Transformational design : a mindful practice for experience-driven design
Author(s)Rosenberg, Daniel, Ph. D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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After our initial hype over the digital revolution, we are realizing that interactive technologies, such as personal computers, smartphones, and tablets, are changing our daily experiences exponentially, without necessarily improving the way we live. Although contemporary design practitioners are increasingly interested is a more human-centered design, they objectify the experiences of the people they are designing for by not considering their own experiences during the design process. As a result, these designers do not have the means to observe, talk and reflect about the implications that their design practices and products have on their own experience and that of others. I propose a radical alternative to contemporary practices conceiving and developing new interactive technologies. I call this Transformational Design-a mindful, hands-on, and collaborative practice that allows designers to bring forth their own experiences within their creative process (designer's experience) and then talk and think about the experiences of others (user's experience) in terms of what they have directly experienced. This practice combines Mindfulness practice (Vipassana) with exploratory design (Shape Grammars) using interactive materials, including sensors, microcontrollers, and effectors. In this dissertation, I present the foundations of Transformational Design, including the conceptual guidelines-a vocabulary and models-along with the exercises to apply them in practice. In these exercises, participants express their experiences and design by putting together interactive and recycled materials. They also play as users and designers, exchanging their expressions and products, and then observing one another. I built this practice by simultaneously conceiving the foundations and exploring them in workshops with many others. In total, I conducted 14 workshops with 188 participants in Chile, India, and the US. I have found that with Transformational Design, participants can become mindful, and then express their experiences as a construction: can bring forth new experiences by engaging with their designs in ways they have not done before; and can begin reflecting on how these experiences change the lives of others in ways they could not have predicted. It is my hope that this practice will pave a meaningful alternative path, one that designers can use to begin reflecting as they are putting together new technologies, for themselves and others.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Architecture: Design and Computation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2015.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 297-301).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology