Posts Tagged ‘CIID and Copenhagen Life’

TUI exhibition

February 2, 2009

On friday we ended our TUI block with presentations, and a brilliant exhibition organised by Alie and Heather. During the  presentations we got some great feedback from our internal CIID faculty as well as Durrell Bishop, Christopher Scales and Yasmine Abbas.   Throughout the course each group generated, developed  and refined ideas and worked towards building a technically working prototype. We over came problems of aesthetics V’s function, using the correct metaphors and creating the right affordances, managing our time to achieve the deliverable and general nightmare issues around electronics and programming!! But in the end we pulled through and really learned a lot form the four weeks……Some photos from the exhibition

3246850865_af5dabf203Eline and Nunzia’s interactive alice and wonderland game

tui_dubmate_main-663x497Jacob,Francesco and Alice’s Dubmate for remote file sharing

fg_01-663x497Kevin and Ashwins Frontline Gloves for Firemen

the-finished-product-with-two-different-skins1-663x497Jason and Magnus’s “Easy run” making your Iphone tangible for running

tui-compound-eye-main-compound-eye-at-exhibition-663x497Marcin and Ujjval’s networked cameras

More photos on Ujjval’s, David’s and my flickr.

A trip to the experimentarium

January 19, 2009

Yesterday i took a visit to the experimentarium in Copenhagen to gain some inspiration for our current project and see how the experts do i!! It was such a refreshing experience. All the installations there were concise and to the point, they were not over loaded with features, and they were great fun to use. The highlight of my visit was when i saw an old couple (around 70) playing on a dancing game together! Which goes to prove that places like the experimentarium arn’t only enaging for children! Unfortunately my camera died on me after two photo’s but i took lots of notes of things that really stood out for me!



  • if you can make the installation engaing for children, adults will love it to! I saw so many 20 something’s there and older people having great fun!
  • The instructions were simple and clear, normally using 3 step pictorial illustrations (were also available in different languages)
  • Use hand shapes as indicators of what to do, its very intuitive-you no exactly what to do.
  • Music and sounds works very well for feedback
  • A lot of the installations are over sized and exaggerated…makes it more fun!
  • Each installation has a specific role, and does it simply and well, they are not over loaded with features
  • There were a lot of collaborative games, it was more fun to do it with a friend, although i was by myself and was restricted with some of the things i could do.
  • They used colour and colour intensity very simple to show  impact and effect.
  • All the installation involved you to use your senses
  • Everything!!!! was very hands on, the user became part of the experience, they were necessary for it to happen. You were never just watching or looking at something, it was about physically doing something to learn.
  • Light was used very effectively as indicators of what to do, touch, move next. It was very simple but effective. e.g. the children new that when a square lights up on the floor they have to move to that square!
  • The Aesthetics were very clean cut, with simple use of colour and imagery. The imagery was always relevant to the experience.

networking the everyday….initial proposal

January 7, 2009


For the last few days i have been working on our new project for our tangible user interface course, after a day of research and discussing areas of interest ranging from bringing physical qualities back into digital media to encouraging social interaction between strangers, we came up with our initial statement of intent:

” Given a world in which everyday objects are networked through an internet of things and pervasive computing helps augment our lives, how can this technology help us gain insights about our daily routines? How can these insights be delivered in an emotional way that encourage us to reflect on the way we lead our lives and the affect it has on others in our society”

Obviously this is still a very open proposal, but as we develop our ideas and thinking this will become more refined and appear more as a tight design brief.

Our thinking behind our proposal is that we believe one of the greatest values of this new technology is the ease in which it can provide information about specific products and help us gain new perspective on our daily actions.  We feel if we could motivate people to take make these small changes to their lifestyle, the collaboration could have a greater affect on our society.

Behond the Desktop:Networking the Everyday

January 5, 2009


taken from designing Interactions

Today at CIID we started our tangible user interface project! All i can say is that we have a very exciting and busy four weeks ahead of us!

For the four weeks Heather Martin will be running the course with some fantastic quests including Durrell Bishop, Christopher Scales and David Cuartielles coming to teach and critique us! and of course we will also have the fantastic CIID staff too!

Today we were given an overview of tangible user interfaces and shown great examples. Some of these included the  work of interaction designers like Bill Gaver that worked on the equator project……

“The IRC brought together researchers from eight different institutions and a variety of disciplines which address the technical, social and design issues in the development of new inter-relationships between the physical and digital.

A series of experience projects engaged with different user communities to develop new combinations of physical and digital worlds and explore how these may be exploited and how these may enhance the quality of everyday life.”


