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A bit better Jeff? I think I am focusing on what would make a good celebratory tech but also to get there what would be a good process. The critiques I think I will do will probably focus on the process of how the artefact (goals seem to fit celebratory tech but they don’t always achieve it) came about and because of the process, if it ends up as a good celebratory tech or not. Hope this is an OK line of thought.


Human-food interaction benefit from Third Wave HCI/Experience Design

Human- food interaction emphasize fixing problems

  •  “That work which has been done has focused primarily on the problems that people have planning meals and preparing and consuming food.” – Andrea Grimes et al
  • …points to the possibility and necessity to see technology and design interventions in this space as more than simply corrective.”  – Rob Comber
  • “We certainly agree that individuals do encounter problems in their interactions with food, but…they enjoy their food, relish the practice of making it, and above all celebrate the sharing of it.” – Andrea Grimes et al

Human- food interaction should also focus on positive experiences and connecting people

  • “Food is, and always will be, something that connects people together and which has the potential to inspire and engage us in new and exciting experiences.” – Rob Comber

  • “…our goal is to explore a different path for food research in HCI, one that focuses not on the problems that individuals have with food, but rather on the ways in which people find pleasure and success in their interactions with food.” – Andrea Grimes et al

  • “Human-food interaction requires much more attention to the people and the ways in which they engage with food than efficiencies and novelties new technologies may provide.”  – Rob Comber


Framework [Celebratory]

  • “This design space is characterized by what we call celebratory technology; technology that celebrates the positive and successful aspects of human behavior.” – Andrea Grimes et al

  • “By drawing from social science research on how people live with, consume, and conceive of food, we come to suggest six positive aspects of human-food interaction that can be designed for… creativity, pleasure and nostalgia, gifting, family connectedness, trend-seeking behaviors, and relaxation.”  – Andrea Grimes et al
  • I’ll explain each section
  • This is a framework that can be used to look at design, help design for positive experiences

Projects that want to design for experience (Critiques if they succeeded or not, why)

Food Media/CoDine is concepted as a celebratory tech but fails at it through the process of its creation (celebratory framework eval throughout, look at process to see why did or did not achieve)

  • “Food Media” is “an intuitive multimodal interaction platform to engage remote people into social communication and entertainment within the telepresent family dinner context.” – Jun Wei et al
  • “…CoDine system, a dining table embedded with interactive subsystems that augment and transport the experience of communal family dining to create a sense of coexistence among remote family members.” – Jun Wei et al
  • “CoDine connects people in different locations through shared dining activities: gesture-based screen interaction, mutual food serving, ambient pictures on an animated tablecloth, and the transportation of edible messages.” – Jun Wei et al
  • “Rather than focusing on functionality or efficiency, CoDine aims to provide people with an engaging interactive dining experience through enriched multi-sensory communication.” – Jun Wei et al
  • They are two different papers about the same design
  • They want to create an experience with their prototype but their process was not best way to design for experience
  • Reasons why: prototype, test prototype, assume target audience will feel the way they want them to feel, next step is user study to make sure they feel the way they feel (lots of quotes and annoyed critiques about this)
  • “Compared to interacting in a virtual environment, we believe these physical movements of plates or cups physically on dining table convey more delicate human emotions and stronger feeling of warmth, which contributes to the enhanced sense of co-presence when user take the served dish from their remote dining partner, even though they do not share the same physical dining table.” – Jun Wei et al [My comments: They did not test this on their audience to see if they really do think this, it is them speculating.]
  • [prototype first than see if your users will feel the way you want them to feel, they built elaborate hi-fi prototype, how much are you willing to change if people don’t feel the way you want to?] “While we have conducted prototype tests during the implementation to verify the CoDine modules function, our next step is a user study to assess whether CoDine enhances engagement between fellow co-diners.” – Jun Wei et al
  • [the design is not everyday habit, design not shown how people react to it in home] “Our research explores how interaction with familiar but intelligent everyday environment and artefacts can be used to enhance meaningful interactions in dining situation, going beyond ambient sensing and computing, to the level of subconscious connection between human beings.” – Jun Wei et al
  • [more features = people feel more connected, that is what this says to me] “In the future, more interaction channels can be included to increase the feelings of connectedness, awareness and playfulness, to enhance the shared social entertainment experience beyond verbal or video communication.” – Jun Wei et al

