and geolocalized data. We then discuss three central design considerations concerning 1) the combination and connection of content and functions of the tangibles and tabletop surface, 2) the use of tangibles as dynamic displays and input devices, and 3) the visual effects facilitated by the combination of the 2D tabletop surface and the 3D tangibles.

The slides from my talk are embedded below, and a video is coming up as soon as the IT University of Copenhagen get their wifi up and running.

Dalsgaard, P., Halskov, K. (2012): Tangible 3D Tabletops: “Combining Tangible Tabletop Interaction and 3D Projection”. In Proceedings of NordiCHI 2012, Copenhagen, Danmark.

Design processes Interaction design Publications Research

Reflective Design Documentation

One of the crucial aspects of conducting interaction design research is the establishment of reliable and structured ways of capturing and documenting the data generated by the research, so that it can be subjected to analysis and reflection. Documentation may serve the double role of supporting reflection, thereby serving as a source of insight, and providing evidence that supports the insight gained. Given the inherent complexities of design, this process of capturing and documenting design projects can be daunting, especially since there are few resources and tools developed for this particular purpose.

During the past couple of years, my colleagues and I have developed and employed a system designed for the specific purpose of documenting design projects and prompting reflection about design events, called the Project Reflection Tool (PRT). Kim Halskov and I have written a paper entitled Reflective Design Documentation about the insights from our use of this system, and I’m currently at the Designing Interactive Systems conference in Newcastle to give a talk about the paper. The paper is available for download here, and I’ve attached the slides from my talk below:

Architecture Interaction design Publications

Understanding Engaging Interactions in Public Spaces

These days I’m visiting the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon for the Interact conference. In addition to listening to interesting talks, partaking in discussions about designing for the city and the intersections of participatory design and critical design, and of course enjoying the local cuisine, I’m here to give a talk based on the paper Understanding the Dynamics of Engaging Interactions in Public Spaces, co-authored with Christian Dindler and Kim Halskov. You can download a preliminary version of the paper [.pdf] and/or enjoy the slides below.

Architecture Interaction design Publications Research

Challenges of Participation in Large-Scale Public Projects

Being able to travel the world and meet like-minded peers is one of the great benefits of working as a researcher. At the moment, I’m in Australia to present my work at two conferences, the Participatory Design Conference (PDC) in Sydney and the OZCHI Conference in Brisbane.

Today, I am presenting my research on the challenges of working with participation as a central driver in large-scale public projects. I take my offset in the ongoing Mediaspace project in Aarhus, which is the development of a new shared building for the municipal library and citizens service department. The field of participatory design has traditionally addressed the development of interactive systems on a relatively small scale, so the Mediaspace project holds a number of interesting findings for this research field. This concerns both the variety of stakeholders in the project, the new methods and technologies that have been developed in the project in order to involve and engage people in the development of the new library, and the ways in which new technologies transforms the role of the library in society.

I’ve made my work on this project available in three ways: you can download the preliminary version of the paper; you can download the manuscript for my presentation, or you can view the slideshow below.

Interaction design Publications Research

Peepholes as means of engagement in interaction design

I’m currently at the Nordes conference in Oslo. It’s quite a hectic event for me this year since I have to give three presentations. One of these is about the paper Peepholes as means of engagement in interaction design (.pdf), co-authored with Christian Dindler.

By peepholes, we refer to aspects of interactive artifacts and environments that utilize the tension between what is hidden and what is revealed to foster engagement. As a foundation for discussing the qualities of peepholes, we outline a pragmatist perspective on engagement in the paper. This perspective emphasizes the reciprocal relation between people, technology, and environment. From this perspective, we then explore the concept of peepholes as an example of a concrete means of engagement on the basis of a number of interactive installations, including two of our own design cases.

Here are the slides from yesterdays presentation of the paper:

Publications Research

Video and slides from PhD defense

I defended my PhD dissertation, Designing Engaging Interactive Environments: A Pragmatist Perspective on June 25th 2009. Below I have embedded a video of my talk at the defense – you can skip the introduction and formalities and jump to 2:50 for the main presentation. The slides are not very clear on the video, so these are embedded as a slidecast below the video.
If you don’t feel like watching the proceedings, you can also download the manuscript for my presentation (.pdf) to read alongside the slides.

