Prototyping Interactions

Jussi Mikkonen

Tutkimustuotos: Doctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Prototyping is a discipline which has evolved tremendously since the advent of easy-to- use prototyping platforms, which comprise an integrated coding environment and an electronic prototyping board. Interaction design has long since become a technical field, with a need for a language for describing interactions that can be understood by both engineers and industrial designers. The fields of tangible user interfaces, smart clothing, and electronic textiles are currently developing at a tremendous rate, and better tools are required for the communication within the multidisciplinary teams tackling them. As the designers are working in a discipline relying on a visual representation, the logical way to help them to design interactions is to build on that ground.
The aim of this thesis is to answer how an innovator can formulate the functionality of the interaction of a prototype, as well as to classify prototypes in a research-orientated setting, and support the prototyping process in a multidisciplinary team. The work spans roughly 15 years, and while the earliest publication could be considered technologically outdated, the prototyping-related aspects are still valid. The thesis revolves around teaching how to build interactive prototypes, and the methods have been developed with teaching in mind. To that end, prototypes are looked at through prior definitions of a prototype, and by several smaller prototyping examples, as well as by two development paths and three projects. The author of this thesis has worked on all those examples, except two of the prototypes. From these, the roles of a prototype were developed, with a new category describing "a prototype enabler", a prototype without being a functional prototype in itself. The thesis also describes the construction of a few prototypes and a platform, all done in teams with more than one discipline. In order to describe the interactions such a prototype could have, some graphical representation methods and designerly methods were examined, and a set of cards known as Flowcards developed. The cards were refined over the years, by teaching with them. The usage of the cards is shown, common issues discussed, and finally, the overall design-process explained. During the process, the author has worked with several professionals in the fields, and students from master and doctoral level. The impact of the work could already be seen in wider context during the research process, through the increase in the quality of the prototypes and the student's ability to describe the interactions. All in all, they were able to manage the prototyping process much better. The thesis provides means for formulating the functionality of the interactions of a prototype from a design-oriented perspective, and provides instructions that can be understood by both design and engineering oriented users.
Myöntävä instituutio
  • Tampere University of Technology
Painoksen ISBN978-952-15-3818-6
TilaJulkaistu - 2016
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG5 Tohtorinväitöskirja (artikkeli)


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