In this weeks lecture it focused on introducing the concept of context, and how the process of design is an important component to consider when designing interactive.
There are to two areas that are needed to be considered when talking about context.
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Context [Screenshot]. Retrieved
But, before evaluating the context for use and contexts of use, it is useful to have an idea of the interactive design process and how creating ideas can eventually leads us to context.
Part 1: Design Process Overview
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). 8 Distinct Faces [Screenshot]. Retrieved
Above is a diagram from Verplank, where he identifies at least 8 distinct faces that can be seen in the interactive design process. Ranging from concrete instance, which are path like to the general overview or map like from invention of presentation.
Diagram sketches such as the image above demonstrates the process from invention stage, which included error to the modelling to a representational phase which is a graphic presentation and then the interaction or manipulation.
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Project Ideas [Screenshot]. Retrieved
Project ideas often start low tech by that using pencil and paper, sketchbooks, sticky notes, note cards and white boards. This as a result helps us to understand, define and frame the problem.
Early visualisation with diagrams, text descriptions, storyboards, models and flowcharts helps us identify potential direction, missing information and appropriate next steps. These low-tech sketches develop a consensus about what the problem is being solved and what goals are you trying to achieve. Design document will function this way.
Another simple overview of design process is showed in the diagram below
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Diagram [Screenshot]. Retrieved from
As our designs progress we need increasingly level of detail and fidelity and pen and paper can capture a concept. But eventually we need to put pixels on screens. Some point in design process we need to go beyond drawing our solutions and create interactive prototypes to validate our ideas. We need to see our designs in use and wherever possible we should put prototypes on the hand of the people.
Learning from real people and real needs and situations through creating a summary of key processors known as “Personas”, will result in us to better understand people’s behaviours and work habits towards our interactive designs.
Surveys, ethnography, focus groups, testing prototypes and observing users use of prototypes and writing about their interaction are some examples of tools, which can help bring interactive projects to life. Therefore it is essential to choose which best suites your design and audience context of use.
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Gathering Info [Screenshot]. Retrieved from
Another form of gathering information that is essential to interactive design are precedents researching which is the study of existing products. This allows designers to build their ideas and compare and contrast with current designs, to help evaluate what works and what doesn’t.
” The most important part I considered in this lecture would have to be the design process of gathering data in order to create a successful design. I think following steps such as drawing on pen and paper to observing users and conducting analysis on their likes and dislikes are key processes which help make your interactive design work successfully. Through the evaluation and test prototyping, unclear design concepts can evolve into clear objectives. As well as it is an essential tool towards eliminating aspects that do not work. In interaction design, researching, prototyping and planning are key essentials, which can benefit not only interactive designers, but designers in general to take away and apply within project work. “
Part 2: Context (for Use and of Use)
When designing an interaction, we need to know more than just what information to display and collect. We need to understand:
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Part 2 Context [Screenshot]. Retrieved
Logging into a bank account to check a balance and transaction on a computer or phone are both different in context for use and of use. Retrieving the information account balance may have different design solutions once the designer figures out what the users context is for use and what of use.
We use context scenarios to defines people’s needs so that we can create interaction designs to facilitate their behaviour. I.e. context scenario is a story about the use
Below are the many questions asked when creating context scenarios.
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Questions on Context Scenarios [Screenshot].
Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/159662636
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Questions Context [Screenshot]. Retrieved
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Questions Context Part 3 [Screenshot]. Retrieved
Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Questions Context Part 4 [Screenshot]. Retrieved
Hence, there are a lot of questions that remain to be answered. But through this lecture, It teaches us to know now what questions to ask and types of tools that might help us to arrive at the answer that will help improve our designs.