Telematic Dinner Party is a celebratory tech but still lacked some experience they wanted to achieve (celebratory framework eval throughout, look at process to see why did or did not achieve)

  • “Here we consider, among the others, the creativity, togetherness, pleasure and playfulness, associated with food and mealtime.” – Pollie Barden et al
  • “The Telematic Dinner Party (TDP) aims to support remote guests in experiencing a sense of togetherness, and playfulness and sharing in a dinner party.” – Pollie Barden et al
  • Their process better than above
  • They tested with their audience
  • They held activities with audience to see if they get the goal experience
  • They were iterative: traditional dinner party, pilot study, hi-fi prototype
  • Still found issues with experience and how people felt with prototype that they have to address
  • They built it all but some experience they wanted to achieve didn’t work
  • “Our observations of the TDPs and guest feedback indicate that the social structure is central in creating a sense of social presence between participants, and that this cannot be achieved by the quality of the technology platform alone.” – Pollie Barden et al

Inform future experience design for Human food interaction

Food Journey (Capstone Process): a way to design for experience first

  • Want to “support relationship-building activities and extend them to distant dining situations… support [couple] bonding, communication, and social togetherness.” (CoDine, 23) Minus the remote participants

o   See how people act together collocated first before remote

  • What: design for the experience

o   Focus on the positive experience instead of technology

  • Tech mediator
  • Comber: Human-food interaction requires much more attention to the people and the ways in which they engage with food than efficiencies and novelties new technologies may provide.” (182)

o   aim for overall positive experience

o   make sure it is there before higher fidelity

o   couples are unique and will interact and respond different

  • Why: technology is just the mediator [unremarkable computing (Grimes)]
  • Concept

o   people grow up with different preferences and tastes

o   relationship together

  • bring their backgrounds together
  • possible to explore their preferences together
  • try new things
  • fun experience together

o   Food Journey helps initiate this experience to bring two people closer together [celebratory technology]

  • 6 postive aspects
  • don’t know where journey take them
  • aim, prompt conversation, expand horizons, develop positive food practice
  • Five parts: exploration, Adventure: The Hunt, Adventure: Create, Adventure: Eat, Keeper
  • How: low fidelity prototype, paper prototype with post its

o   simulate the journey

o   so far with three young couples (various status, various pickiness and control)

  • young couple already use smart devices like smartphone on regular basis

o   Allow focus on how couple interact with each other and engage with activities, how felt throughout the experience

o   Less focus on technology breakdown

o   Next step would be higher fidelity prototype to look at UI


Not entirely sure what the question I have here is, I’ve re-written this a few times,and it’s not entirely concrete yet.

But based on something Jeff mentioned offhand – “Our field has struggled with adopting phenomenology for sometime”, I want to question either who’s doing it right, or rather what the best way to do it is?

We instinctively categorize in order to make sense of… well anything. The very phenomenological readings we’ve had have still introduced metaphors or models as a way of making sense of our felt lives. In many ways these separations are important for the author to even make their point at all. Dewey’s idea of experience is, while phenomenological, still dualist! It’s Feeling of Experience vs. “That other non-experience stuff that’s not as interesting”.

And this gets at the issue of language reinforcing this dualist way of thinking – but if you have to, say, write an academic paper, how do you construct a good phenomenological argument without a) breaking things down into disparate categories, or b) basically saying “Well, everything is holistically important, guys.”

In some ways choosing a focus or topic at all seems… against the belief. and yet building it up like this is a straw-man. Help me, I’m going in circles!

For the final paper, I am thinking of doing an introduction and sort of a “reason why” for the concept I would like to showcase for my capstone. This concept is called the Food Journey and the idea behind it is that people have different backgrounds and preferences. In the case for my capstone, the focus is on food, people can have different tastes in food. When they are in a relationship, exploring their tastes and doing activities related to food creation and eating can help expand horizons, prompt conversation, and allow the two to grow closer. That is what my concept sets out to do. I have the concept down and am currently doing a proof of concept to see how couples react and interact with each other and the app and what kinds of experience do they get out of it.

