Interaction Space Design
"Legible" architectures help us to understand the functions
of different spaces and the behaviors that are appropriate
within them. Sometimes the functionality is interent in the
form: the windowless cubicle of a dressing room provides
visual privacy, while the curtain-like door makes it clear
that auditory privacy should not be expected. At other
times, the functionality is a result of learned
understanding of the meaning of the form: the lines that
delineate the right from the left side of the road do not
offer any physical barrier to traffic, but they provide
drivers with a clear understanding of where they should be
and where others will be driving. Sometimes the meaning
derives from both function and culture: a room furnished with
beanbag chairs invites more informal and playful
conversation that one with high-backed Victorian chairs,
both because of the cultural associations with such chairs,
and the way of sitting that each enforces.
How does this translate to virtual spaces? We need to think
both about what are the functionalities we wish to convey
and about the designs we can use to communicate them.
- Read the papers listed above.
- Describe one example of legibility in the physical
world. It can be as simple and ubiquitous as, say, an
analysis of what different kinds of doors convey and how
they do so; it can be as specific as a particular room or
object. You should draw from the readings of last week
(e.g. Don Norman) as well as this week's in your
- Design a new conversational interface. Keep in mind the issues of leigibility and metaphor that we discussed earlier.
Your goal with this design is to make a 2D space that
incorporates different functions in different areas.
- You can loosely base your design on Chat Circles -
in this assignment we are not concerned with changing
the representation of the user, so simple circles are a
useful placeholder for people. The focus here is on the
environment and how different spaces function
differently and convey that difference.
- You need to think about what are the different
functions your space supports. I suggest some ideas
here, you may use these or think of others:
Board games and
sports fields may also offer some inspiration, as they often
have different zones in which different rules apply.
- spaces with "hearing range" and broadcast spaces
- spaces where something special happens, like a
- spaces where special behaviors are expected, like
listening to a speaker, or to music, or watching a
- You need to think about how these differences are
conveyed. Is it via lines? symbols? "physical"
barriers (the circle cannot move across something)? You
may choose to do something purely visual - or perhaps
experiment with designing a visually illegible space
that had barriers and other delineations discovered only
by attempting to move in it.
- You are responsible only for designing it - no
implementation is expected. However, part of your
challenge is to articulately convey the function and
intention of your design.
Please link your work by midday on Monday, Feb 25.