Interaction design Publications Research

PhD Defense June 25th

My dissertation, Designing Engaging Interactive Environments: A Pragmatist Perspective, has been accepted by my PhD committee, and I will be defending it on June 25th. The event is open to the public, so feel free to swing by – here is the official invitation (.pdf). I’m psyched that it got accepted, and a bit anxious in the face of the defense itself.

I’ll be giving a 30 minute presentation of my PhD project – not a very long stretch of time to present three years of research – followed by 3×45 minutes of discussions with the members of the committee: Peter Wright, Research Professor at Sheffield Hallam University, Thomas Binder, Associate Professor at the Danish Design School, and Ole Iversen, chairman of the committee and Associate Professor at Aarhus University. Though I expect tough questions and a bit of academic slugging, I also look forward to discussing the potentials and problems of my research. If all goes well with the defense, I’ll write up a summary of the response from the committee and make it available along with the dissertation proper.

Interaction design Publications Research

Some late thoughts about CHI 2009

Roughly a month ago I attended the CHI 2009 conference in Boston straight after handing in my dissertation. Together with co-authors Lone Koefoed Hansen and Kim Halskov, I had two papers for presentation: Performing Perception – Staging Aesthetics of Interaction and Dynamically Transparent Windows. In addition to the plethora of activities and presentation tracks, this made for a rather hectic conference experience. Having had a few weeks to let things sink in, I consider the conference to be the most interesting I have yet attended in my (admittedly brief) academic carreer.

With 14 parallel sessions, there was always something fascinating going on, and much like music festivals, this meant that I had to make tough choices and miss talks and panels that I would have liked to attend. I must give credit to the organizers for exploring a variety of different presentation and discussion forms: Workshops, courses, colloquia, keynotes, short papers, long papers, case studies, panel discussions, design community talks, invited thematic presentations, presentation of selected journal publications, alt.chi presentations, and numerous extra-curricular activities, including an inspiring visit to the MIT Media Lab. As an interesting addition there were a number of “battle-sessions” in which the presentation of particularly contestable papers were followed by panel-discussions, e.g. concerning the role of ethnography in design, or the quantification of experiential aspects of interaction.

Out of the many good contributions (there was a total of 277 accepted papers), I’ve selected six that I found particularly fascinating with regards to my own research interests, and which I hope to discuss in more length in future posts:

Bardzell: Interaction Criticism and Aesthetics

Benford, Giannachi & Koleva
: From Interaction to Trajectories: Designing Coherent Journeys Through User Experiences

Gaver et al: Anatomy of a Failure: How We Knew When Our Design Went Wrong, and What We Learned From It

Snibbe & Raffle: 
Social Immersive Media: Pursuing Best Practices for Multi-user Interactive Camera/projector Exhibits

Herring et al: 
Getting Inspired! Understanding How and Why Examples are Used in Creative Design Practice

Lim, Stolterman & Tenenberg
: The Anatomy of Prototypes: Prototypes as Filters, Prototypes as Manifestations of Design Ideas

Publications Visualisation

Maps for design reflection

Together with co-authors Kim Halskov and Rune Nielsen, I have recently had the paper Maps for design reflection accepted for the journal Artifact. I will make a version of the paper available here as soon as it is officially published.

This paper introduces, applies, and discusses a set of design artefacts called maps for design reflection, intended to support design researchers in capturing, analysing, and reflecting upon design processes. The maps focus on reflection with respect to the role of sources of inspiration and design materials in the emergence and transformation of design ideas. The paper revolves around a specific case, the design of media façades – i.e. displays that are an integrated part of a building’s façade – as part of the development of material for a bid in an architectural competition for a new modern art museum in Warsaw, Poland.
We present and discuss three types of maps, namely overview maps, strand maps, and focal maps. They differ in scope as well as application: overview maps outline the entire design process and are intended for reflection upon the general trends and developments in the project, particularly with regards to the numerous concepts and materials brought into play; strand maps trace a specific design concept through its life-cycle in the design process and are intended primarily for reflection upon the transformations the concept undergoes and the various ways in which it is represented; finally, focal maps capture specific design moves and experiments and are intended for guided description of and reflection upon relevance, rationale and insights tied to these experiments.

Dalsgaard, P., Halskov, K., Nielsen, R. 2009, “Maps for design reflection”, accepted for publication in Artifact, Routledge.