Designing for the Self

John Zimmerman   John Zimmerman, HCI Institute and School of Design, CMU

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University November 3, 2006

For many years consumer behavior researchers have explored the role people’s possessions play in the identity construction process; looking at how possessions help people decide who they want to be and how they help people move closer to their idealized image of themselves. However, in looking at product design processes, and particularly the HCI design processes for developing interactive products and services, the insights gained from the consumer behavior research have not yet been operationalized. In general, HCI developers are quite good at looking at what people do, and designing products to enhance the qualities of these activities; however, HCI processes do not generally explore who people desire to be. This talk provides a brief overview of consumer behavior research on identity construction and details opportunities for interactive products to improve this process. In addition, it shares insights gained from select pilot design projects that attempt to address the appropriate role for interactive products to play as people construct their identities.

John Zimmerman holds a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute and at the School of Design. His research focuses on how people interact with intelligent systems from office productivity software that allows workers to employ agents as “power tools” to smart homes that through assistance with activity management help parents feel like they are better parents. In addition, he teaches interaction design with a focus on how interaction can increase the intrinsic value of products and services. Prior to working at Carnegie Mellon, John was a senior researcher with Philips Electronics where he explored interactive TV applications for the home.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.