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Interactive
Posters

Conference
Companion
o CHI940 Boston,
MassachuWts
USA* April24%, 1994

ACTORS,HAIRDOS& VIDEOTAPE=INFORMANCEDESIGN
Usingperformancetechniquesin multi-disciplinaryobservationbaseddesign

Colin Burns*, Eric Dishman*, William VerpIank*, Bud Lassiter*

interval Research

Corp., 1801 Page MIIIRd., Palo Alto, California94304, USA E-mail; dishman@interval.com

0 ComputerRelated Design, Royal College of Art, London,SW72EU, England E-mail; colin@interval.com

ABSTRACT

readers must understand

We have been developing a visualization technique that we

being used. It can be difficult

cafl Irrjortrrance Design. We render scenarios as plays and

format, often resulting

interactive

portrayals

environments.

Designer

users with simple prototypes


performances

open up informed

designers and an audience,

actors

employed

dialogues

to further

can promote

as

techniques

pmformance

such as

as intellectual

particular,

user testing, are enactive and evaluative.


testing, they are intended
that are generative

to explore

Inforrnances, like

and reflective.

Unlike

user

Performance

could allow

like story boarding.

might spark

in ways that may not occur

board.

could allow

enactive situation
design, iterative

design, user-centred

design, user observations,

design,

to empathise

designers

Wizard

of Oz, role-play,

offered
INTRODUCTION

by performance.

A shared perspective

to the audience members

that can form a common

a methodology

finding

techniques

for user interface

designers who

based on user observations

[2] is

that help them make the conceptual

from what is to what might

Improvisation

leap

As well as users, an effective

In this context,

multi-disciplinary,

design methodology

for further discussion,

and role-playing
games.

contribute

are

Games

allow for easier credenrizd-mdependent

be.

is

of any performance

platform

techniques

commonly used in playing

removed
collaborative

of a new design idea in

someone elses shoes


Designers could communicate better with peers,
provided

employ

In a re-

clien(s and perhaps users through the higher bandwidti

scenarios, story bcwds, rapid prototyping

One of the key problems

for.

they are [faced with having I.o think

through the implications

design, user interface

In

to imagine better.

designers

behaviour

and creativity

Performance

aspects of

new techniques

dra~

experiential

at the drawing

develop

current techniques

imagination

design ideas in ways

ways in which

help designers

we believe

Enactive,

rather than analytic.

KEYWORDS: collaborative

in this

stereotypical

better with the people they are designing

participatory

shorthand

andl users.

in exploring

might

that supplement

collaborative

design work in ways that areas much visceraf and


experiential

in simplified,

of environments

We are interested

the design

mul[i-disciplinary,

visual

to express complexity

These

between

explore

issues raised. The use of performance


improvisation

role-play

as props.

the particul~

may

collaboration.

members of the design team are

from their commcm views and might


less self-consciously.

should also engage;

self, the designer using it

femrr, the people they are working

with

AN INFORMANCE

DESIGN

PROJECT

peers, their colleagues and fellow designers


clients, those who may commission arrd/or approve the

This short paper reports on a project

we have carried

see if we could employ

as pm

design work.

methodology.

performance

The initiaf

design team numbered

speech analysr/performer,
Storyboarding
developing
Skilled

is a commonly

used technique

and communicating

storyboarders

usc simple drawings

realise new design ideas as illustrated


this minimal

[3] for

new design concepts.


economically,

scenarios.

to

commercial

advantage,

title

of the publication

that

copying

To copy

specific

CH194

Companion-4/94
ACM

the ACM

and its date

is by permission

andlor
e 1994

designer and human factors engineer/user

interface

designer)

The projecl. stages are presented


there was considerable

here as
overlap

between each of them.

than to a wider audienceTHE PROCESS

Permlss!on
to copy without
fee all or part of this material
is
granted provided
that the copies are not made or dlstr)buted
for

Machinery.

interface

a linear process, in practice

However,

three (a

designer/user

visuaf language can make them more useful

for self and team communication

d!rect

an industrial

out to

of our design

copyright

appear,

notice

and the

and notice

is given

of the Association

otherwise,

or to republlsh,

Observation
One of the team had previously

for Computing
requires

with a femafe hairdresser

a fee

conducted

permission.
Boston,

0-89791-651-4/94/01

Massachusetts

USED

USA

19... $3.50

119

informaJ

carried out observations

who owned a small salon.

interviews

which

He

were wdeo recorded.

Interactive
Posters
During

CHI 94- Celebrating


Interdependence
* Conference
Companion,

these, the hairdresser

would

affwmed

Performance

that a computer

Using simple props (a foamboard

not help her to run her business. This became our

challenge,

hairdressing

and we chose the design of a future computer

supplies,

salon counter,

magazines

scattered on chairs and

of our ideas about methodology.

salon musak) we re-created a salon environment


in a
meetings room at Interval. The Informance was performed

Review

technologists,

workstation

for a hairdresser

as dte vehicle

for exploration

in front of some 30 Interval

designers,

researchers

and

over a period of about 25 minutes.

Our observer debriefed the others on the visits, by sharing


his on-site experience,
recordings.
vidwt

while

we viewed

material.

Reflection

the video

We also spent time individually

viewing

An informally

the

that what we saw might inspire

audience

whiteboard

studio. We brainstormed

as a sketching-for-thinking

to use informal
alternative

improvisations

members.

bare-bones
through

hairdresser

using a

CONCLUSIONS

on the observations,

was

script, which was finalised

and her customer,


dialogue

pIaying

The engagement
a

fcwused on event sequences

audio/visual
technical
through

was introduced

technologist).

facilities

level of informed

to best demonstrate

dialogue

simulation

in designing

CURRENT

the design ideas

was used to create a Wizard

of a graphical

con~olkxf

user interface

by the customer

role as Wizard.

actor

chair, to display

a mirror

front of. The hairdresser


computer

by gesturing

(GUI)

playing

The GUI simulation,

video signrd from a camera pointing

of Oz

Interval

about our

& FUTURE

which was

WORK

We have subsequently

carried out a more detailed

based on observations

at a residential

style, puuing

on-stage

performance

as part of the

We used improv

games

break down team members preconceptions

was mixed with a

project,

home for the elderly.

with a more interactive

the audience

Informance environment.

a secondary

to

about their roles

in the design team.

back at the customers

for the hairdresser


actor

within

to them

an increased

design project.

We experimented
Directorm

offered

at this point, (an

He was involved

the intended Inforrmvtce.

Macromind

the shased experience

the lnformrmce. This facilitated

by witnessing

and interactions.

of peers and clien[s

of a wider audience

was enabled through

particular
Rapid Prototyping
A fourth team member

in an enactive way, we found that we were

able to build an increascxf empathy for the people that wc


had identified as the users we were designing for.

an initial

This script, for two actors

rather than detailed

on both the process used

to act out and explore

was used to develop

performance

writing.

This fwtssed

We began

tool [1].

By designing

Storyboarding

session,

out immediately

(the aims, methods and techniques employed) as well as the


Informance content (the proposed design ideas).

design proposals.

Scenarios
& Storyboards
A short scenario, baswt loosely
written.

discussiort/brainstorming

after the Informance, over several hours, with some 20

our design ideas.

Brainstorming
We created a small project

structured

recorded on large wall boards, was carried

This prcxess was carried out with the hope

to work in

could interacL

at icons displayed

We plan to use these techniques

w]th the

with several design iterations,

in the mirror.

user testing.

in a larger scale project,

developing

prototypes

We are interested in comparing

user tests to our findings

as designers

for

the results of

role-playing

as users.

Improvisation
Improvisation

sessions, using the simulation,

test both the prototype

We used these to flesh-out


storyl-mrded,
playing
with

by building

and the dialogue

different

characters

production

We also see some possibilities


Participatory

between them.
values.

we were role-

REFERENCES
[1] Vet-plank, W., Graphic Invention
CHI Tutoriat (1991), ACM

We experimented

e.g. As

both

the primary

us that this would

We also began to irnaginetrow

Our initial

improvs

soon

[2] Verplartk,

be inappropriate.

with our designs.

would

W., Fukon, J., Black,

Observation

with

for User Interfaces,

and Invention:
Design,

A., Moggridge,

The Use of Scenarios

CHI Tutorial

(1993),

W.,
in

ACM

the characters might react


e.g. A videophone

was

[3] Vertelney,

designed to allow callers to appear on the mirror, in full


view of the customer. We soon questioned whether the
hairdresser

our work

were female, played by males, our first thought

Interaction
and interact

for combining

Design techniques.

the script that had been


up the characters

was to play them in drag.


convinced

were used to

and the performance.

feel comfortable

Prototypes
CHI

with this idea.

120

Tutoti~

L. and Curtis, G., Storyboards


for Rapid Interface
(1990), ACM

Visualization,

and Sketch