Anyways, why am I doing this? That is kind of why I would like to right my paper on. I have a pre pre very basic outline that is helping me organize my thoughts a bit:

  • Intro: Human-Food Interaction, what is it, needs more experience design (basically from new papers I found for my capstone)
  • Experience design is part of the third wave of HCI
  • Third Wave of HCI, what parts of it is important for interaction design and people
  • Food Journey app, description, how it fits into above

That is what I have now. I am currently looking through the old papers to find things that fit. Let me know if something needs more explanation.

JEFF: Is this direction OK? Are there any other suggestions of directions I can take or things I can add before I get too into this route?

Many ideas came to my mind today at class… Here there are two of them.

* I think that art might be a form of control… how can the artist create art that really leverages society? It you’re educated on criticism and to do critique, you may get critical about your role as a designer and about your work… Therefore, you won’t be able to ignore the degree of “commodified dreams” that your work might represent, your work environment might represent, and your work context (micro-world/business world) might represent.


* When students start learning about design, they go easily à la “Dieter Rams” way. I believe that as “older” as you get, and as better “knower” as you get (regarding Design), you may observe that design is a) richer and b) there’s no right or wrong design.



I thought I would take a design I saw recently and run it through the Critical Design matrix we talked about yesterday. This is largely incomplete, as I want to get these ideas out of my head while they are still fresh…I may revisit it later.

Design: Durr



Durr as a design is a part of the time and timekeeping space. It could also have secondary links to the quantified self and personal tracking spaces as well, similar to fitness trackers.


Durr’s primary purpose is to measure time, albeit in an unconventional way: in 5-minute increments, rather than as a concrete hour-and-minute format.


The functionality of the design is extremely limited; its only function is to vibrate every 5 minutes.


In line with its functionality, the interactivity consists of a single button on the side of the device, which turns the vibrations on and off.


Durr takes the shape of a traditional watch, and is housed in a round casing with a leather strap to be worn around the wrist.


From the product page:

The chassis and fastening mechanism of Durr are sintered in polyamide and hand-dyed by us. The strap is laser-cut Norwegian vegetanned leather, and we program and hand-solder the electronics with RoHS-compliant (lead-free) components on ENIG-plated circuit boards.

See also their beautiful documentation of their design and assembly process here.

Changing perspectives

The designers of Durr made it with the intent of reshaping and reframing how its users perceive time. Rather than reporting the exact time on the face of the device itself, Durr instead challenges its users to think more actively about how they measure the passage of time by reporting it (in the form of vibrations) at a fixed interval. One recent review of the device was particularly revealing in this regard:

Towards the end of CES week I attended a funeral that was conducted almost entirely in Greek — a language I don’t speak — and permeated with incense and all manner of Orthodox chanting. I was there to pay my respects and say goodbye, but a combination of faint-inducing incense and general sleep deprivation had turned this gesture into a battle to maintain consciousness. Once again, Durr quietly vibrated away, letting me know that each six hours that passed had in fact been just five minutes.

Proposals for change

Durr’s call-to-action is as subtle as its form of notification; the device itself is not forcing the user to forgo the use of a traditional clock (which can be found just about anywhere else in addition to your wrist), but rather defamiliarizing the most readily accessible means of measuring the passage of time. The moment you glance at your wrist to check the time, you realize that there is no face for you to check, and are then reminded of the fact that you’re actively participating in the device’s constraint it has set for you. Durr seems to suggest a rethinking of what qualifies as the passage of time, and how it can be quantified.

Enhancing appreciation

How one chooses to interpret or utilize the vibrations appears to shape how much value people attribute to this device. Some anecdotal accounts of the device in use suggest increase productivity, as people measure the number of vibration “events” that it takes to complete a task. From a material perspective, some have criticised it as being nothing more than “an egg timer on a strap,” and not worth the high asking price (€90, around $120). Another lens through which this device could be examined is the circumstances of its manufacture: the run of 50 initial devices was largely done as an experiment on the part of the designers, each of them hand assembled. The location of the studio where they were made is also a factor; Oslo, Norway is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live and work, and shipping internationally from such a location factors into the cost of the product itself.


