Interaction13 – Day 2 Recap

Yesterday we brought you designing strategy through a nonprofits eyes, ethical robots (depending on who you ask) and of course, the kegel organ. Here’s what we have in store for you today.

Follow all of Interaction13 through daily recaps on the Cooper Journal. Here’s Day 1,
Day 3,
Day 4.
IxD13 day2 collage

Designing Everything But the Food

By Sara Cantor Aye (Greater Good Studio)

This year, in partnership with SAIC, Greater Good Studio designed a built a new public school cafeteria. Although that sounds like an architecture project, it really meant looking at the interactions between kids and food, staff, space, and other kids.

Kids will be kids

Sara Cantor Aye walked us through the process of researching elementary school cafeteria design in order to help schools serve healthier food, reduce waste and educate. Along the way, her team discovered some interesting things. For instance, kids want to eat what their friends eat and don’t deal with forced choices well (who knew?)

Making cafeteria food fun?

Their constraints were tough, but the breakthrough was going from a cafeteria line to serving courses to the table. The magic was in the discovery of unanticipated benefits; kids were finally eating their lunches! Cafeteria lunches were fun again, for students and staff.

The shared eating experience wins over all

By focusing on the kid’s experience, using head cams, interviews inside family homes, and observing the cafeteria, they discovered that kids waste food because they don’t deal well with many choices on their plate. They were able to have a shared experience by having one item served to everyone at the same time. Just like a restaurant.

Interaction Design for learning

By Michael Wolf (Formula D interactive)

The Current Formal Learning Experience

Studies show that students will perform better if they have a voice in the classroom, so why do learners have little influence in decisions around how or what they learn today? Interaction designers have ample scope to improve this situation with interaction concepts that make full use of 21st century technology. Below are some of the potential technologies that can create an inclusive learning experience for learners and teachers with little or no computer experience.

Personal Learning Environment

Don’t channel everyone into the same direction, pace, rhythm. Instead, create a personal learning environment that cultivates debate and learning, tailored to your individual interests.

    Here are some ideas for elements a Personal Learning Environment could contain:

  • Cradle-to-Grave timeline – learning is not limited to experience in the physical classroom
  • Have social features – be able to invite peers in
  • Module Mall – make it easy to find extra curricular activities and understand their benefits (museum visits, internships, etc.)
  • Evaluation Center – get feedback and support for the work a student is putting in
  • Learning Path tool – see what people with similar background are doing with their lives/careers are doing. Use their path as guidance.

But should we be designing screens for people to isolate themselves – even if it is in the pursuit of learning? And isn’t the best part of going to school spending time with friends? Here are a few interfaces that create a collaborative atmosphere by allowing multiple people to share in the same experience:

Co-location Collaborative Interfaces:

In a South African aquarium, the Interactive frog Touch Wall delights visitors of all ages. Here, people can use 1 screen at the same time and have a coherent experience to learn about frogs. At a Museum in Saudi Arabia, visitors can interact with a 2,000-year timeline though multi-touch tables. Each of these is an example of a co-location collaborative interface that unites people through a single, interactive learning space.

Tangible interface:

Rather than creating an all-digital environment like the Personal Learning Environment, tangible interfaces use real objects used in tandem with digital technology. Take the Virtual Chemistry Lab Table. This uses reference objects to represent chemicals and tools, the projects them onto a table and shows how they would react. If the reaction is negative, the VCLT suggests a better combination.

In the end:

“Formal” education is in crisis, and a radical shift needs to happen. This space his a huge opportunity for designers – how can we design tools to disrupt the static learning environment and create a paradigm shift?

KEYNOTE – Connecting: Emerging Themes for Interactions

By Albert Shum (Microsoft)

The world is becoming more connected, and as new patterns and behaviors emerge so do opportunities and challenges. Designers provide the emotional connection to humanize these new experiences.

To get a better grasp on the emerging interactions, a film team interviewed design leaders from all areas of study. They shared their insights about the “Internet of things”, natural interfaces, adaptive environments and more. In this talk, Albert Shum highlighted some of the emerging themes he found though the making of this film.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

About Design Thinking Today:

Guess what, it’s not just about user research. If you conduct months and months of research but have no empathy for your user, you’ve missed the point. You have to walk in their shoes and try to understand their experience. The fact is most of our basic needs are already being met. Nowadays we want to invest in a tool that connects us to the rest of the world, or powerfully resonates within us.

Technology is evolving so fast. Every move we make on the web is being recorded and analyzed. There are monster databases that contain voter records, keyword search history, and transactional data. We know so much about people now, so how do we stay connected and design experiences that are human?

Related Reading

Here’s the full recap of each day at Ixd13:
Interaction13 – Day 1 recap

Interaction13 – Day 3 recap

Interaction13 – Day 4 recap

The Editors

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