Show ‘n’ tell plus reflections

Show ‘n’ tell – Our Concept

Today we presented our concept , which was based on personal space.

Negative scenario was someone creepy getting closer and closer to you, so your device starts playing alarm sound. The positive scenario was someone you are fond of approaches you, so your device plays a cute sweet tune.

The reception was positive – the teachers said that another group worked with similar concept, which can be considered good.

As Tony brought up, there is no “traditional” , skin-to-skin touch involved, but from a philosophical point of view, your personal space can be considered an extension of your body. Dimitros calls it “body aura”.

We were asked how we came up with this concept and we explained that Swedes value a lot personal space, so it is something central in the culture, and as a Brazilian everybody would expect me to be social, extroverted, which is not true in my case.

With other words we tackle the subjectivity of space, from a Kantian perspective.

This concept was not our initial one, though. As I have mentioned previously, a time reaction game was our first concept, however it wouldn’t lead to a deeper philosophical discussion, I suppose. Plus we were not allowed to use shock. Even though our concept was appreciated, I was not satisfied …I found our prototype too simple, unpolished, but I had to compromise, since it was a group work, not an individual one.

Show ‘n’ tell – Our presentation

Well, the presentation could have been better – I did not know when I should start saying something – my partner sounded insecure and nervous, so I took over, maybe I took too much space. I know I have this flaw – I get easily carried away, even when I am not satisfied with the result… and talk too much, leaving too little showtime for others.

Plus, the sensor has a life of its own, a personality – very sensitive and the prototype started beeping when it was not supposed to. But we were well aware of that before the presentation, so I was ready psychologically for this little issue.

Show ‘n’ tell – Other groups

While we did not really focus on skin-to-skin interactions, many of the other groups did – either handshakes, or touching. I found most of the prototypes very simplistic and unfinished as well, but one group stood out, with a very cool concept and execution was not bad either! I am talking about the guys with the hats – I don’t know their names, but their concept showed the difference of personality traits – one who is very easy-going, with a funny mushroom hat – all the time he gives a handshake he gets a gentle scalp massage (positive experience), and the other who is anti-social and doesn’t like handshakes, he is wearing too formal, stiff clothes, and top hat, and every time someone shakes his hand, he gets a mild shock (negative experience). With other words, they explore how people can experience /perceive same interaction in completely opposite ways – one perceives it as positive and the other as utterly negative.


This module had an interesting premise – come up with a design that is wearable and enhances skin-to-skin interactions, leading to positive and negative experiences.

However, the literature left a lot to be desired and led to misunderstandings concerning the module project – For starters, one of the texts was about designing for provoking people, leading to negative emotions that could be transformed into something positive. According to the article, negative emotions such as disgust, fear and sadness can lead to an enriched and enjoyable product experience, and that is what is called “rich experience”.  Nevertheless, despite all the focus put onto rich experience,  that was not exactly what we were going to work with. So it left many people confused and led to misunderstanding.

Another text was about designing for wearability, which I found very androcentric – which body parts would be optimal to focus on when we develop wearables? Where does it feel more natural, comfortable? A wearable is a wearable if it is incorporated in someone’s life, like an extension of one’s body.  Chest was one of them in the text – under my breasts? No way! That is very uncomfortable, and my partner and other girls agreed with me – even Dimitrios!

The third text is not even worth mentioning, because it had very complicated diagrams, and we did not really discuss anything about it in our module, namely the text about tangibility, going beyond pixels – from GUI to TUI. Of course we know what is tangible and what is not, but this text overcomplicated things.

Not only the texts bothered me – the fact that we had to pick our partners, was an additional stress factor, since most of my classmates are new to me – I come from IDK 2014, and was on parental leave. So I came back to completely new people. I was okay with working on my own, because I love Arduino so it would have been cool to have “my own baby wearable” .

There was only one person left without partner, and there was no personal chemistry between us. She seemed so negative, and dismissed most of my ideas without even blinking. Besides she did not show much enthusiasm and interest either. But maybe she is also like me – more productive alone. I am also an introverted person and my brain loves solitude. However I also like to exchange ideas, and as Schön brings this up, designing is a social process in which communication plays a pivotal role, you are supposed to engage in an interaction with your partner, otherwise your design will suffer the consequences of malfunctioning communicative activity.

And finally, something else that frustrated me was the constraints – we are not allowed to use shock, some other sensors are expensive, and the cheaper ones too sensitive. And time is also an issue – we had a very short period of time and two people on never-ending divergence phase.

But one good thing I will bring with me to future assignments : That’s the way it is, so you gotta accept it…”Gilla läget!” Having a career implies interacting with people that otherwise we would never want to and still you gotta make it work, make the best of an uncomfortable situation.











Show ‘n’ tell

Okay…I made some changes as I said I would during the weekend…the problem is that I forgot to show the changes to my partner, but I thought it would be ok, since what I have changed is not really central in our concept, namely the background. If there are more than 20 devices, there are plenty of unicorns running (it reflects the crowdedness aspect), and if there are fewer than 20 devices, there is the image of one crying unicorn. It is me who drew the unicorn, so I thought it would be cool to showcase my skills!

My partner informed me that he was sick and could not come to the presentation…PANIC! I wanted to show my version to him…and if he did not like we could use his version…but as he was sick, I did not want to bother him with something so insignificant, at least for me.

The presentation was okay, even though we got much criticism, but at least of the constructive kind, and I actually agree with them. One of the criticisms is that our concept was giving a “black-or-white” idea – it is either too many devices, or too few devices, we do not explore anything in the middle.

Another criticism is that our concept is sort of normative – we tell the user how she/he is supposed to feel if there are many/few people around – we did not leave much space for the user to experience one’s own feelings. It is as if we are imposing feelings related to crowdedness and emptiness. As Kant puts it, space is a subjective notion, so we all experience it differently. And finally, when it comes to the website, we should have removed the instruction part, really unnecessary. Additionally the unicorn animation when there are too many people was somewhat too “frenetic”and could make people more nervous instead of calmer. But according to my classmates we succeeded in causing impact on their mood.

My own reflections about the module was that we took for granted people’s attitude toward emptiness/crowdedness, we made assumptions that are not necessarily true.  We should have left more space for interpretation, user’s own experience instead. It felt like we were designing for ourselves, instead of adopting a user-centred design.

Another problem is communication and working in pair – my partner tended to work on his own, or alone get help from his buddies and would leave me “in the dark”. I had to ask him constantly how things were going, and what I was supposed to focus on, and I even had to say “it is actually an assignment in pairs, so we should do it accordingly.

But I also should have asked him about the animation before presenting, we both have flaws and we learn from our mistakes.

Anyway, that’s how our page looks like now


Some thinkers consider space as an own entity, space as a container.

Nevertheless this idea is rejected by others such as Martin Heidegger and Immanuel Kant.

What I have understood is that space is relational, i.e. it is a relation between things and subjective, that is, space is not an objective reality but instead an intellectual construct, according to Immanuel Kant. In this account, the actor’s feelings are central, and space receives a more psychological dimension.

Heidegger rejects the idea of space being an independent entity and we can also notice some Kantian influence. However, Heidegger does not characterise space as either subjective or objective, but instead he puts focus on people’s actions. According to him, it is through actions that we come to understand spatiality.