It seems to me that one of the core messages of Durr is to encourage people to be more reflective about how they spend their day: how long responding to that email really takes, how much time it really takes to drive into work in the morning, how long one really is waiting on hold for customer service, and so on. This sort of static quantification can be good or bad, calling attention to the speed (or lack thereof) with which time passes as we go about our daily activities. The fact that the vibrations are insistent, not stopping for any reason (unless they are muted using the single button) is also instructive: it points to the relentless march of time itself, towards a rather bleak and macabre realization that each vibration demarcates another five minutes of your life that is lost to you, closer to the end of your life. But beyond that rather grim conclusion, Durr is a passive observer; it doesn’t attempt to overly influence or sway its users one way or the other. From its rather passive physical design using pleasing, natural colors (with names like Cooked Salmon and Fjord Blue) and materials to the designers almost indifferent intentions for the initial trial run of devices, Durr seems to suggest that time is a river, and it is merely a gently bobbing vessel to remind you of the current.


In my bedroom at my parents’ house, I still have a blown up image of H.R. Giger’s portrait of Deborah Harry on my wall.  I think most the reason I put it up is cause I think it symbolized both my teenage angst and how Blondie is one of my favorite groups.   My parent’s understood it, but the image itself kind of scares some people the first time they see it in all its glory hanging on my wall.


H. R. Giger, Brian Aris. Accessed on 8 Feb. 2014. Used here under educational Fair use only

However, I was in a discussion once with a person who is a self-proclaimed artist about the image, Giger’s work, and his art aesthetic.  When asked what medium was used, I said it was a photograph that was airbrushed.  The person responded with, “airbrushing is a not a real artist.”  I was confused and unable to think of a counter example, cause, really, I could not really think what made an artist an artist and what what did not constitute as art.  Sure when we hear about airbrushing, we usually associate it with magazine covers, taking something that one person could view as perfect and making it more perfect, but the Giger example is almost the exact opposite.  He took a photograph that one could say was perfect and made it a lot uglier — but is there a difference between a person doing touch-ups on a magazine or a person completely changing the visual, emotional, intellectual, etc aesthetics of an image?  Could the same be said about another artist such as Andy Warhol (who also did a digital painting of Deborah Harry, but that is for another blog post) who would take every day items a person could find in the grocery store, in the home, or on the farm and turn them into works of art.

Jeffrey Bardzell synthesizes on page 29 of his paper titled Commentary on Tractinsky’s ‘Visual Aesthetics’ in The Encyclopedia of Interaction Design that aesthetic experiences and/or responses, “…contributes directly to human knowledge and understanding of the world.”  What I am trying to say here is, Giger took a medium that we know for getting t-shirts made at the mall with and completely changed our  connotation as to what it can be used for.  He challenged our understanding of the world and made us see a medium and the image many people had for a singer in a new light here.  Warhol did the same thing.  He made us realize that everything we have in our lives, that someone designed or created that, and that is could and should be seen as art, whether it be an airbrushed image or a reproduced Brillo box.

I’m sure many of you will agree, but I found myself nodding my head continuously throughout Jeff’s lecture on Thursday about the importance of pre-writing. Reflecting on my experience as a writer, it’s a practice, hobby, and fixation that’s very start-and-stop for me. The deeper I get into this program (and design in general), the more I tend to think of “writing” as a single activity, without demarcation between “academic” and “non-academic.”

Now, I don’t mean that all my writing sounds the same, or is entirely directed at one type of audience, but rather that the process of constructing an overarching argument, and transitioning between supporting evidence of that argument is something that I’m starting to see everywhere now. Jeff told us that like many creative endeavors (including design!), writing involves making an argument, and then being able to rationalize that argument in a convincing way to the audience you choose.

This is why I love Medium.

