Abstract Information Appliances
Methodological Exercises in Conceptual Design of Computational Things

Lars Hallnäs and Johan Redström
PLAY Research Studio, Interactive Institute


The decisions we make when designing computational things cannot all be reduced to questions about functionality, usability testing, user requirements, etc. In HCI-related research and design, other fundamental aspects of design, such as the basic aesthetical choices involved, have a tendency to be hidden and seemingly forgotten. To support awareness and understanding of such basic aesthetical choices, we propose two methodological exercises that take the expressions of computational things in use as their starting points: i) to derive functionality from given expressions; and ii) to rediscover "expressionals" in given appliances. The aim with i) is to encourage reflection upon of how functionality can be grounded in the expressions of things. With ii), the aim is to expose the more or less hidden aesthetical choices by means of re-interpreting them in given appliances. Using a number of examples as a basis, the central role of temporal gestalts and the art of using computational things are discussed.

Aesthetics, interaction design, design methods.

  In: Proceedings of DIS2002: Serious reflection on designing interactive systems, pp. 105-116. ACM Press. [PDF]


© 2002

johan redström