150 days of
15th September 2008-12th feburary 2009
Eilidh Dickson: Midway Exam, 12th Feburary 2009
actionscript, processing, brainstorming, scenarios, co-creation, arduino,
metaphors, paradigm, mental model, affordances, data visualization,
electronics, flash, physical computing, story telling, user testing, elderly
people, rapid prototyping, experience prototyping, internet of things,
networked objects, ubiquitous computing, team building, user driven
design, body-storming, code, computational media design, concept
development, design process, state diagram, flow diagram, design
theory, user engagement, GUI, insights, interactive gestures, notation,
observations, participant observations, cultural probes, physiology,
product design, service design, social responsibility, software,
user research, sustainability, systems, technology, touch-points,
education, personal informatics, RFID, gestural interfaces, soldering,
video prototyping, design hierarchy, laser cutting, gearing, cartoon house,
mobile technology, play, digital data, sensors, TUI, user interface,
UNdata, autonomy, need statement, storyboards, usability, functionality.
Project 2 Industry Visits thesis!!!!
technical and design skills
personal approach & development
Computational Media Design
Being out of my comfort zone for the first block was great
as it instantly challenged me and set my pace and
expectations for the rest of the year.
Technically I gained a far deeper understanding than i had
prior to starting the course. I can really appreciate how
processing can be used for engaging screen based apps.
First week i had a steeper learning curve, when we were
working on the interactive programs. The data collection
exercise turned into more of a graphic design exercise, i
think i would have technically gained more if i can chosen
to continue working on the interactive programs. It was
still fun making the flip books though!
‘Rock is the new swivel’ How can technology, which
has been designed to heighten our efficiency and
productivity facilitate break time. Via our prototype,
the mundane everyday task of fetching coffee
during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of
relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you
to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a
break, listen to some music, and simply chill.
This is acheived by networking a rocking chair to the
coffee maker, only when you are rocking will the
coffee start to brew!
Approach to the way i design, deepen my thinking about how
someone percieves the experience and how they interact
with it. Concentrating on the correct metaphors and mental
models to use.
Learning new mapping tools (state & flow diagrams) for
systems and experiences, which i have used in every
The cartoon house : learned a great tool to rapidly prototype
ideas, narrating walkthroughs to trigger new thinking around
technology and to tell stories/explain
Thinking about the whole experience, and the details that fit
Although i had used a wide range of research techniques it was great to have
discussions with people from a diverse range of backgrounds to hear their views
and other approaches. Doing research with elderly is something i have always
been interested in, so it was great to have the opportunity to challenge this
This week was a massive personal challenge for me and a great learning
experience. Engaging with people who had dimentia was really emotionally
grueling and having a language barrier was frustrating as i couldn’t get as
involved with the residents, but it is an issue that i will most likely have to deal
“We are going to the Jungle not the Zoo”
GUI:designing for the elderly “Happy Mail”
Our idea was based in the key insight, that recieiving a letter is a “wonderful
experience” for an elderly person, checking their mail each morning is an
important milestone of their day. As a group we felt it was a great shame that the
elderly don’t benifit from the ease of communication through the internet like we
do. So we set ourself the challenge of “how do you bring back the joy of
receiving a letter in an email” We created this concept that strongly plays on
the metaphor of recieving and sending letters.
I loved that our idea was based on user research and that we had a hands on
approach...building scenarios and prototypes, but the most valuable time was
spent within the elderly homes, testing our ideas, this was vital to our outcome.
Looking back we should have tested our metaphors. We based them on wanting
to use visuals that were familiar to the elderly person, where as far simpler basic
icons/visuals might have been better.
Before starting this course I was hugely daunted by it, but at the same time was intrigued by how you could make more of an
impact with data that is normally quite visually boring, and make it fun and easy for someone to explore.
This course turned out to be what i feel us my biggest technical learning. By working with Sid who was at the same basic level of
programming as me we really pushed each other to achieve our goals and learn at the same time.
During the project our sole focus was on the vizualisation, but looking back on it now i learned that i could have paid more
attention to some of the more practical elements of the interface design, and the way people would interact with it, like we had
learned in the previous GUI course.
