In this talk, I suggest that we need to extend beyond and break current stereotypical views of the home, and consequently of home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) products. Concepts of interactive technology for the home are often designed for and positioned within a single-family home, a stereotypical view of what a home is and of family life. While many have agreed that the nature of home is nuanced, intimate, social, and often messy, there is still a gap between how interactive technologies are designed for the places we dwell in and the complexity of those everyday spaces.
As an illustration of how we might design for the home differently, I will present findings from a project called ‘Living In A Prototype’. This project is a long-term autobiographical design project of converting a cargo Sprinter van into a camper van to allow activities like cooking, eating, sleeping, and entertaining while on the road. The van conversion project offers a radically novel context to better understand the relationships between people and their space. In addition, I will show how this project (in conjunction with other projects) has led to Design-in-Living, a descriptive framework that portrays how inhabitants and the space are co-shaped through an ongoing design process. This work aims at informing the design of interactive technologies for the home: from smart home systems to Internet of Things artifacts.
I will conclude with a few notes on methodology, particularly the opportunities and challenges of engaging in autobiographical design, and will address future projects on designing interactive technologies for non-stereotypical homes.
Audrey Desjardins is an assistant professor of interaction design in the School of Art + Art History + Design at the University of Washington in Seattle. Trained as an industrial designer and interaction design researcher, she uses design as a way to critically reflect on people’s creative tactics to make, adapt, and transform their homes (what she calls Design-In-Living) and to investigate potential futures in domestic spaces. She has recently founded a small design research group that focuses on a project called “Non-Stereotypical Homes: Engaging Alternative Visions of the Internet of Things”. As a design educator, she teaches design methods, interface design and design theory.
Before moving to Seattle, she conducted design research in the Everyday Design Studio at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and she worked as the assistant to the editors-in-chief for ACM Interactions Magazine. She holds a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from the School of Interactive Arts + Technologies at Simon Fraser University, and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from the Université de Montréal, Canada.
For more: audreydesjardins.com