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Designing for Interaction Cultures

Timothy Martin
Freelance Consulting


Wean Hall 5409


Designing interactive products continues to advance the study and practice of the usability sciences. Since it’s inception interaction design has employed usability to validate design decisions, evaluate solutions, and improve the ease-of-use of software and physical products. However, there is no single research method for discovering and developing new product concepts. Designing for specific cultures may have started as a way to understand the needs of a vast range of consumers, but has grown into much more.

By studying the patterns, rituals and behaviors in people’s daily lives you can discover a culture of interaction concerning specific tasks and products. With an established understanding of these cultural models, new concepts can be formed that fit the existing model. Furthermore design decisions can be validated and prototypes evaluated against the same model. This research tool is effective at generating new ideas and invaluable in reducing the risk of developing products and services.

After presenting the idea and process of Designing for Interaction Cultures, we will present two case studies—each with unique groups and differing needs—that show the value of cultural research in successful product and interaction design.

Speaker's Bio

Timothy Martin specializes in designing professional and consumer interactive products. From desktop software to handheld devices, he strives to improve the experiences defined by the digital world. By using a combination of discovery research, interaction design, and evaluative studies Tim synthesizes existing user models and behaviors to create new products and services.

Timothy is currently freelance consulting in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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