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Ciara Taylor

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Posted by Ciara Taylor  |  12 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)


What can Interaction Designers learn from other disciplines? At Interaction14, many speakers challenged the community to look at Art, Architecture, Industrial Design, Graphic Design and Animation as a lens for Interaction Design.

Gillian Crampton Smith, Head of the Interaction Design program at University of Venice, questioned if there is a language of interaction design. She shared the ways in which Art and Architecture have distinct languages that can be understood across many cultures. However, Interaction Design lacks the same universally understood common language. Smith mentions the word "design" as being problematic and shared examples of how it is translated and understood in other cultures and languages such as English, French and Italian. Smith discussed the functional limitations of interaction design and how humans interact with computers as proof that we still have a long way to go in defining the language of Interaction Design.

Antonio De Pasquale included this video in his presentation; more on that below

Scott McCloud shared the many ways in which visual storytelling is used and how we are narrative-seeking creatures. He talked about how people create meaning on the fly through visual stimuli. McCloud was very poetic in the way he schooled us on visual storytelling and talked about our medium not being paper and pencils, but instead the knowledge and expectation of our users. He challenged us to think outside of the box, or the screen in this case, and consider how we can guide a user through a story digitally in a non-linear way.


Posted by Ciara Taylor  |   7 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)


It's a brisk 40 degrees here in Amsterdam as I opt to take a cab instead of walk to the Westergasfabriek, where Interaction14 is being held. The cab pulls up and I am amazed at the beautiful complex chosen for hosting the conference this year. Locals are out for their morning jog with their dog and children along the canal front. As I continued to walk towards the main building for the conference, I took in the scenery of local restaurants, galleries and studios.

The Interaction14 planning committee did an amazing job curating every last detail from the venue space, stage setup and food to make sure attendees experienced the essence of Amsterdam. When I arrived at the venue, local student volunteers eager to provide assistance and kick off the conference greeted me. I continued on to explore the space which had a welcoming vibe filled with couches, picnic tables, DIY nespresso coffee and local goodies from the Netherlands. The stage setups consisted of faux building facades and bicycles, which was a wonderful touch to the presentations.



Posted by Ciara Taylor  |  29 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)


Throughout the two day Design Research Conference the frog design team wandered around interviewing attendees and encouraging them to fill out the cards they received at registration check-in. The top card stated, "As you listen to the speakers, engage with other conference attendees, and think about what you hear, we'd like you to capture some notes. Please fill out these cards and bring them to Monday's 3:30pm interactive session." The other cards had questions such as "What are the biggest challenges facing design research today", "What superpower do you wish you had when conducting research", and "What problems in the world should design researchers tackle". Attendees had no idea what the frog team had up their sleeve, but attendees played along anyway. The frog team planned two activities for the end of each day of the conference, which required attendees to put their design thinking hats on, to interact with other attendees, teamwork, and of course fun.


Attendees gathered at 3:30pm on Monday ready to find out what role the cards would play in the first interactive frog activity. Everyone was asked to split up into groups of five people and to grab a worksheet. I joined a group of people, took a look at the worksheet and was really excited to find out that we were being asked to put together a Design Research Super Team! The worksheet had questions that matched the cards so we could collectively jot down the answer to the questions in one place as a team. It also had a space for the group to draw characters on the super team as well as name the group's super team.


Posted by Ciara Taylor  |  23 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)

DRC-2012-Crowd.jpgPhotos Courtesy of Paul Sheetz for DRC.

After being greeted by the welcoming committee, checking in, exchanging my Polaroid photo for my nametag and taking in the introductory conference experience I chugged my morning cup of coffee and headed into the theater for this year's IIT Design Research Conference at the Spertus Institute in Chicago.

This year, the two-day schedule of the conference consisted of 25-35 minute talks from designers and non-designers presenting on Understanding Data, Story Making, Human Behavior, and the Adjacent Possible. Within these topic categories, Interactive Sessions were introduced in place of a day of workshops. There were two interactive sessions in particular, one given by Elliott Hedman on Understanding Data, and the other presented by George and Sara Aye on Human Behavior, which were both informative, engaging and helpful in that the attendees could test their skills as design researchers while experiencing the benefits of a more traditional presentation.


Posted by Ciara Taylor  |  10 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)

welcoming_committe.JPGThe lovely welcoming committee!

It's definitely fall in Chicago! My morning walk to the Spertus Institute was quite refreshing with the breeze coming off the lake and leaves blowing all around on the ground. Tuesday, October 9th was the first day of the Design Research Conference at the Spertus Institute in Chicago. This is my second year attending the conference so I was anxious to arrive early enough to check out what the planning committee had organized for DRC 2012. Last year, the planning committee did a wonderful job designing an interactive experience for the attendees from beginning to end.


Upon arrival, attendees were greeted by someone from the welcoming committee, who was geared up with Polaroid 300s ready to snap a personal instant photo of each attendee that walked though the door. After receiving the Polaroid picture, attendees checked in at registration and were then directed over to a wall of nametags. Attendees found their nametag on the wall, removed the nametag and replaced their nametag with their Polaroid picture.


Attendees headed upstairs to grab their morning coffee or tea, check out the conference space and mingle before opening remarks. It was great to see people reuniting from last year as well as those new to the conference meeting new people. In the common area, there were plenty of ways to strike up conversation, thanks to many areas of the room being set up to encourage engagement. The coffee and tea station had fun printed materials, strategically placed in front of the rows of paper cups, with the question "last night I slept:" with the following answers "In my own bed," "In a hotel" and "None of your beeswax."


There was also an interactive wall with post-it notes for attendees to capture thoughts, ideas, quotes and such from the talks they listened to throughout the day. Many conversations were struck in front of the wall as well as pictures being taken and re-organization from conference volunteers so the notes can be found under specific topics for easier navigation.