Monday, May 7, 2007

First Models

This is an update on our submission to the Microsoft Research Design Expo 2007. Here are two models that came out of a one-day workshop where we simultaneously explored form, function and interaction. With this method, you can come to integrated designs. 
Design problems are highly complex and ill-defined; everything depends on everything else. 
Therefore, a sequential decision making process does not result in strong designs.  I tackle design problems by iteratively proposing integrated designs and make them evolve. A program of requirements helps only slightly, for it never results in a complete design, and never in a strong design, but in a compromise between different requirements. A desired, simple and strong form, functionality or interaction should 
dictate a design and clarify what should be included, but moreover, what should be omitted.

The pink boxy model is a device with touchscreen that allows patients to get familiar with the hospital environment and procedures by actively absorbing the information by interacting with it. Before the child is taken into the hospital, she can play with pictures that show different moments of a hospitalization, at home. In a playful way, the device invites the user to sequence the pictures in the correct order. This is a check about whether or not the patient has understood the information that was given in an intake meeting. When the patient is then taken into the hospital, the device reacts to hotspots in the hospital, and again points the patient to the relevant images by starting a visually interesting slideshow. The hotspots are indicated by icons, which also serve to brand the hospital. Then, after the procedure, the child herself can take pictures with the device, and browse through past experiences of other patients 
who have taken pictures. This serves as a collective 'guestbook', that could also be put on the 
web in an online community.

The fan-like model has three leaves with a touchscreen that each serve their purpose in a different phase of the hospitalization. The top leaf shows 
concrete information prior to the procedure, so the patient can get ready for it. When the 
patient then visits the hospital, the second leaf is activated and will show a visually entertaining 
show of these images, triggered by hotspots in the hospital environment. The third leaf serves 
as a collective guestbook and is activated when the operation is finished. 

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