The smartphone has become our constant companion but does it have to be that way? What is a smartphone? Why is it the way it is? Based on something we are all familiar with, we will explore different methods and positions: from UX to feminist theory and speculative design.
Through user studies, critical readings and design experiments, we will try to understand the phone on a functional and social level and engage in speculation about potential alternative designs. The project will touch on the following points, but is not limited to:
- usage/ habits/ common features
- history of the (smart)phone
- (dis)abled users
- present and future smartphone technologies
In the first phase, we will focus on the way we use the smartphone, introducing methods for user studies (e.g. diaries or auto-ethnography), before touching on technical requirements and limitations of phones. After a phase of shared exploration, we will split up into smaller groups for in-depth engagement with specialist topics (e.g. smartphones for non-humans, inconvenient smartphone designs, wearable smartphones, shape-changing smartphones, smartphones for special user groups, ...).
Through this project you will not only be introduced to user research methods, but also will engage with critical literature, such as feminist or queer voices as well as get insights into highly creative speculative design methods. In addition, we will engage with several small design experiments to approach the topic not just from a theoretical and thinking perspective, but to also explore why/how to reinvent the smartphone through prototyping and practical hands-on activities.
High motivation to explore a multidisciplinary topic,
ability to work self-organized & in teams,
fluent conversation in English
(prior experiences in creative coding or physical computing are supportive but not a requirement for enrollment)
Regular presentations & discussions, documentation of the process, commitment to shared goals & deadlines, submission of assignments, video presentation, final report