TUI: ‘‘meet the food
Our idea was an installation piece
that took the form of a scale, that
environmental impact of a food
product. This was calculated
based on the CO2 emmsions
produced during its transportation
and then represented by the
number of tree’s needed to offset
The idea was inspired by the
increase in RFID technology and
the idea of everyday objects
becoming networked, with untold
amounts of information behind
them. We wanted to take
advantage of this technology
and design something that would
raise questions about the food we
buy and the implications it has on
our environment and society as a
Prototyping and user testing was vital to test the metaphor of the scale and check our direction.
We should have started prototyping earlier as initially we were over complicating and over intelligizing everything and ended up
going round in circles!
When we started to prototype, we started progressing and soon swore by the saying “fail often fail early” At this stage we
really started to learn, from how to create the experience we wanted, to the affordances we needed to how to wire a motor to a
driver board. We experienced a really broad learning process.
The open brief was great as we decided to choose something we were really passionate about, which in retrospect really
helped me through the whole process, as when things wern’t going well, I was always driven by the determination of wanting to
do well in something that meant a lot to me.
A big challenge for me was not having the initial starting point of user research, as this generally inspires my thinking, I soon
accepted that we could base our idea on a very relevant and topical issue and opened up my eyes to a more experimental way
of working rather than solely user driven.
Technically i gained a lot, some hands on, some knowledge on how to do things in the future. I realise this was faciliated by the
nature of our design. The fact that we had to build a mechnical scale from scratch, with working gears and then add electronics
to control it, challenged all of us. As a group we played to our natural strengths as we had a lot to acheive, but at the same time,
we all had a grounded knowledge of everything that was going on across our
concept and the building of the final prototype.
My Thesis is.......
My golden ticket to learn who I am as a designer and to prepare myself for my future after CIID. It is an opportunity to explore a
user group and context that will really challenge me intellectually and emotionally as a designer. I want my thesis to allow me
to use my natural strengths of product design, service design, user engagement and prototyping, but also allow room for me to
keep building on the technical skills that I have been gradually developing.
It is also hugely important to me that I give back to CIID and that my work will promote the correct ethos of the course. I feel
extremely lucky to be part of the pilot year so naturally I want to do
anything I can to help it succeed in the future!
I am inspired by......
By the need to help people, bringing enjoyment to everyday
experiences, even seeing someone smile. I strive to create
solutions that will play an important and meaningful role in
I am interested in....
An area that I am fascinated by and that i see to as an underlying theme throughout my project is…How do you
enable people to reflect their identify and express themselves through the use of a service like they can by owning tangible
products? How do you build a community around the people using a service and inspire others to be part of it. Essentially
how do you create service envy?
(Below are more specific context areas I am interested in are)
If people could access person information about their daily actions, and activities could it help them gain new perspective
on the way they live. How can this practical information be communicated on an
emotional level that would encourage people to change the way they live and the affect it has on society?
Our population is ageing, yet elderly people are still living in isolation. I am interested in how do you reconnect elderly
people with their family and the community, help them make and maintain friends. How do you break the communication
barrier between elderly people and younger generations and let them have “ageless”conversations rather than the typical
“back in my day…”
Life Work Balance
When you are a workaholic who is in love with the work you do/your job (like me!) is there a
danger of it affecting other areas of your life. How do you maintain a good life-work balance?
How can interaction design help children to learn through play, tangible storytelling and creativity? How can we captivate
their imagination to teach them about important social and environmental
issues surrounding our society? as they are a generation that will have potential to make a difference.
Other User groups I’m interested in
Nurses, Elderly people (living on the own), grandparents, children in early stages of learning to read and write, primary
school teachers, health conscious adults, Single Parents, diabetes sufferers, snowboarders, students studying abroad.
During my thesis I would like to challenge myself in…
I want to challenge my design thinking, to a deeper and more emotional level. I want to continue my learning on the correct use
of metaphors, affordances and appropriate use of technology that is friendly and makes sense to non-expert users. I will push
myself to gain a more practical knowledge of electronics and programming. Where it is possible I will leave my comfort zone If
it will have a positive effect on my learning and project experience.
Rapid prototyping of initial ideas through to building
resolved final service touchpoints/products
prototyping, video prototyping
service design tools: blueprinting,
stakeholder mapping, customer/user journeys
design research methods: Cultural probes,
observations,a day in the life.....etc
Ability to see the “big picture” of a user experience
but also focus on the small details that fit together to
make it special
My lack of
confidence in my
If i have to do more
desgin (not a natural