Interaction Design and Media,
3 x 1 day workshops
In this course, the students worked with digital interface design and the theme social change. The majority of the cases in the course that students worked on was inspired by Hilary Cottam’s book “Radical Help – how we can remake the relationships between us and revolutionize the welfare state” (Cottam, 2018). Her book illustrates how she collaborated with designers at a design company to facilitate social change processes at a community level in the British welfare society. With this as an inspirational source, students worked on cases related to ageing well, growing up, good work, family life, good health and circular economy. During the course, they were given three full day workshops focusing on values in design.
In the first values in design workshop, one of the activities was to map value landscapes (see slides in “Materials”). This assignment was placed at the research phase of their design project to support a discussion about the values that stakeholders (might) have: the students’ assumptions about stakeholder values or empirical research data showing stakeholder values. The value landscapes were created with board game pieces and they served as a way of discussing stakeholder values in context. Students were distributed around group-based workstations in a classroom, equipped with game pieces, A4 and A3 paper, markers, scissors, small post it notes (bookmark size) and some prints of empty storyboards. The teacher walked between the groups and discussed the progress of their value landscapes during the workshop.
In the second workshop, students worked with value tensions and co-evolution of technology and social structure (Friedman & Hendry, 2019). The second workshop is not covered here, because this case study focuses on how students made a connection between what they identified in the value landscapes with visual material in the project value moodboards.
In the third workshop, one of the activities was to visualise the project values with mood boards (see slides in “Materials”). This activity and the previous activity relate to each other in the way that students need to be aware of stakeholder relationships and situations in the “value landscapes” in order to create moodboards that manifest the project values in their projects. This workshop was related to the prototyping part of their design process.
Students worked on the moodboard assignment in their groups outside the classroom searching the web and collecting visual materials. When they had gathered the visual materials, there was a presentation day, where one group at a time presented their mood boards in silence. The moodboards did not contain the value words. The rest of the class wrote down the kinds of words that they came to think of when inspecting the presented visual materials. Finally, the group that presented got to learn what those words were, and we discussed which visual materials resulted in which word associations.
Below is one detailed example of a value landscape that students created:
A group working with family life and families with children with autism or ADHD developed a concept that engaged social services in collaboration with the unemployment office where people who search for jobs can help these families – see example of stakeholders in figure 1.
Figure 1. Stakeholders related to family life: child, parents, employees, social services, associations of people with a particular diagnosis, such as autism, and designers.
They placed the stakeholders in circles / spotlights (figure 2) where they added tokens illustrating what they thought were the roles and qualities that each stakeholder should have.
Figure 2. Stakeholders placed in “spotlights” where tokens were added to each stakeholder. Each token identifies a quality or role of the stakeholder.
When drawing the relationships, students illustrated a finding that they made when interviewing the parents of children living with autism or ADHD. The below (figure 3) landscape illustrates the idea that long term job seekers can do an internship where they help these families with practical issues, so that the parents can concentrate on caring for their children. In the research phase, students learned that parents expressed fatigue and that practical help was more appreciated than professional help from family counseling, social workers etc.
Figure 3. Stakeholder landscape with tokens from the spotlights (figure 2) to describe the roles and qualities in stakeholder relationships.
Below is a detailed example of three moodboards (figure 5, 6 and 7) that this group created where they illustrated how family life could be if there was someone who could offer these families practical help. The value words for their concept were openness in relation to the involvement with families, creation of well-being for the parents, safety for the child, and respect – understanding of the family and their everyday life situations.
Figure 5, 6, and 7. Please notice that the first moodboards did not contain any value words. The student group added the value words later in their presentation where they revealed their project values to the class along with visual material.
The value landscapes gave the students an opportunity to re-imagine and re-invent taken for granted relationships between stakeholders in the different cases, based on desired values. Some of the tokens in the different spotlights ended up becoming features of the service they developed – they became icons and buttons. The students preferred drawing storyboards instead of acting out the scenarios. This could have been due to the public classroom setting of the workshop where all groups were present. Some groups made storyboards seen from different stakeholder perspectives.
During the presentation of the moodboards, which was too informal, student groups struggled with remembering which word associations the different visual materials provided. Thus, this kind of assignment would work well if the moodboards were made in a joint online visualisation program (e.g., Miro Mural, Padlet), where student groups could invite other students to comment directly on the visual materials that are placed on the moodboards. In another course, the teacher did this, and below are some examples of mood boards with comments, where the students later added values to the moodboards that only contained visual materials when presented the first time.
Cottam, Hillary (2018). Radical Help – how we can remake the relationships between us and revolutionize the welfare state. Virago.