Social perturbations and posited practices:
looking at prototypes as more than immature proto-products
Elizabeth F Churchill, Yahoo! Research
Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Prototypes are an effective way of communicating. But communicating what precisely? This talk explores the role of different types of prototypes in researching and designing interactive artifacts - I will emphasize the critical role prototypes play in the exchange and development of potential product ideas but also in the development of social theories of action and interaction.
Using notions from innovation management, design studies, social theory and critical theory, I will illustrate how prototypes are understood and misunderstood when people talk at cross purposes about the illustrative intent of the prototype. Using a long term research project that resulted in a product as an example, I will discuss the different mock-ups and early prototypes that were used to illustrate the technical, informational and social concepts that were being illustrated; each one played a role many times clarifying and sometimes confusing the conversation between different stakeholders in the design and production process.
Elizabeth Churchill is a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where she is developing the area of Media Experience Research. Originally a psychologist by training, for the past 15 years she has drawn on diverse areas to consider how to design effective communication situations both face to face and technologically mediated. Influences on her work include psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, architecture, and film studies. Applications developed and/or evaluated include cell phone interfaces, textual and 3d graphical social interaction environments, interactive digital posterboards and animated interface personas. Until 2006 she worked at PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto, California. Before that she was the project lead of the Social Computing Group at FX Palo Laboratory, Fuji Xerox’s research lab in Palo Alto.
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