Created as a discussion prompt for a workshop during a graduate symposium, this project explores how network technology and interface design could revitalize urban centers as places for debate, discussion, and community participation. The scenario of an interactive, public commentary system integrated into the physical environment (with mobile components) questions the continuum of designer/user control and its effects on public/private space.
We explored conventional methods of public discourse, and asked how cities could benefit from adopting new methods of collecting and displaying public ideas and opinions. We also considered how those who make policy and actualize city plans could respond to the public’s input.
Several questions from this project directly carried over into my thesis:
- How can technology be integrated into the physical structure(s) of urban environments to create a new, responsive and adaptable cityscape?
- How can personal mobile devices and public interactive displays inform, react to, and support each other?
- How can interface design promote interaction and dialog between people as well as interactions between people and technology?
Continuing the dialogue
Fueled by the responses to the workshop, Kelly Cunningham and I took to the streets, engaging with the city of Raleigh and its residents as we pondered the meanings of individualism and collectivism as pertaining to interaction design.
Perhaps somewhere in between “screw the user, I’m designing the system and I’m in control here” and “freedom to do whatever we want to do including things that benefit no one but my own amusement” there is a line of demarcation where the two groups can shake hands and both be pleased. However, in a post-post-modern society still recovering from modernist idealism, a louder voice and a little less kid-gloved restriction on the user voice may serve us well. Whoever “us” is … back to you, individualist reader.
To close, collectivism and individualism are two words that we believe designers who create systems or objects for human interaction should know…
The symposium blog is long gone, but you can read the full post in PDF form.PDF Post