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Touch Me
Tecno and Interaction Ivrea

Versione Italiana

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  Davide Agnelli
  Hernando Barragán
  Dario Buzzini
  Gaurav Chadha
  Mathias Dahlström
  Tal Drori
  Karmen Franinovic
  Eyal Fried
  Ivar Martin Lyngve
  Daniele Mancini
  Belmer Negrillo
  Valentina Novello
  Giorgio Olivero
  Søren Pors
  Aparna Rao
  Tarun Jung Rawat
  Michal Rinott
  David Slocombe
  Luther Thie
  Peggy Thoeny
  Helma Töpper

  David Slocombe (United Kingdom)
Expertise   Design / product interaction design
Education   Masters in Interaction Design, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Ivrea, Italy (2003)
BA in Design Futures, University of Wales College, Newport, United Kingdom (2000).
This degree spans many areas of product interaction design within the context of social, cultural and political scenario creation.

19 May 2003
  What is your thesis project about?
My thesis originated from a reflection of the internship I did at Whirlpool. I was thinking about the theoretical tools that are available to support the designers in considering both the users and their context. At Whirlpool that was the context of the kitchen, cooking and home life. The user participatory design process is useful when you have something to show to a user, a very solid interface or a product. When you are designing a service, prototyping and user testing is very difficult. I got interested in creating theoretical design tools that can support designers in their everyday challenge to manage such a holistic design process. My interest is in context-aware computing, an area of research that proposes that objects and interactive artefacts can provide more interesting and effective services to a person by sensing the environment or context they are in, and adapting to that person's needs. But too often context is seen as a field of technological resources. Context-aware computing doesn't look at people's history, life experience, habits or social and political background that affect the way they act in a context. I propose theoretical ways of managing this.

What did you make?
Context is an area of research not limited to computing. It has been studied by philosophers and media theorists for a very long time. I have studied phenomenology, and in particular the work of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty and interpreted these theoretical concepts into interaction design so that designers can apply them, make sense of the things they are looking at, and design better. My paper is the main body of my work, an in-depth interpretation of phenomenology and media theory into interaction design, but I have also created a set of cards. Each card has a core concept and on the back a description of how it is to be used and an example. At the exhibition I will be showing my use of the theories I propose. I have taken an existing design project, the Hitachi Urban Oasis project, deconstructed it using this method, and generated some new designs that look at the context more holistically. One of these designs is a wrist worn projector that allows the user to read and project messages on surfaces around them interacting with them in surprising ways.

What do you want to achieve with this project?
There are many ways of looking at context that designers often miss. It is a tool that allows designers to see other potentials and other possibilities.

What impact has Interaction-Ivrea had on you?
I was already working in interaction design and came here to really understand the business side of interaction design, how to get from being a designer to being a self-supporting designer, have my own studio and be able to manage the different elements of the design process, including people and teams. Interaction-Ivrea also implied working in an international community. It was very much a baptism of fire to learn not just how to live with people from all over the world and understand their backgrounds, but also to work with them, to understand how different cultures work and think in different ways. I will definitely take this away with me and this will hopefully make me a better designer, one that is better able to communicate with people from different cultures.

What are your plans now?
I don't think my aim is to go back to the UK right now. I am much more open now and can have more options. I have lived and studied in Italy for two years and I am not scared of taking the step into another country, which a couple of years ago would have seemed very far away. As an interaction designer, I would like to push my design skills into overseeing projects.

(Interview by Mark Vanderbeeken)

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