Whether its armchair military aficionados talking about the history of battlecarriers, to first-hand accounts of elaborate tech heists, or one man’s experience with a viral fitness craze, Medium I believe is slowly changing the experience of what it means to write online. And beyond the content that Medium plays host, the claims and arguments of those writing through the service, a second argument is being made, through the design of Medium itself. In their welcoming manifesto (itself a post on the service, free and open to commentary like any other), the creators position themselves in the crowded space of content management systems:

We think great ideas can come from anywhere and should compete on their own merits. On Medium, you can contribute often or just once in a blue moon, without the commitment of a blog. And either way, you’re publishing into a thriving, pulsing network — not a standalone web site, which you alone are responsible for keeping alive.

There are clear arguments being made here: about the democratization (and meritocracy) of ideas, a critique of current content management solutions (one of which, Blogger, the founders of Medium actually started), and the very real struggle of finding a voice and audience in an endless sea of content online. The service aims to harbor all sorts of writers: from your regular, clockwork scriveners to your once-a-year manifesto makers, and provide them with the one key aspect in my mind that is the key component for great writing and interesting reading: an engaged and active readership. From the no-frills publishing platform (no type tools, and minimal formatting controls) to the in-line contextual commenting system, Medium’s argument for a horizontal reading and writing structure runs throughout.

Granted, not all of the content is top-calibre, and abuse of the system certainly does happen, but their efforts set a precedent for what writing online could be. A place to capture ideas, polish them, and share them with the world with minimal distraction. And the stories that emerge have the potential to shine on their own merit, free of external advertisement or endorsement, and any debate that emerges is forced into contextuality through citation of a particular passage or paragraph.

These claims are not accidental; they are a result of a concerted effort, a designerly demonstration of intent, to implement and change the well-worn patterns of blogging into something with greater emotional agency. It is designs like these that for me link together aspects of this course into a real-world context; it allows me to look upon a service I like and understand why I like it. It’s what I think puts the culture in Interaction Culture, that larger scope and set of lenses that reshapes the world around us, and makes the practice of UX so satisfying.

I will attempt to break down a specific design using the 3 platforms Folkmann uses to approach aesthetics in design. (Beware this will be long and somehow not so rich in meaning!)

  • Sensual-phenomenological: Account for the subjective experience in a holistic way (phenomenological), looks at how does an individual make sense of things.
  • Conceptual-hermeneutical: How is meaning staged and how does the object/design reflect this meaning (aesthetic coding)
  • Contextual-discursive: What is the proposition that the aesthetic object is making as a way to see and understand the world

Since my capstone is about interactive architecture/interactive installations, I will focus on one such design.

The design: 21 Balançoires (21 swings). If you would like to learn more about this example:


As it stands now, I am understanding an ecology where interactive architecture/installations occurs, and I think it fits well with Folkmann’s framework (I confess I got a bit biased by Jeff’s diagram on the board).

Here is a diagram of my current understanding of the ecology at play in this type of designs:


So there are 5 elements at play in this ecology:

