Weeknote 412 + 413

Oktober 14th to 27th

Teaching at HAWK Hildesheim
We felt flattered when we arrived at HAWK Hildesheim and found our poster mounted to the wall of the Interaction Design Lab. Also, this delicately designed tote bag exposed in the hall of the university, tells a lot about the city.

We’re currently teaching an interaction design class at HAWK Hildesheim. Michael and I kicked off the semester three weeks ago with a "design studio” session, I then took over the following two weeks alone. Together with around 15 students we’re exploring and developing product and service ideas (and later prototypes) as answers to the question “How to behave well in a multi-device world”.

At the moment, all participants are thinking about the topic and general direction for their project. The first step is gaining a better understanding of respective context and behaviors. We introduced a couple of human-centered design and qualitative user research methods such as personas, user journeys, cultural probes and contextual inquiry. They will be used to gather insights during the next weeks.

At the core of each project is an assumption that every student (or group of students) needs to define for their product or service: what is the “better” behavior they want to achieve in a chosen context? Why is it better? How do they think they can achieve this behavior change? Observation and deeper analysis of actual behavior will help understand and inspire new approaches. In addition, we studied BJ Foggs’ Behavior Model - with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University he created the Behavior Wizard, a very helpful tool to learn more about the different nuances of behavior change and how to approach it.

A guiding principle of the course is to avoid “digital dualism”. We take for granted that “the real” and “the virtual” equally coexist in our everyday lives. For example, “offline time” or “real world relationships” aren't considered as something better than “online time” or “internet relationships”. So the current movement of “unplugging” from technology – also known as “digital detox” – and the “back to analog” trend is not the answer. "The real world” isn't more worthwhile than “the digital world”. Forward thinking is especially important when considering our kids – future generations, not at all familiar with a world without pervasive technology.

We’re happy and excited about the group and their approaches so far and looking forward to the next few months. In three weeks they’re going to visit us in our studio, present their ideas and status quo to the rest of the team. We’re also going to have a guest lecture and hopefully some stimulating discussion.

We rescheduled our studio week a bit: we’re now having a short all hands for weekly planning every Monday morning, and another one each Thursday afternoon (starting with our studio lunch ritual), where we do reviews and reflect on our work (and the world). Two of us spent their last week sick in bed – winter is coming! We’re looking forward to welcome them back next week and start collaborating on a new project, with an all new client.

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