“The History Tablecloth is designed to cover a kitchen or dining room table. When objects are left on the table, the cloth starts to glow beneath them, creating a halo that expands very slowly. When items are removed, the glow fades quickly”  (

After these brilliant lectures, we were  given our brief…..which can be summarized as:

Design a pair or series of networked objects that illustrate digital information in a physical form. The objects must be manipulable by your specific user group and enable people to interact directly with data through your objects.Your concepts  can be of any scale but your final concept must be  physically interactive, contain no screen or display and be produced as a fully working prototype. The solutions must show appropriate use of technology but that are also beautiful and well crafted objects which are useful, pragmatic and make sense to our users-whilst being simple and delightful to use (from course syllabus)

The brief has been left fairly open so we can focus on specific areas of personal interest and manage our project ourselves, however there are key areas we must consider and during these project….These are… tangible Computing, tangible user interfaces (TUI), physical computing, pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, prototyping, product design, affordances, metaphors, simplicity, sensors and networks.

For this project we are working in pairs with people that compliment our own strengths, which i feel is a great opportunity to work in a team where we can really push each other, and learn from each other. I am working with Adam who has a back ground in web design and digital multimedia.  We are both super excited about the project and the opportunities that can be discovered, so i am sure something positive will happen as well as all the other great ideas from the rest of the class!

For this project the final working prototype is very important, but we will also be assesed on out process and documentation, so as always i will try and blog as much a possible 🙂

and before i end.

A big HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone, i wish you all the best for 2009!


December 15, 2008

InspireUX  is a really great blog that post quotes related to user experience design. It is a great reference to have. Each quote posted  focuses on the impact that user experience can have on the people living in our world today. I highly recommend you have a look at it if you haven’t already.


This is one quote i really love…..It links back to a lot of what we have been talking about at CIID. You must not be precious about your ideas……at the end of the day our biggest aim is create the best possible solution and experience for the end user . The power of working in teams with people from diverse backgrounds is so immense…..we must take advantage of this amazing opportunity we have given!!! and do good with it!!!

Scottish shortbread

December 13, 2008

Today i had a lovely morning baking scottish shortbread for the CIID christmas party tonight…..I wanted to record this as it is the first time I have done it in my life, after living in scotland for 23 years! I obviously needed to move to copenhagen to be inspired to go back to my scottish roots!


data vizualization

December 2, 2008

picture-1 Today we started a 2 week data vizualization module, which will be taught by Shawn Allen (Stamen) and Dave Mellis (CIID)

“Each day the world produces untold amounts of information. interactive data vizualizations is a practice that aims to distill and communicate that information to people in visual forms that are easy and fun to explore, understand and use. In this two week module, students will investigate the roles of intuitive user interfaces in data vizualization.

They will learn how metaphors are used to convey unfamiliar information, and how mental models aid in the interpretation of complex visual displays.  They will then use a bottom-up interative process to create interactive displays of UN data using adobe flash” Course Syllabus

Today  we were given a fantastic overview of some of the world’s most well known and successful data visualization projects and started to learn flash! It has a complex interface compared to programming platforms such as processing that i am used to, but i can see it has huge potential, so i can’t wait for the next two weeks!

i’l keep you posted 🙂

GUI final concept: Improving the elderly home experience

December 2, 2008

On completion of our user testing with the elderly people last week, our group decided to focus on our idea that helped aid ‘communication with the family’ We came away with from the elderly home with 3 very strong insights that really supported one of our idea’s we had tested:

“A device that allows the friends and family of the elderly to contact them easily through SMS messages and email. The elderly receives the ‘mail’ every morning from a device that displays their mail in the familiar context of receiving a letter. This will hopefully create less isolation from the family and make the elderly feel more involved in their lives. It allows friends and family to use quick methods of communication that they are used to using without imposing it on the elderly person”

The three insights that supported this idea were:

1. “receiving a letter is a wonderful experience” This quote came from a lady who loved receiving letters from her family. She said she checked her mail everyday and when she received a letter is was the most wonderful feeling for her. However she mainly only received letters from family who lived further away and were requesting her to come and visit them.

2. “Family are the center of the elderly people’s lives” The people within the elderly people like meeting new people and socially interacting within the home, but their real joy comes from their family. They look forward to seeing them for visits, talking to them on the phone, or receiving a letter for them. Their family are hugely important in their lives and day to day motivations.

3.“informal email service” Currently in one of the elderly homes their is an informal email service, where family and friends of the elderly can email the staff messages and photos and they will print them out and give them to the elderly people.

As a group we felt that it was a great shame that the elderly do not benefit from the form the internet and email like we do. So our core aim and value we wanted to create for the elderly was

“how do you bring the joy of receiving a letter back into an email”

and our result………..



