Arrangement Design Studies : the introduction of the digital wall in domestic environments

Abstract: This research focuses on the emergence of ‘digital walls’ that can project images onto almost all or even the entirety of interior (and perhaps exterior) walls, and what implications this might have for how we arrange our rooms. It demonstrates the arrangement, i.e., the way that domestic products are arranged physically, of rooms changes in the domestic environment in a complex scenario when using large screens. Due to the fast-growing demand for large screens, this product could potentially be available to be used by people in their home environments; however, it does not yet exist in reality at this scale. Constructing large screens can be carried out using different production methods. Here, this concept is called the digital wall, a very thin wall-sized interactive screen. The characteristics of the digital wall will vary to be able to create different scenarios. One such scenario is a space in the home where the surface of the wall is covered with screens, which allows multiple possibilities to experience and interact with digital content. In this research, the social gathering space of homes, nowadays called the living room, is considered as a highly relevant space for installing the digital wall. In this space, the conceptual framework outlines the basic elements of the research and demonstrates the relationships between people’s interactions with the digital wall and domestic products in the domestic environment. I show two examples from design history to understand how arrangement changes impact the home environment: the transformation of the parlor to the living room, and entry of the television into the living room. These two examples are focused on the place in the home where people gather for socializing. The discussion of these examples led to the elaboration of the relationships between the elements in the conceptual framework.I explored relevant design research methodologies to bring this future scenario into the present to understand the relationships between people and the digital wall. I applied research through design and the constructive design research approaches to frame the design research methodology. In this thesis, I set up seven series of design studies in two cluster groups: Supportive studies and Main studies. All of the design studies were conducted in the Design Research Lab, the actual space for carrying out the design experiments, prototyping the digital wall, and the setting of the experiments for user participation. The Lab was fully equipped with relevant technology and allowed me to use multiple methods to collect data while people were experiencing the design study sessions. The Lab was useful as a platform to understand user experiences, barriers for interactions as well as people’s experiences in a simulated space of a domestic environment. The main contribution of this research is to understand the forms of arrangement changes when people use the digital wall in homes. The research demonstrates two significant implications that are seen in two forms of arrangements: tangible arrangement and imperceptible arrangement. These findings are useful for both designers and users of the elements of domestic contexts and the relations that can be shaped by the presence of a digital wall in home environments. This understanding may provide design guidelines in future scenarios in which the digital wall is used in homes. The findings are also beneficial for designing the domestic environment, improving the arrangement of space, and raising the requirements for designing domestic products.