Syllabus

Design Brief
Nokia are trying to envision scenarios and create interactions that facilitate easy and human communication. An important aspect to consider will be to accommodate the varying multitasking and multi functional needs. Ever increasingly the emotional connection to your network becomes as important as the practical communication needs. Presence is as important as calling or texting. The need is to think about mobile communication as a process that embodies itself everywhere beyond the notion of hand held devices etc.

The question is: do the near future needs of mobile users call for more than a device?

We are exploring the communication needs of ‘people to people’ rather than ‘people to device’ . We are trying to interpret the device as a lens rather than container for communication needs i.e how can the notion of a device become a way to reach your network and beyond, how can it offer insight and connections, how can it bring people closer etc.

Nokia are interested in not just creating seamless experiences but also beautiful seams – i.e. how can we design experiences that evolve with the users and proves a good balance over automation and control?

Context of Use
This project is about designing for the future mature needs of today’s younger generation i.e many of the future mainstream users are going to emerge from the high adaptive and technology savvy youngsters. Their demands and expectation of what the mobile communication systems will be different than that of today’s mature users. In the context of this project this focus translates into the Series 60 devices of Nokia which are designed for so called ‘Smartphone’. The challenge here is to rethink and redesign the interactions of this genre and push the boundaries of ‘smartphones’ to ‘smart + communication’ and thus addressing the future needs and aspirations of such users.

Service business is rapidly growing and provides added value that just communication alone cannot. For example there is a trend of people using less voice and more text or email. Calendars and browsers are being used more and new widget designed and optimised for mobile service experiences are emerging.

Constraints
Easy and human communication is probably best achieved without any technological intervention but yet we have the dilemma of being mobile and yet trying to communicate with a range of people, services and social spheres. A significant constraint is that one device has to accommodate Social, Personal & Professional communication needs simultaneously. A phone is now expected to smoothly transition between these social contexts as readily as you do. An important character of this brief is the ability to communicate ‘on the go’ and understating the needs of ‘one communicating to many’. Thus human ergonomics and its limitations of finger, gesture and voice based inputs can not be avoided. All your concepts have to be wrapped into a form factor that even though questions the notion of the device as a container has to be producible in 2-4 years time. Thus we can expect a bit more miniaturisation and smarter sensing methods but its not going to lead to ear implants or finger ring level manufacturing.

Deliverables
The main objective will be to produce deliverables that illustrate examples of easy and human communication. These could manifest itself as:
– Software interaction solutions
– Physical interfaces at the device level
– A combination of these wrapped in a service.

These can communicated as video prototypes, working demos of physical / software applications or emulations using other techniques. The important thing is to communicate the concept in the best possible way irrespective of the medium used. It is vital that your concept and message goes beyond the final presentation of this workshop so that Nokia can potentially take it further.

We do not expect students to create actual implementations or precise design solutions for Nokia’s product line. The deliverables are supposed to act as inspiration and not as answers to the questions arising through the brief.

At the end of the workshop students will be expected to submit their deliverables in a format that will be provided after the interim presentation.

Structure and Schedule
The project is broadly structured into 2 phases. The ‘What’ phase (week 1) and the ‘How’ phase (week2). The what phase is about asking questions and understating what to design while the how phase is about answering the emerging questions through design solutions.

Learning Expectations

Students will learn how to answer some of emerging needs of large industries. The idea is infuse knowledge and strategy to make big changes through small steps. Students will be judged on their ability to interpret the brief in a meaningful and pragmatic way, the ability to understand the company’s philosophy and reciprocate with designed provocations and the creativity in coming up with ingenious yet thought provoking design solutions. An important expectation will be to value the students ability to work within the constraints of mobile device technologies but still push the envelop of today’s technical containers i.e hand held device etc and provide solutions that showcase lateral thinking. Also, students will be expected to develop finesse and detail design abilities in integrating software and hardware based experiences through this class.