Week 4 Reading Response

Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions

J.P. Djajadiningrat, W.W. Gaver, J.W. Frens

Coming from an industrial design background, it was really interesting to read this article. In the world we currently live in, mostly all the famous must-have gadgets focus entirely on a rectangular screen interacting with people through complicated software. Hardly do you see products with different shape and for and material physically interacting with human. This article talks about how interactive relabeling and designing for extreme characters may lead designers to think outside the box. When deciding on a thesis project in undergrad, it was really hard for me to decide on a topic. After long thought, I decided to create a design that focused on a somewhat extreme character in Alzheimer’s Disease patient’s caretakers. I made countless trips to different sanatoriums and used many methods such as diaries, user tracking, collaging, etc. to really grasp how the caretakers felt and how they acted towards patients of Alzheimer’s Disease. I had the opportunity to dive into a distinct user and to create a product that did not look prototypical. Because caretakers in Korea were usually old and were far from being tech geeks, it really would not have made any sense for me to create an iPad-like device that enables caretakers to manage Alzheimer’s Disease patients – the caretakers would not really find it comfortable carrying around an iPad and working with software that can be hard to understand. What I spotted was that almost every caretaker had a watch. I somewhat held an interactive relabeling myself and tried to store daily logs of patients into a watch so that caretakers could easily manage different patients. While reading the article, I really liked the product design created for the polyandrous twenty-year old. The other products for the drugs dealer and the pope were too clichéd and stereotyped therefore didn’t show much potential for development. But the “appointment fan” really made use of its aesthetics and combined it with interaction in a very purposeful way. I can see an image of a polyandrous woman luxuriously taking out her fan and blowing wind to herself while at the same time checking her schedule. Not only can this fan-appointment device be used by polyandrous woman, but I can see it also being used by other comparatively “normal” people.

What do Prototypes Prototype?

Stephanie Houde, Charles Hill

As a designer, there are many times when designers need to prototype their concepts. There are also several reasons for prototyping. Designers may prototype their conceptual “artifact” in order to see if their design really works, or to find out any other ways to solve different problems, or simply to make an effective presentation in order to persuade clients. Deciding on what the main goal of the prototype is essential during the process of prototyping as prototypes have several different outcomes. I like to think of prototypes as a communication tool towards different audiences in order to receive feedback that can improve the final outcome of the artifact. Just like people talk differently to children, teenagers, adults, old people, etc., prototypes must also be different for different types of audiences for better understanding. As an example, you would not make your prototype through touchscreens if you wanted feedback from a baby; you would make it on paper and crayons. After reading this article, it was quite clear that there are very diverse mediums such as video, paper / pencil, computer programs, pizza boxes, toy cars, etc. that can be used in order to communicate with different types of people. But it doesn’t mean the higher the technology, the higher the hierarchy of prototype. As seen in Example 9 of the article, toy cars and walkie talkies were used just for the sole purpose of the look and feel of the design. Because the “role, look and feel, and implementation” are three main factors of prototypes that need to be considered in order to achieve “integration”, I believe this is why designers like us make user scenarios, draw countless number of aesthetic sketches, and carry technological research and practice.