Interaction design is not limited to the domain of digital media -- it is at the heart of every artifact. Similarly, all artifacts can be construed as “interventions,” soliciting reactions whenever they are encountered. One aspect of designing an artifact is to encourage an intended activity and mediate the relationships between its multiple audiences, making the interaction a key factor of the design. In this course, students will design an intervention into a public space, providing an object/environment/service—either entirely physical or enhanced with electronics; stand-alone, or connected—intended to encourage curiosity, investigation, thought, interaction, socialization and positive change.
This course aims to highlight the power of design to alter people’s behavior. Almost all complex problems require a change in behavior, and as designers we want to move people toward a healthier society-physically, mentally, socially, environmentally, and financially. Social behavioral change happens through the interactions amongst members of a society, and in this class it is the behavior of the group, not just the individual, that we are attempting to alter; here, the design interventions will ultimately generate new, positive interactions amongst the group. The class introduces students to the notions of interactions and interventions through fully-realized prototypes placed into contexts they can relate to, expanding their understanding of design and how it can make change happen.
This is a studio class where students work in teams, selecting an actual site that inspires them in the vicinity of the school, analyzing the context of the site and its audiences, and deriving a topic for their intervention. Students may choose to partner with a related individual or organization. Class meetings will be comprised of lectures, student presentations and class critiques, individual desk critiques and teamwork sessions. Between the weekly meetings, students will be given assignments that are part of the design development process of the project. For the final class meeting, students will stage and perform their interventions/ interactions at the actual sites with a combination of full-scale mock-ups and digital projection. Guest critics will attend the final presentations.
Students in this course will come away with a set of tools to:
- Understand and leverage the power of public spaces
- Engage the public through different strategies (disruptive, subliminal, adaptive)
- Change behavior, activate groups, and shape relationships and interpersonal dynamics
- Sharpen their contextual awareness and tools of analysis (social, economic, cultural, environmental)
- Understand users and the drivers of behavior in a more robust manner (internal logic / external stimulus)
- Utilize storytelling as a design inspiration, and as a means of communication
- Understand performance as the presentation of interactive systems
- Document interactive projects