Designing Interactive Spaces

Designing Interactive Spaces

Workshop Dates: April 23-27, 2018


Prototyping & fabrication techniques, interactive space, design thinking, concept generation, storytelling, user-centered design, mixed reality, reactive environments, internet of things


Each day we see and interact with a variety of screens. From handheld mobile devices to large-scale digital displays, our current technologies utilize screens to provide flat views and interfaces into a vast world of digital materials. However, there is a change happening as these digital technologies transition into the objects and environments around us. Interfaces are moving from a world of ‘magic paper’ to a world of objects and environments.
We live in an amazing time where digital technology is beginning to take many different physical forms, with a rise in new interactions and sensorial experiences. But how will these new connected physical-digital spaces impact our lives? What do we expect out of space as we do with the rest of our digital artifacts? As these technologies become ubiquitous how do we shape them to be meaningful parts of our lives?
From this perspective we see our physical world becoming infused with the digital, but the opposite is also happening. Virtual and Mixed Reality offers a new take on these questions by letting us embed digital objects with properties from the physical world such as location, scale, and persistence in the world. How do these technologies work to create and augment environments?

“Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living” – Nicholas Negroponte

In this course, we will explore how to craft meaningful connected spaces through practical, hands-on prototyping and scenario building. We will introduce and explore concepts from the design of internet connected objects to the worlds of virtual and mixed reality. An emphasis will be placed on rapid prototyping and exploring these designs. Together we will explore a number of quick exercises to better understand these technologies.
With the learned knowledge of prototyping techniques, affordances, physical materials and digital tools, participants will build a working physical prototype to communicate their final idea. They will learn how to use immersive storytelling rather than screen-based presentations to demonstrate the experiences.

Learning expectations:

  • Using your hands – learning to make physical prototypes of all scales, starting at the analogue level, and working up to integrating digital components
  • How to use analogue and digital tools to create interactive experiences
  • Deepen prototyping skills and develop an understanding of how and when to use each technique
  • Learning basic methodology to create an experience through user journeys, research, prototyping, user testing, body/brainstorming, workshopping, etc
  • Learn practical idea generation and critical thinking methods
  • How to create & use physical affordances, and how to design for action
  • Learning basic methodology to create an experience through user journeys, research, prototyping, user testing, body/brainstorming, workshopping, etc
  • Experience and develop a vocabulary for Virtual and Mixed Reality interaction design
  • Develop an ability to find and expand insights related to interactive environments
  • Prototyping communication skills – learning how to create and use prototypes, and when (fidelity vs. content, contextual use)




Joshua Walton and James Tichenor