Connecting conversation

A 90 minute Workshop by:

Alastair Somerville

Acuity Design

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Workshop

The problems of future design aren't just technical; they're sensory, emotional and social. Devices will be active as social beings (either through deliberate design or the projection of characteristics onto them by users). As devices gain both senses and characters through more sophisticated sensors and algorithms, we need to consider the role human senses and emotions play in how we communicate in social places that fluidly mix people and devices in digital and physical ways.

This workshop aims to raise participants’ awareness and establish the core skills to negotiate this landscape of senses, sensors and sociability. Participants will explore the ways they make meaning through their own senses in order to understand what hyper-user-centered design means for wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Drawing on knowledge gained from accessibility projects and research, this workshop will provide a framework of how our senses and emotions work and explore how this can be used in the design of interactions and conversations between new forms of devices and users. Participants will learn about the 9+ senses and their role in sensory cognition, information theory and gesture design issues.

Participants will also be exposed to personal emotional and sensational mapping and testing; sensory substitution and multimodal/post-screen user interfaces; and sensory augmentation and neuroplasticity. By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with core questions and issues for wearable and IoT user experiences and begin to apply this knowledge to successful future product design.

The workshop is in 3 parts:

  1. Understanding senses
  2. Understanding meaning making and cognition
  3. Understanding emotion and feelings of emotion

Each part offers examples, uses research to frame solutions, has a practical exercise to help understand the problem and builds towards an overall framework of how to manage the design process when senses, emotions and social issues are creating complex interplays.

You'll leave this workshop with:

  • a general design framework for sensory/emotional design
  • awareness of research and examples behind both problems and solutions
  • self-awareness through experiential exercises

About the Speaker

Alastair Somerville is a sensory design consultant. He provides specialist advice on cognition and user centered design to companies, including ustwo, who provide physical and digital products and services. He facilitates workshops on sensory and emotional design for wearables and the Internet of Things for corporations, including Google, and major conferences, including SouthBy Southwest (SxSW), UX Week and O'Reilly Design.