On Thursday the 14th of April a workshop on the topic Objects with intent was held as a part of the workshop series things2things. In total 12 researchers and designers from different professional and geographical backgrounds participated.
The workshop was organized by Marco Rozendaal, Geke Ludden, Jelle Stienstra & Jan Hendrik Croockewit.
The goal of the workshop was to developed design knowledge on how to design intentful networked objects in a IoT infrastructure by designing interactions that serve as demonstrators.
- Ideating, Designing and Iterating scenarios in Groups
- Reflecting on the outcomes of the workshop with the design perspectives
- Presenting the results
- Presentation about technology by Jan Hendrik Croockewit
- Introducing the four Design perspectives
- Introducing the coming home scenario
Presentation about technology by Jan Hendrik Croockewit
After everybody was welcomed and introduced Jan Hendrik Croockewit gave a short introduction about different technologies which can be used to create a wireless connection between the objects within an Internet of Things. The presentation focussed on different technologies such as GSM,WiFi,Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart ZigBee and LoRA a relatively new technology which is very low in energy usage but has quite a wide range (2km), hence is something in between GSM and Wifi.
The Design Perspectives
interaction design perspective
From an interaction design perspective, we look at design considerations for designing the appearance, behavior and interactivity of intentful interconnected objects.
From a social perspective we look at the meaningful experiences the objects elicit, the way the objects embed in activities, as well as how they influence them.
In terms of technology, we will reflect on how the objects rely on embedded intelligence, their connectivity and actuating capabilities to make them work?
We will also reflect on the workshop itself, how did the workshop allow us to sketch the envisioned interactions made them configurable and how we could do this in a collaborative way.
Coming Home Scenario
The workshop was centered around the theme of ‘coming home’
Participants are asked to imagine how other artefacts in the home, such as the couch, lighting, media, can play a role in the coming home experience. What is this experience about? Coming back from a tough day at work and wanting to relax. Coming home to do some work because you have a deadline. How about multiple people in the home?
The workshop was held in a space that represented different living areas, such as living room, garden, entrance, eating area to help the participants imagine different situations around the theme of coming home.
2.Ideating, Designing and Iterating scenarios in Groups
After the introduction, three groups were formed. In three iteration cycles, the group developed a design in form of a scenario, which explained the envisioned interaction between the objects and the humans in a certain situation. The first two cycles focussed on the interaction and the social perspective.Cycle one was focussed on brainstorming, cycle two acting out using the environment and requisites. In the third cycle, the focus was on the technical perspective.
Group 1 ‘From Mood to Food’ – Wouter, Harry, Lissa and Benjamin
Group 1 chose the scenario of cooking when coming home. They focussed on the situation when someone comes home and starts cooking how can the objects in the kitchen and the cooking itself respond to the mood of the person. They explored different moods and concentrated on feeling stressed and feeling bored. The kitchen suggests a recipe that responds to the mood of the person, not only considering the outcome but the cooking and the movements itself.
Group 2 ‘The house as a servant’ – Sander, Pieter, Douwe and Tobias
This group explored the situation when someone is coming home, having very limited time, because he has a sports match. How can the house help that person to value the time he as much as possible and have a moment of relaxation at home? The house acts as a ‘servant’ that corresponds with the person already before arriving home, ordering food and opening the right drawers in which the sports clothes are when the person arrives home. This way time is saved that the person can use to eat his ordered dinner. This time should be valued and not spend staring at the watch. Hence, the house slowly indicates with light and music when it is time to leave.
Group 3 ‘Working at home’ – Tom, Kasper, Luuk, Evert
Group 3 focussed on the situation of a coupe in which one of the works at home and the other comes home. Depending on the mood of both people two different lights suggest a certain behaviour. A bigger, ambient light, which can be seen in the peripheral view of the worker reacts on the person coming home. A smaller light on the desk of the worker is interacting with the worker. The group focussed on two scenarios. In the first the person coming home is calm and sees that the small light is still on focus, while the worker can see the bigger light from far changing colour his small light will stay a while bright, if the worker is concentrated. After a while, it will slowly change to a more ambient colour suggesting the worker that it is time to stop. In the second scenario, the person coming home is very stressed and asks straight away for the attention of the worker. Both lights react upon that and suggest the worker to stop working.
3. Reflecting on the outcomes of the workshop with the design perspectives
The participants were asked to write their thoughts on post its and pin them on the design perspective posters over the day.The perspectives were discussed and more post its were added, see pictures above. Different questions were raised.
Interaction Design perspective
There is a conflict between behaviour and interactivity, how can the user make clear he does not agree with an action the system takes? The system is not always right, so what happens if system is wrong? How can an action be stopped, or how can the user teach the system different behaviour and give feedback? Maybe it is interesting if the actions of the system are not always predictable, since the actions of other people are also not always predictable.
Should the system indicate whet it is doing, so the user can stir in in a different direction if he realized in misunderstood his actions? It is important that the system acts intuitive and natural and does not need too much confirmation of the user. It should be a help and not a hussle.
How does the system interact with different people? If the system is designed for one, how does it interact if a second person enters the situation? How does a system then decide on who it should focus, if different people have different moods? What should designers consider when the system is social? Can a universal system be designed, which works on different people?
How much data does a system need to make the right decision? How intelligent is it? It is interesting that the participants understand data in the context of the workshop terms of behaviours and feelings such as stress, happiness, focus or boredom. These feelings have to be translated into user actions which can be turned into measurable data.
The participants liked the roleplay and groupwork a lot, but mentioned that tinkering material and requisites, more fast prototyping tools as well as remote controls could be a great contribution for fast iterations and prototyping.
4.Presenting the results
To conclude the workshops the concepts were presented to an audience. After that the topic was discussed over drinks and snacks.