Sculpted! Using Sculpture as a Design Lens
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Sculpted! Using Sculpture as a Design Lens

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  • Good afternoon. Thank you for attending my talk.As suggested by the title, I’ll be exploring the ways in which we can use sculpture to illuminate and challenge interaction design.
  • The genesis for this talk is that I love sculpture, maybe even more than user experience/interaction design. Ithink sculpture is the coolest thing ever. This quote does a pretty good job of explaining why. It always feels “real” and “awe-inspiring.”
  • What I’ll do in the next ten minutes is to take apart the sculptural experience, identifying some commonalities and then I’ll show how those commonalities can be used as a way to reframe a design. (A design lens is really justa way to view a design from a different perspective. Lenses provideinsightful questions to ask yourself that will help make a design better. Sort of thought experiment or brainstorming exercise … not prescriptive.)
  • So, what is it about sculpture? Why was this one of the first pictures I took in Dublin?
  • There are six attributes that I’d like to talk about with regard to the sculptural experience: form, multiple viewpoints, bodily empathy, multi-sensory, physical parts and context.Let’s look at each in a little more detail.
  • Form: Eva Rothschild said “the interaction with forms as forms, as forms without function, it isn’t anywhere in our general dealings with things.” Because sculpture is often divorced of function, there is a forced attention to elements like color, shape, line.
  • The viewing of sculpture unfolds over time and distance traveled. In The Sculptural Imagination, the author says “our sense of the work as a whole is partly defined through the ever changing and variously focused partial views we have of it, and can never entirely be condensed in a single stable image”These are all pictures of the same sculpture, but from different placements of the body. Citation: Potts, Alex. The sculptural imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.
  • Sculpture involves “materials – wood, metal, stone – that are not at a remove, materials you could trip over or use in the making of houses, tools, and other non-illusionistic things.” Materials that deteriorate or change over time. Citation: McEvilley, T. Sculpture in the age of doubt. New York: Allworth Press, 1999
  • There is a sense to which we “imagine feeling certain apparent qualities of a sculpture in a way that begets identification with (some part or aspect of) the sculpture.” Weidentify with sculpture on a physical level.Citation: Vance, R.D. Sculpture. The British Journal of Aesthetics 35, 3 (1995), 217-226.
  • “Sculpture is a way of thinking physically,” as Antony Gormley has said. The full appreciation of a sculpture demands sensory engagement. This refers not just to touch, taste and smell but other kinetic senses – being able to pull on, push, twist, climb under and over, and walk around a sculpture.
  • “Sculpture requires a context, and that context exceeds the presence of the work. Sculpture is more than the thing itself. … For sculpture to resonate - rather than simply to exist in public space - requires a clear attentiveness to the space around it.” It is in the world and shapes and interacts with that world.Citation: Morgan, Robert C. “Sculpture that Declares the Space Around it: John Atkin” Sculpture Magazine, January/February 2010.
  • This collection of attributes forms the design lens: form, multiple viewpoints, physical parts, bodily empathy, multi-sensory, and context. In this next part, I’ll introduce some questions that relate to each part/attribute and demonstrate each using Zipcar, which you should all be familiar with by now.
  • Zipcar is described as “wheels when you want them.” For those of you not familiar, you basically rent a car for a number of hours. Cars are located throughout a city. You use a card or your phone to unlock the car.
  • Consistent use of color and logo. Clear association of objects to one another through use of color and shape.Questions to ask:Stripped of function, what does the form say about the object? What are the physical qualities of the design - color, shape, line - and how do these work together?Is the form pleasing, thought-provoking, distasteful, bland?
  • Consistent use of color and logo. Clear association of objects to one another through use of color and shape.Questions to ask:Stripped of function, what does the form say about the object? What are the physical qualities of the design - color, shape, line - and how do these work together?Is the form pleasing, thought-provoking, distasteful, bland?
  • Having multiple “touchpoints” allows for more than one view of Zipcar, their product and services. Questions to ask:Does the experience unfold over time?Is there more than one interpretation?
  • Obviously, there’s the grass along the bottom of the webpage. Something simple that references a familiar physical element (without overwhelming the design or making it weaker/gimmicky). Questions to ask:Does it deteriorate over time? Does it show the badges of ownership - smudge, scratch, burnishing, personalization?Are there apparent parts or pieces that work together to form a whole?Does it reference materials that are familiar – wood, metal, etc.?
  • Obviously, there’s the grass along the bottom of the webpage. Something simple that references a familiar physical element (without overwhelming the design or making it weaker/gimmicky). Questions to ask:Does it deteriorate over time? Does it show the badges of ownership - smudge, scratch, burnishing, personalization?Are there apparent parts or pieces that work together to form a whole?Does it reference materials that are familiar – wood, metal, etc.?
  • But also, less explicitly, cars are associated by location using “containers” that separate them out into their own space.Questions to ask:Does it deteriorate over time? Does it show the badges of ownership - smudge, scratch, burnishing, personalization?Are there apparent parts or pieces that work together to form a whole?Does it reference materials that are familiar – wood, metal, etc.?
  • The zipcar app takes advantage of iOS interaction patterns. Uses the slide - a movement that we understand,identify with, and feel as if we are undertaking.Questions to ask:Could one identify with the object/design on a physical level?Do the physical interactions ring true? Does it mimic,mirror or elicit a bodily state or movement?Citation: Vance, R.D. Sculpture. The British Journal of Aesthetics 35, 3 (1995), 217-226.
  • Unlocking a car using the Zipcar app engages sight, sound, touch and movement. Questions to ask:Is there a suggestion of more than one sense being engaged?Does the object/design bring together more than one person for the experience?Does it inspire/require an active sensory engagement?
  • Phone is aware what your physical context is. Knows you don’t have a reservation, but when you do have one and you are near the car, you can use it to unlock/lock the car and honk its horn.Questions to ask:How does the object/design shape the environment it is in? What does the non-digital environment do to the design?How does the object/design interact with its environment? Is it flexible? What is its relation to the objects around it? Does it integrate with them, overshadow them, is it overshadowed?How does changing light affect it? How does it draw people to it?Examples: suite of products that work together, phones that interact with environment, foursquare, how do they integrate with the desktop vs. mobile environment?, or something as simple as light affecting the readability of a screen in different lights
  • Phone is aware what your physical context is. Knows you don’t have a reservation, but when you do have one and you are near the car, you can use it to unlock/lock the car and honk its horn.Questions to ask:How does the object/design shape the environment it is in? What does the non-digital environment do to the design?How does the object/design interact with its environment? Is it flexible? What is its relation to the objects around it? Does it integrate with them, overshadow them, is it overshadowed?How does changing light affect it? How does it draw people to it?Examples: suite of products that work together, phones that interact with environment, foursquare, how do they integrate with the desktop vs. mobile environment?, or something as simple as light affecting the readability of a screen in different lights
  • Not a methodology or heuristic checklist. Not for everything or everyone. However, I do think of it as something to add on to your repertoire,a re-framing exercise, newmindset, way to elicit divergent thinking or thought experiment. I also hope that it might cause you to think of other disciplines that you love as much as I love sculpture that you can use as a design lens in your practice. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.
  • Again,I invite your input/thoughts. Please find me afterward, shoot me an email or DM me on Twitter.Thanks so much.

