So, the course has reached its end and it is now time to elaborate on my experiences and reflect on learnings, skills, and insights. This means that I am one more time reflecting-on-action (thinking back on what we have done and how it contributed to the outcome), as described by Donald A. Schön (1987).
In general, I think reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action can be seen as keywords for describing my whole process of gaining design knowledge and moving forward. Each of these blog posts has forced me to reflect on my design acts after they have been done and contributed to new insights or learnings – especially when mixing own experiences with relevant theories/techniques which I will describe in the following.
The Bauhaus tradition introduced by Pelle Ehn (1998) and the learning-by-doing-mentality, as referred to in The Journey Begins, Meet my new friend, Arduino, Creating simple light expressions with Arduino & First group meeting: creating a simple lamp, has increased my learning curve and helped me to gain new skills; from laser cutting to sketching with code and hardware, but it has also been very frustrating in certain situations when coaching was not possible. Here it is important to be strong-willed and be able to cope with many ups and downs. Furthermore, there is no right way to design – it is not a linear process – wherefore you have to embrace uncertainty which has been very hard for me since I like to have control in every situation and know what is the next step – see Exploring different design directions by sketching. But in the words of Schön, it is the only way to get to know the designer practice: “Because designing is a creative process in which a designer comes to see and do things in new ways, no prior description of it can take the place of learning by doing” (Schön, 1987, p. 162).
The role of the user
As described in Starting the design project of an interactive light that is close to the body & First ideas, we were inspired by and tried to follow the interaction-driven approach which has been a challenge since I have only been working with user-driven approaches before. Also, I find it hard because many of the texts we have read that focus more on the aesthetics, as Marianne G. Petersen, Ole S. Iversen, Peter G. Krogh &. Martin Ludvigsen (2004) and Philip R. Ross & Stephan A. G. Wensveen (2010), still see human needs as an important aspect to consider when designing. Though it made me focus on different aspects and other design arguments – material and theoretical, as described by Peter Dalsgaard, Christian Dindler and Jonas Fritsch (2013). The combination of these two – having a theoretical framework in the back of the head while exploring different materials – has guided the process and the decisions we have made and also ensured that we had established a shared language so that we could articulate the different qualities etc.
Form elements of interaction and simplicity
When it comes to the three different form elements as described by Anna Vallgårda (2014), we ended up using a lot of time to get the physical form of the design right, see The design starts to take form – physically. This means that we did not have enough time for experimenting that much with the temporal form, see The design starts to take form – temporally. Furthermore, I do not think we included that much interaction since you only can rotate the hat (the interaction gestalt). But that is the challenge when trying to balancing the three aspects of interaction design – they are all connected but you have to start out one place – in our situation it resulted in the physical form driving the rest of the aspects. Also, we have to admit that our skills were limited which resulted in a simpler design than first imagined. According to last-mentioned, I learned that simplicity is an art, see Deciding the final design concept, I think we were too ambitious in the beginning wherefore it will be better to start out with something simple in the future – then you can always add more complexity. A simple design IS enough. All the complex ideas can take all the energy and be an obstacle when it comes to making interesting light behaviors etc.
Dalsgaard, P. Dindler, C. & Fritsch, J. (2013). Design argumentation in academic design education. Nordes, 1(5), 426-429.
Ehn, P. (1998). Manifesto for a digital bauhaus. Digital Creativity, 9(4), 207-217.
Petersen, M. G., Iversen, O. S., Krogh, P. G., & Ludvigsen, M. (2004). Aesthetic Interaction: a pragmatist’s aesthetics of interactive systems. In Proceedings of the 5th conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, 269-276.
Ross, P. R., & Wensveen, S. A. G. (2010). Designing aesthetics of behavior in interaction: Using aesthetic experience as a mechanism for design. International Journal of Design, 4(2), 3-13.
Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reﬂective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Vallgårda, A. (2014). Giving form to computational things: developing a practice of interaction design. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 18(3), 577-592.