  • Place: Site specificity matters. This particular installation is set in Montréal’s busy Quartier des Spectacles. According to the about page of the Quartier des Spectacles, this type of installation can be expected to exist.  “A century-old tradition of shows and performances in Downtown Montreal makes the Quartier des spectacles the heart of today’s cultural metropolis. Within this square kilometer of the city, one can find over 80 cultural venues, including 30 performance halls with almost 28,000 seats. The diverse cultural activities of the neighbourhood unfold in indoor venues as well as outdoors, during major events and internationally known festivals.” Given Montreal is a large urban place, I will assume it has similar initiatives as other cities when it comes to beautification projects, and improving cultural exposure of its habitants, as well as trying to motivate tourism with cultural events and landmarks.
  • Artist/author: This installation was created by Daily tous les jours, a design studio “with a focus on participation – empowering people to have a place in the stories that are told around them. We create collective experiences.” So while it is not a single artist/designer at play here, the design culture, process, and values of the studio affect how they approached the project, as well as the outcome.
  • Patron/Sponsor: The Quartier des Spectacles hosts different exhibits, and cultural events year long. Additionally, there are calls for participation in response to a project brief provided by the Quartier des Spectacles. Additionally, “In 2012, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, in partnership with Mutek, joined the Connecting Cities network. As the only members in North America, the Partnership and Mutek have made Montreal a key member of this network of cities known for exploring the creation and exhibition of urban digital art.” Some of the sponsors of projects in this place include ” Ville de Montréal, the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire du Québec, Economic Development Canada and the participating public spaces and cultural venues.”
  • Installation/object: According to the studio’s website, this installation is “An exercise in musical cooperation. 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) is a giant collective instrument, a game where together we achieve better things than separately. When in motion, each swing in the series triggers different notes and, when used all together, the swings compose a musical piece in which certain melodies emerge only through cooperation… The result is a giant collective instrument that stimulates ownership of the new space, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds, and creating a place for playing and hanging out in the middle of the city center.”
  • Visitor/subject: Since I have not visited this particular installation, I will look at some testimonials of people who have been in the installation. So starting on second 53 you can start hearing testimonials. (In case you don’t want to watch the video here are some quotes: “We ended up spending about an hour and a half here. And it’s a really really cool experience to be able to make music through your entire body”, “we tried to figure out if we all went together if it could change the music…and it did“, “it felt almost like plucking, or strumming, like a heart“, “I find it adds to the beauty of life because a single sound isn’t really nice, but together they make a beautiful melody”, “it reminds me of old memories”, and a Facebook comment I found on the exhibit’s page “Amusant et reposant. A faire!!!!” (A google translate reports “Fun and relaxing. To do!!!”, but this seems like a bad translation.)  

So, with these elements in mind, what relations can we see?

  • Place-Patron/Sponsor
  • Place-Visitor/Subject
  • Place-Artist/Author
  • Artist/Author-Patron-Sponsor
  • Artist/Author-Installation/Object
  • Place-Installation/Object
  • Patron/Sponsor-Installation/Object

And yet, these are still related to each other, like Place-Installation-Visitor for example.

Going back to Folkmann now:

  • Sensual-phenomenological: Looking at the Installation/Object-Visitor/Subject, we see in the testimonials how visitors experience the installation. For some, the experience serves as a trigger for previous experiences, others tried to understand how did it work as a system and how did their actions cause certain reactions (in an exploratory fashion), and another saw it in a more “meta” way, in which her entire body (not her body moving a swing that activates a tune) creates music. In terms of sensory experience, we see visual and auditory systems at play. In addition, we have subjects who are not engaging directly in the installation, but see others experiencing the installation.
  • Conceptual-hermeneutical: Here we look at the Place-Installation/Object  and  Place-Artist/Author relations. Medium and site specificity are at play, in the sense that the location is ripe for interactive installations as many have been seen in the past in the area (it is expected in a way). So taking advantage of this, the authors created an experience that could be seen as individual, but becomes better, or is enhanced when working together. So one of their goals is to achieve collaboration. How they did this, is using existing metaphors. Swings being common occurrences in playgrounds across different cultures, and making a small modification to produce a musical note when in motion. So the barrier to entry here is quite low. This in turn transforms the installation into a musical instrument. So they are using the coding of music, and I guess harmony as something to strive for. Through this, they indicate what is a desired outcome (this goes under the assumption that most people would want to create beautiful sounds, as opposed to a cacophony). The swings also create the metaphor of play.
  • Contextual-discursive: Finally we look at the Place-Patron/Sponsor and Patron/Sponsor-Installation/Object in the sense that the goal of this installation, as described by the artists was cooperation. So this proposes a way of understanding the world is that “together more beautiful things happen”, individuality vs cooperation. This is inclusive of the existing agenda of being a large cultural metropolis and providing cultural experiences to citizens and visitors.

As I finish this, I feel it is somewhat of a superficial analysis, and more of a breakdown of all the components. 😦

For my capstone, I am exploring interaction design in public spaces as the current theme, specifically in public interactive installations.

In the process of doing a literature review I came across a paper by Claude Fortin, Kate Hennessy, Ruedi Baur, and Pierre Fortin titled “Beyond the Vision Paradigm: Design Strategies for Crossmodal Interaction with Dynamic Digital Displays “. This particular paper aims to develop new interaction paradigms for dynamic digital displays in public spaces. One idea that really resonated with me is that interactive public displays have the potential of becoming architectural elements.

