Beyond Users : Grounding Technology in Experience

Abstract: This thesis goes beyond a user-centred design approach to explore potential future applications and modes of interaction. With several design cases, we investigate how early technology ideas can be matched with a specific practice to inspire novel design. This involves learning about existing experiences, interests and activities that can be relevant for a potential application, but which are not necessarily found among the intended users. Starting with early technology ideas and then finding a suitable practice to learn from is an alternative perspective of design activities. This can be useful for researchers and designers in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) who are interested in complementing approaches compared to user-centred design. Our approach is also relevant for researchers that face technology-driven starting points, and want to investigate future applications by grounding the design in existing practices.A set of design cases show how the overall research goes from a usability-oriented perspective towards a more experience-oriented one, in order to accommodate technology-driven design situations. The design cases have involved different technical starting points, including information display technologies, surface-based networking, digital photography, and robot technology for everyday settings. The overall design process evolves towards matching the technology with a practice, and to investigate applications by developing one or more research prototypes. This has resulted knowledge of novel applications and interaction for the technology in question, as well as knowledge on how to employ empirical data to inspire novel design. Finally, we provide an overall reflection of the research process and show how a design approach that goes beyond users can benefit the design process.