Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Making Tea: Iterative Design through Analogy

[2004 - University of Southampton - ECS] The success of translating an analog or manual practice into a digital interactive system may depend on how well that translation captures not only the functional what and how aspects of the practice, but the why of the process as well. Addressing these attributes is particularly challenging when there is a gap in expertise between the design team and the domain to be modeled. In this paper, we describe Making Tea, a design method foregrounding the use of analogy to bridge the gap between design team knowledge and domain expertise. Making Tea complements more traditional user-centered design approaches such as ethnography and task analysis. In this paper, we situate our work with respect to other related design methods such as Cultural Probes and Artifact Walkthroughs. We describe the process by which we develop, validate and use analogy in order to maximize expert contact time in observation, interviews, design reviews and evaluation. We contextualize the method in a discussion of its use in a project we ran to replace a paper-based analytical chemistry lab book with an interactive system for use in a pervasive lab environment. More

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