Ash at CIID

Ashwin Rajan's blog while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Posts Tagged ‘prototypes

Go for quantity – ideation to prototyping

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I have referred to this talk by Tim Brown earlier in my post on Bodystorming. Tim Brown discusses here the IDEO process for designing in groups. This is essentially what we did in CIID a few weeks back with Niels Clausen-Stuck (also from IDEO) who taught the GUI module .

One interesting rule that doesn’t seem to make much sense at first is ‘go for quantity’: Tim speaks of the apparent paradox of having rules in what is essentially an open-ended process driven by spontaneity. He mentions the need for ‘rules to break the old rules’ hard coded into adults’ minds (unlike kids) that hamper natural creativity. It’s very interesting how ‘going for quantity’ can be a great rule for getting misconceptions, biases, pet peeves, old ideas posing as new ones, and generally a lot of┬á crap out of the way. Within this output, a handful of early ideas begin to stand out that demand greater attention and hold the promise of convincing solutions.

But there’s something the above visual doesn’t depict: when this process is performed by multi-disciplinary groups, the clutch of ideas integrate, combine, morph and mutate each other into unanticipated new ideas. Something that Niels said that stuck in my head: “I usually don’t even remember which are my ideas.” Depending on the inclinations of the team, the final ideas with deep potential for prototyping might end up looking something like this:

Or, like this!

Whatever they look like, if the ideation process has been driven by the right premises, contexts and concerns across the brainstorming life cycle, they should offer a rich trove of content for early prototypes.


Written by Ashwin Rajan

December 22, 2008 at 12:44 am

Rock is the new swivel

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One of the chief goals of technology has been to make tasks more efficient and as a result save time. But this has only meant an increased pace of life, as we try harder to pack more into less time and effort.

The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left aching backs and stress in its wake. In this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasize how ‘rock’, an interaction thats all but disappeared from the modern ‘sitting’ context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves, and at the same time serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology.

The theme we worked with is: ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time, helpful laziness, etc.’

Via this prototype, the everyday mundane act of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill. ­čÖé

Rock is the new swivel -  The completed prototype

Rock is the new swivel - The completed prototype

How does it work?

The rocking chair has an Arduino microcontroller and a Xbee wireless communications device attached under its seat. Also attached is a small MP3 player with some preloaded music, and a small mobile phone speaker. The coffee machine is controlled through a hacked power box, which contains a second Xbee . The two Xbees are in communication with each other. An accelerometer is attached under the chair. When the chair is rocked, the Arduino sends a message via the Xbees to turn on power flow to the coffee machine, thus starting the brewing process. The MP3 player is simultaneously turned on. The result is – soothing music and a merry brew in the making, while the person rocks on!

Mimi enjoys a rock accompanied by some soothing music, while making herself an afternoon coffee.

Mimi enjoys a rock accompanied by some soothing music, while making herself an afternoon coffee.

Early prototype of the rocking chair setup

Early prototype of the rocking chair setup

Written by Ashwin Rajan

December 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Two Models of the Design Process

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Bill Verplank drew for us his comprehensive yet concise model of what constitutes the process of design, in his Open Lecture at CIID a few weeks ago. This is very comprehensive and scalable model for approaching just about the entire spectrum of interaction design challenges in particular.

Beginning with the ‘motivations’ for design, the model traces progressive development into creating ‘meanings’ for human beings via metaphors, on to defining the ‘modes’ of system behavior, and finally, making effective ‘mappings’ to the artifacts and controls that ultimately become tools of usage.

Amazing stuff!

Bill Verplank - the Design Process

A few weeks later, we had another model of the design process up on the wall – this time from Niels-Clausten Stuck.┬á(Drawing from my notebook below). This model is┬ácomparatively┬ámuch more generic than the earlier one, in that sense that it describes an effective approach to challenges across the design spectrum, from interaction and innovation to spaces, physical products and information.

Niels-Clausen Stuck - the Design Process

Niels traced the development of ‘user research data’ into informed ‘insights’, which in turn could be abstracted further to the level of ‘frameworks’ that define the opportunity/solution space for design. The dominant opportunities are then concretized into real-world solutions by developing a multitude of ‘concepts’, out of which are created select final ‘prototypes’ – the design solutions that live and perform in the hands of users.

This (second) model of the design process is also a great approach to looking at the focus areas and work of various types of global design/strategy/innovation consultancies – we CIID are learning from folks specializing in each or many of the different areas of the model. Yes, if I haven’t said it already – its great to be here!