UQ user experience design professionals create playful, hands-on exhibit for all ages
User experience design professionals from The University of Queensland are combining their skills for the 10th year to create a playful, hands-on exhibit for all ages, seeking to find ways to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, in the wake of statistics showing children are spending more than 30 per cent of their waking hours engaged with a screen.
User experience design – the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product – is a core element of many products and services, including those aligned with early childhood education and care (ECEC).
UQ interaction design lecturer Lorna Macdonald said as technology pervades all aspects of our lives, we need to explore the implications it has for our wellbeing, relationships and day-to-day lives.
“Moving beyond traditional modes of interactions, imagining what they might be and who they might be for, we can build technology that has human values deeply embedded into its design from conception,” Ms Macdonald said.
Ms Macdonald’s students are hoping to change the way people connect with products, services and each other, provoking a change in perception with innovative creations designed to entice users to dance, play, make noise and think differently.
One such project aims to tackle low levels of daily activity in office workers with an augmented alarm clock named ‘Amica’, which has a health rating linked to its owner.
Amica sits on your desk, napping, until it senses you’ve been inactive for too long, when it lets you know it’s time to take a break.
Student Luke Giuseppin is working on a sensory interaction designed for use in an art gallery.In a darkened space, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a variety of soundscapes they can alter as they draw on an easel. As they draw, sounds like lapping waves, classical music or aggressive sound effects are created based on the colour of pen used and the movement of the artist’s strokes, so the user produces both an audio and a visual artwork.
Ms Macdonald said while technology had drastically changed in the past ten years, with access to programs and hardware students from a decade ago were only dreaming of, the message remained the same.
“I hope visitors leave inspired and excited about the potential that technology has to unite us in physical space, to connect us across distance and to open up new experiences.”