2018

Milica Pavlovic, Margherita Pillan

To Get There: Designing Together, Paris: Cumulus.

Mapping Hybrid Physical/Digital Ambient Experiences: Towards a Shared Language for The Design of Complex Systems.

The diffusion of digital technologies imposes an upgrade of design knowledge and skills, and, between others, of drawing capabilities. The design of digital facilities for functional spaces, (as, for example, in the project of digital applications and self-service touch points for retail big stores, hospitals, university campuses, libraries, etc.), requires the integration of multiple design competences: service, communication, interaction, product and interior design. Furthermore, the design of technology-based solutions, requires the collaboration between experts of different disciplines, such as engineers and business managers, and their involvement in co-design processes. In order to manage the complexity of these physical/digital solutions, and to ensure a design result oriented towards the optimal satisfaction of users, authors such as Dalton et al. (2016) and Kalbach (2016), have proposed new design approaches and mapping techniques focused on experience and on user activities.
In a project focused on user experience, drawing activities are not only aimed at defining the physical characteristics of products and spaces, but also at representing users’ physical and cognitive activities in time, and the interactive processes through the system of touch-points. The new forms of drawing integrate the traditional representations so to manage complexity due to the integrated design of service and physical environments; besides, they support the management of the multidisciplinary contributions of different stakeholders, so allowing the creation of a common view. Furthermore, the interlacing of fields and cross-discipline perspective can lead to redundancy in the terms of data provided and of functionalities posed to the user, which brings experience design to a quite challenging quest to deal with.
Designing for such systems poses, as relevant aim, the comprehension of the experience that the user will have in the functional environment. This comprehension has to be mapped and represented in a way that it communicates clear messages to all the stakeholders and parties involved in the design project, thus establishing a shared language among them, while orienting the project efforts toward a common goal.
Within the paper, we shape our discussion about the design of functional spaces, as an issue of designing constraints and enablers, since the design for experience is actually seen through designing points for limiting/enabling of activities. By mapping experience, we map the points of interaction and actions viewing environments from the side of the user that in interacting with it within a certain time period. These points are the indicators of the elements that are limiting/supporting user’s activities, and therefore pose a structure for experiences.
In the paper, we deal with mapping aimed at the creation of a shared language for the design of physical/digital environments; the discussion is supported by case studies suitable for a conversation of drawing principles in design for experience. We discuss these as a base for the establishment of an emergent design language.