Posts about: User Experience Design

Location-Based Games

Monday, September 27th, 2010

‘Location-based games’ is another term used in HCI research that relates to interaction from the ground up theme. In this game, players were chased through the city by runners equipped with wifi and GPS sensors.

Benford, S., Crabtree, A., Flintham, M., Drozd, A., Anastasi, R., Paxton, M., Tandavanitj, N., et al. (2006). Can you see me now? ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact., 13(1), 100-133. doi:10.1145/1143518.1143522

Exertion Games

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Lots of references to follow and makes some sensible sounding points for things you might want to consider when design such an interface.

Mueller, F. ‘., Gibbs, M. R., & Vetere, F. (2009). Design influence on social play in distributed exertion games. In Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 1539-1548). Boston, MA, USA: ACM. doi:10.1145/1518701.1518938

UED2010 Wk3: Design Movement

Sunday, September 26th, 2010


  • Introductory lecture with Sietske Klooster.
  • Movement workshop.
  • Finding a place to design a ‘footwork’ for.
  • Presenting footworks to the class.


  • Present a designed object that trys to elicit the footwork.
  • Classmates try out first, then we discuss experiences.
  • Redesign object to refine the movment.
  • Present and try out again in the afternoon.
  • End with a little reflection session on the week.

UED2010 Wk 2: Design Research

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Again, some brief notes about the second week of the course.


  • Continued with the servo-motor activity.
  • Concentrated on refining the movement towards the two words.
  • Got to a stage where the sculptures could be left to run by themselves.
  • Set up a little exhibition at 14:00. Invited the first years and staff.
  • Placed the cards out on the table and asked people to guess what the pair for each sculpture was.


  • Lecture in class on the idea of research though design.
  • Discussion of four papers on this topic.
  • Discussion of initial ideas for a design project.
  • We decided to run a video card game as a survey of possible interesting design contexts


Fallman, D. (2007). Why Research-Oriented Design Isn’t Design-Oriented Research: On the Tensions Between Design and Research in an Implicit Design Discipline. Knowledge, Technology & Policy, 20(3), 193-200. doi:Article

Wolf, T. V., Rode, J. A., Sussman, J., & Kellogg, W. A. (2006). Dispelling “design” as the black art of CHI. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in computing systems (pp. 521-530). Montréal, Québec, Canada: ACM. doi:10.1145/1124772.1124853

Wright, P., Blythe, M., & McCarthy, J. (2006). User Experience and the Idea of Design in HCI. In Interactive Systems (pp. 1-14). Retrieved from

Zimmerman, J., Stolterman, E., & Forlizzi, J. (2010). An analysis and critique of Research through Design: towards a formalization of a research approach. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 310-319). Aarhus, Denmark: ACM. doi:10.1145/1858171.1858228

Additional references

A couple of additional references were mentioned in the lecture and discussions. These are included below.

Checkland, Mackay, Braa & Vigden, Frayling, Archer

Archer, B. (1995). The nature of research. Co-design, 6-13.

Braa, K., & Vidgen, R. (1995). Action Case: Exploring the middle kingdom in information system research methods. In Proceedings of 3rd Decennial Conference Computers in context: Joining Forces in Design (pp. 50-60). Århus, Denmark.

Checkland, P., & Holwell, S. (1998). Action Research: Its Nature and Validity. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 11(1), 9-21. doi:10.1023/A:1022908820784

Frayling, C. (1993). Research in Art and Design. Royal College of Art Research Papers, 1(1), 1-5.

Mackay, W. E., & Fayard, A. (1997). HCI, natural science and design: a framework for triangulation across disciplines. In Proceedings of the 2nd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques (pp. 223-234). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ACM. doi:10.1145/263552.263612

Power Laces

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Power Laces 2 PROTOTYPE DEMO…..juh?

UED2010 Wk 1: Getting moving

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Our first week in the course. Here are some brief notes.


  • Introduced the course by going through the course profile.
  • Handed out the toolboxes with arduinos, breadboard, multimeters, servo motors, and some simple tools.
  • Pulled apart some gadgets which everyone had brought in. Looked at the components inside and discussed what the functions might be.
  • Tried to get the Arduinos hooked up and running, but we ran out of time, so I asked the students to do this before the next class.


  • Started by checking that everyone’s arduino was working. There were some problems with the drivers for the serial port for a couple of people, but we managed to get that working. Also, need to check that Nano board is selected with Atmega168 rather than Atmega328.
  • Described the pins on the nano board and showed how to attach a servo motor.
  • Played around with the example servo sweep program, tried different values in the loops to make the servo move at different speeds.
  • Went down to the e-lab and collected some components (potentiometers, hook-up wire, and resistors).
  • Added a potentiometer and pull-down resistor to the circuit and used the example servo knob program so we could control the position of the servo by turning the knob.
  • Used Serial.println commands to look at what values were being read from the potentiometer and adjust the program.
  • Used character-movement tinkering cards to choose a movement and character to design for.

Task for next Tuesday:

With the character and movement cards your group chose, try to tinker a kinetic sculpture driven by the servo motor that moves in a way that expresses those qualities. For example, if your words were ‘fierce leaping’ you need to create a sculpture that somehow leaps in a fierce way.

See Ben Hopson’s kinetic work for lots of ideas for how to create interesting movements out of very simple materials.

Wii balance board + sneakers

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

NIKE78 – Nick Marsh | ‘NIKE Wiis’ from NIKE78 on Vimeo.

Uuum, I’m not sure about this. It looks like he’s having trouble standing up or something.

Getting BS2 running on OSX

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Some quick notes on what I did to get Basic Stamp 2 modules running on a USB Board of Education development board running on OSX Tiger.

  1. Download FTDI virtual COM port drivers. Drivers for OSX Intel are about half way down the page. This driver is needed for the computer to talk to the serial interface of the stamp via the mini USB connection on the Board of Education development board.
  2. Mount the disk image and double-click the package to install. This will require a restart.
  3. Download MacBS2. This program allows you to program the stamp from OSX . The official editor only works on windows.
  4. Install MacBS2 by dragging it to your Applications folder.
  5. Start MacBS2 by double-clicking. It will offer to automatically install the PBasic tokeniser for you. Say yes.
  6. Attach your Board of Education to the USB port of the computer and power it with a battery or power pack.
  7. In MacBS2, choose the serial port from the drop-down on the top-right side. It will probably look something like ‘usbserial-…’.
  8. you should be able to click the ‘ID Stamp’ button to check that the stamp is connected and responding.
  9. Type in a simple program (e.g. DEBUG “Hello World”) and click the ‘Run’ button to download it to the stamp. You should see ‘Hello World’ printed in the console at the bottom of the window.

Sonification of Fencing movements

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Two fascinating projects involving audio feedback from an industrial design student at the Technical University, Eindhoven, Bram van der Vlist.

Extend your senses project (image credit Bram van der Vlist)

Extend your senses project (image credit Bram van der Vlist)


The image above comes from a project called ‘Extend Your Senses‘. In this project, Bram explored how sound could be used to provide athletes with added feedback about the movements they made. The sounds were generated based on signals from acceleration sensors attached to the equipment or bodies of athletes. The intention was that the audio feedback could support the athletes in learning and refining their movements, especially in relation to the kinaesthetic sense. This is the sense we have of the relative position of the parts of our body.

Bat Biker project, (image credit Bram van der Vlist)

Bat Biker project, (image credit Bram van der Vlist)

In another project, called Bat Biker, Bram developed a system to give feedback for blind mountain bikers. In the design, the bike in front is ridden by a sighted cyclist and equipped with a loud-speaker that changes sound depending on the kind of terrain the bike was riding over. The cyclist on the bike riding behind could learn to interpret these sounds and adapt their riding accordingly.

Sculptures that move

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Did you ever play the game ‘statues’? The object is to stay as still as you can and the winner is the one who can stay still for the longest. It’s difficult and unusual for people to remain still like this (unless you’re a street performer). On the other hand, statues and other kinds of sculpture usually do stay still. But not always.

Below are some links to artists and designers who have worked with movement in interesting ways. This might be interesting as inspiration for students in Experience Design when creating ‘interactive mobiles’ or tinkering interaction concepts.

If anyone has examples of other artists’ work, please post them in the comments.

(Image credit Arthur Ganson)

Arthur Ganson makes wonderfully evocative and poetic mechanical scuptures. Check the page of videos on his website. I particularly liked the ‘Machine with Wishbone’ (image above).

(Image credit Ben Hopson).

Ben Hopson has been carrying out a series of experiments into ‘sketching motion concepts’. He achieves amazingly precise, intricate and delicate sequences of movements from very simple materials. He also does a very good job of documenting his work. The image is above is from a video on his website for a piece called ‘3-boxes‘. He also has a list of links to other people and groups who have done interesting work in the same area.

(Image credit Theo Jansen).

Finally, Theo Jansen is a dutch artist who makes incredible walking sculptures that he calls strandbeests. Watching the videos, it’s easy to imagine that these are in fact gigantic creatures that have lumbered up from the sea. Click the image above to see more photos from his website.

(Thanks to Marcelle for the links.)