A touch screen device that allows elderly people to receive emails and SMS messages from family in a familiar context. We have strongly used the mental model of receiving, reading and writing letters throughout our concept. The home screen for the device is a writing table where letters will accumulate when you receive mail. The visuals and sizes of the mail illustrates the content. For example:

A letter on the desktop is a normal email.
A package on the desktop would be an email with a photo attachment
A note on the desktop would be a SMS message

We also added an address book as the entry point to writing new messages, and a storage box function where you can store old ‘letters’ Throughout the design we tried to keep the language and symbols very familiar to the elderly, using strong metaphors and mental models that we felt they could easily understand and relate to.

The presentation below is from our final critique, but also shows each interface of the device as well, which will hopefully make the concept a little clearer! A will post up our concept video too in a separate post…

Final Presentation with Interface designs


your granny’s mail


the email you sent your granny


options screen


user scenario (beautifully drawn by sid)

Pecha Kucha @ CIID

November 20, 2008

On monday the pilot year students held their first internal Pecha Kucha night. Pecha Kucha is a presentation format, with the idea to keep the presentations concise, the interest level up and to have many presenters sharing their ideas within the course of one night. Therefore the 20×20 Pecha Kucha format was created: each presenter is allowed a slide show of 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds.

The name derives from a Japanese term for the sound of conversation “chit-chat”.

During my presentation i showed previous work, inspiring projects, companies and people i admire and general day to day interests! It was an absolutely fantastic evening… was great to gain more of an insight into people lives before they came on the pilot year. On Monday we had an architect, a film producer, web designer, programmer and myself presenting so it was a great mixture, i am really looking forward to the next five presentations next Monday!!

User research….working with the elderly

November 10, 2008

Today we started  a week where we will be focusing on skills that we can use to conduct user research and gain insights. The week is being run by Michelle, Oren and Elliot from Red Associates, a strategic design consultancy based in Copenhagen, Hamburg and New York. Throughout the morning we had presentations about different user research techniques and methodologies that can be used in the design process to gain insights. We discussed the pro’s and con’s of different tools ranging from cultural probes (originating from Bill Gaver and Tony Dunne) to Participant Observations. Although i have  extensively used, discussed and designed these tools and processes during my years as a designer it was still great to have discussions with people from more diverse backgrounds about them and to here their personal thoughts, especially when we went on to talk about specific case studies.

After some in depth discussion our task for the week was then revealed……

We will be visiting homes for the elderly to gain insights on the following topics:

  • What is important for the elderly and the staff in terms of the SOCIAL LIFE for the residents
  • What is important for the elderly and the staff in terms of improving PHYSICAL ACTIVITY for the residents
  • What is important for the elderly and the staff in terms of improving AUTONOMY for the residents.

After brainstorming why these themes are important and the difficulties that might arise regarding them….we split into groups and identified  ‘burning issues’ we would like to investigate relating to each theme, these were:

Social Life

  • What transition does someone go through when moving into the home. Does the organization help them feel integrated and socially excepted
  • What are the common grounds between residents that can act as a starting point or catalysts for social interaction
  • What are the issues surrounding relationships, privacy and trust between the residents and staff.
  • Facilitating the elderly to make social contributions, give them a sense of achievement and involvement.
  • Individuality…how does the resident keep their personality and individuality when they are dependent on others in a lot of areas in their life.

Physical Activity

  • What facilities do they have to allow physical activities, it is encouraged and make appealing to the residents.
  • How often do the elderly leave the home to go on visits of excursions….and see the real world- do they have an input into this.
  • How can physical constraints affect mobility, day to day activities and social interactions,is their stigma attached to it specifically within the home.
  • Issues surrounding rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Using exercises to help medical related problems. Choice and compatibility of exercise.


  • Can the residents have an input into their daily routine and make decisions about their day to day activities
  • What is the mindset of the residents do they enjoy being looked after by the carers or are they frustrated by their lack on independence
  • The residents have a lot of life experience and different competences, are they allowed to help other residents, in support or any other expertise they might have.
  • Do the residents feel  that the help they receive makes them feel ‘safe and supported’ or ‘controlled’

For each issue we created a series of questions to ask the staff and residents that will hopefully trigger thoughts and opinions when we are taking to them.

During our visits we will use other research techniques to engage with the residents and the front line staff to gain a deeper understanding and empathy for their experiences within the home. After gaining our insights we will analyze our findings and use them in our first GUI investigation that starts next week.

We will be visiting two different elderly homes tomorrow and wednesday, which will be great to make comparisons. I will report back soon!