Sculpted! Using Sculpture as a Design Lens Sculpted! Using Sculpture as a Design Lens Presentation Transcript

  • SCULPTED!Using Sculpture as a Design Lens
  • “Sculpture is Truth … A statue can embraceme; I can kneel before it and become itsfriend and companion, it is present it is there.”
  • deconstruct sculptural experienceuse as a design lens for interaction design
  • FORMMULTIPLE VIEWPOINTSPHYSICAL PARTSBODILY EMPATHYMULTI-SENSORYCONTEXT
  • FORM
  • MULTIPLE VIEWPOINTS
  • PHYSICAL PARTS
  • BODILY EMPATHY
  • MULTI-SENSORY
  • CONTEXT
  • FORM forms without functionMULTIPLE VIEWPOINTS unfolds over time and distancePHYSICAL PARTS uses familiar materialsBODILY EMPATHY engages physical imaginationMULTI-SENSORY thinking physicallyCONTEXT more than the thing itself
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/sixteenmilesofstring/2455534480/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Stripped of function, what does the form say about the design?
  • FORM forms without function
  • Does the experience unfold? Are there different qualities based on time/distance/context?
  • MULTIPLE VIEWPOINTS unfolds over time and distance
  • Does it reference materials that are familiar – wood, metal, etc.?
  • PHYSICAL PARTS uses familiar materials
  • PHYSICAL PARTS uses familiar materials
  • Do the physical interactions ring true?Does it mimic, mirror or elicit a movement or bodily state?
  • BODILY EMPATHY engages physical imagination
  • Does it inspire/require an active sensory engagement?
  • MULTI-SENSORY thinking physically
  • How does the design interact with itsenvironment? Is it flexible? What is its relation to the objects around it?
  • CONTEXT more than the thing itself
  • THE TAKEAWAY
  • Thank you!Rachel Bolton-Nasirboltonra@gmail.com@boltonra