Reimagined Everyday Objects
|Institution:||Michigan State University|
|Level:||Junior, Senior, Sophomore, Undergraduate|
|Category:||Design Methods, Experience Design, Information Design, Interaction Design, Motion, Product Design, Systems, User Experience|
|Filed Under:||Brainstorming, Design Research, Digital, Experimental, Illustration, Online Learning, Photography, Poster, Process, Storytelling, Usability, Video|
A designer's ability to reimagine existing systems and to plan for future scenarios is a critical skill. Additionally, how one communicates ideas that may use technologies that don’t yet exist relies on effective design and story-telling abilities. This project asks students to reimagine an everyday object as a future enchanted object as defined by David Rose in his book, Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things.
Rose defines enchanted objects as objects that start as ordinary things that are “augmented and enhanced through the use of emerging technologies—sensors, actuators, wireless connection, and embedded processing—so that it becomes extraordinary.” This enables the object to become more useful, delightful, informative, connected, and more engaging that it was in the first place. (P. 47) He also describes enchanted objects as “ordinary things made extraordinary” (p. 7).
Identify everyday objects you (or your roommate/family) use on a regular basis. Think about the interface of the objects and how it connects the user to a larger system. Document 12 object interfaces via photographs.
Reflect on the possibilities each object offers for a future use-case scenario. Ask yourself: What objects can be improved upon? What objects can be more transparent? What objects are the most challenging to use? How can the interfaces become more tangible?
Select one of the objects to reimagine and make an infographic that shows the connections and relationships between the object, the users, and the context of use (revealing a system).
Sketch multiple ideas for how your selected object might be reimagined, work in a way that each sketch builds on the next. The series of sketches should show how you are working through your ideas of reimagining the object as a future enchanted object. Use this sketching activity to think wildly and brainstorming through sketch form.
Create a low-fidelity paper prototype that indicates the basic functionalities and features of the enchanted object. Your should use paper to prototype ideas that might use technologies not yet developed or underutilized, go beyond the limitations of the tools and materials.
Show the context and the prototype in use via an animated video demonstration (using stop motion if you'd like). Consider the narrative sequence, lighting, and scene.
- 12 photographs
- Use Infographic
- Sketches (analog or digital)
- Paper Prototype
- Animated sequence with prototype in use
This project came about when I taught our one and only Interaction Design course (in the Graphic Design program) during a 7 week summer session (Summer 2020). This is typically a 15 week course and condensing it into a 7 week online course was a challenge. During the 7 weeks the class meet once a week via zoom for an hour. This project came about because I needed something that would pair well with a more complex Interactive Data Visualization project that preceded this one. My goal was to have a project in which students could respond to and use in their home environments and conduct on their own with minimal critiques from myself and their peers. The only formal critique happened at the initial ideation phase, the rest was on their own. When first assigning the project, I had intended for a critique on the paper prototype video in order for them to respond with a second prototype, however, due to timing constraints, I removed that end deliverable. In revisiting the student examples, several outcomes turned out well and met my expectations. I think this project is very flexible in that it could work well in an intro-level graphic design course as it is now or be expanded to become a larger senior project. As a senior project it could build out another prototype, expand on the poster infographic, and even include a branding component.
The student examples shown here are displaying storyboard stills captured from the students' video demonstrations.