“When we think of DDDs [Dynamic Digital Displays] in public space, we generally think of displays contained within a framing device placed perpendicular to the ground. These screens can be horizontal, vertical, rigid, flexible, as standalones or multiples disposed in formations. More recently, a number of prototypes have proposed DDDs embedded in furniture such as park benches or horizontal tabletops [7]; others projected onto the ground [15][20] and thanks to flexible display technology [11], we are seeing DDDs used in more organic forms as in Figure 3. This evolution seems promising in bringing them beyond the vision paradigm because it allows us to experience them as architectural elements instead of flat screens.

Throughout the paper there has been mention of the idea that displacing sensory awareness from visual to haptic changes (or may change) the way we experience public art. I personally like this point of interactivity and flexibility, or even dynamism as a medium specific characteristic, that could enhance people’s experiences and perceptions of public spaces. If such an installation becomes embedded in the environment, and is no longer perceives as “a display”, or “a screen”, but a characteristic of the particular urban space. I can see this connected to an earlier paradigm mentioned in the same paper: the aesthetic interaction paradigm. That is:

[T]he aesthetic interaction paradigm is premised on the idea that users give meaning to technological artifacts based on their experience of it [16]. Accordingly, this approach recognizes that new forms of interaction can emerge in use. It thus supports the study of appropriation practices. Aesthetic interaction also assumes that “the human body, intellect and all the senses are used in relation to interactive systems”.

So the flexibility of the medium seems to be essential in being able to take an urban space or public space, and make it a meaningful experience. So what would be the difference in seeing for example this luminous pathway vs being in the high line in new york ? Both spaces have obviously been designed for a particular purpose. Both are highly transited urban spaces. So what does the interactivity add? Perhaps it is not fair to do such a comparison since the two locations are quite different. Site specificity and the objective of the space/interactions within that space serve different purposes…

[I am trying to improve my thinking and knowledge on aesthetics, urban spaces, and similar topics, so if the above sounds like it was written by a caveman, it is because I am still a caveman in my knowledge of this.]

I am actually kind of happy I waited a while to write about the Cross reading. While looking over my notes , I wrote down, “people know what to do because of experience.”  From this quote, I really believe this is the biggest take away I have from this paper.

Probably the only part of the reading that grabbed me was the section about Phillip Starke and the Juicy Salif.  It was a concrete example that backed up what Cross was saying in Design Ability on page eight, “…designing is not a search for the optimum solution to the given problem, but that it is an exploratory process.”  By looking at this lemon squeezer, would anyone really know why it was designed the way it was just by looking at it?  Probably not, because they do not share the same experiences as Startke.  Even if they read the same comic book, there is a good chance each person understood it differently, maybe they did not even pay much attention to the alien insects in the story, but rather the army fighting back the space invaders.  The experience shaped what Starke thought Juicy Salif should look like and fit into the home, he would then just have to leave it up to the engineers to figure out how it would work.  However, how would an alternative experience have changed Starke’s design?

Cross wants to say a lot of it deals with intuition, using the examples of two faces or a cup and two triangles or the Star of David.  Now having the chance to discuss this paper and coming back to it, I understand a lot of what he is arguing by this example.  A lot of things really depend on how the designer wants to look at things.  Starke got a plate of calamari, which probably had lemon on it, and he was able to draw a connection.  An example outside the reading is one I saw on Project Runway Allstars.  In the first episode, designers had to design a look for singer Deborah Harry.  Elena had a leather jacket that was not turning out the way she was wanting it to, but intuition told her to look at it differently.  She decided to put the jacket on the model backwards and the judges absolutely loved it, including the person it was being designed for.

What this comes down to, it really all depends on how the designer wants to look at things.  If you look at it just as a plate of squid or as a really bad jacket that cannot be worn any other way, then the intuition of design will be harder to come to.  It is when things are looked at in new ways, I believe, is what Cross was trying to argue is design thinking.