In the course ‘Designing user interfaces with emerging technologies’, I have worked on a design called Taprova with two fellow students. Taprova is a design addressing the challenges that novices face when starting to learn programming. The design consisted of four tangible user interfaces that represent the variables ‘string’, ‘integer’, ‘float’ and ‘boolean’ of the Processing language. Both an experience prototype and a proof of concept prototype were made to explore the possibilities and to validate the design. We used a video-guided questionnaire to test if the tangibles represented their digital version well. We concluded that more than half of the participants understood the tangible representations, which indicates that Taprova is a moderately effective tool for explaining the Processing variables.
Math, data and computing
During this course, I’ve learnt more about emerging technologies I had never heard of before. We also used math, data and computing as a base for our design, and when testing our ideas with the target group. What struck me most however was the shift in starting point from what I have been taught previously. Reviewing an emerging technology and using the new possibilities to explore the design space without thinking of a specific design problem up front was new to me. I don’t necessarily agree fully with this approach as I believe design should have a purpose and add value to their users lives. However, it does open up new possibilities, which may result in designs solving problems that weren’t identified up until that point. To me, that is in line with the math, data and computing expertise area, as new technologies can be seen as tools to study and address problems in smart and innovative ways.