Redesigning libraries with people at the centre through Interaction Design

Media and information technology plays an integral role in the design of 21st century public learning environments such as museums and libraries. Facilities and relevant technology systems must be strategically designed with users at the centre as they explore and search, extract and collate, collect and visualise, annotate and share, save and transfer a diverse range of media formats including text, sound, graphics and video.
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A core competency in providing inclusive and meaningful access to technology-mediated library assets is Interaction Design (IxD). Closely linked to service design, IxD aims at designing frameworks to guide people’s interactions with information, media, systems, and service personnel.

Smarter Living through interactive exhibits? A case study

Energy Game at the Smart Living Challenge Zone

The Smart Living Challenged Zone was installed at the Two Oceans Aquarium in November 2015 to create awareness around the sustainability issues of water, waste, energy and biodiversity.
Just under a year later, and with up to 1200 visitors to the exhibit each day, we commissioned Anne Van de Poel, a Dutch researcher living in Cape Town, to evaluate the Smart Living Challenge Zone.

Local innovation acknowledged on global platform for creating a more sustainable world

A mobile inspection tool designed to improve service delivery in low income areas has been selected for the 2016 Sustainia100, a global campaign created to identify the best solutions and projects for “a more sustainable world and a better tomorrow”.

Books versus tablets in South African schools?

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Earlier this year, the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry of South Africa (TAPPSA) has asked Michael Wolf a couple of questions for their journal around e-Learning and technology in South African classrooms.

Making the right connections at the right time in education

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Education can benefit from ICT in a host of different areas from organisational management to learning tools, but what is the most powerful opportunity of all?

Examples of Non-traditional Interfaces for Education in South Africa

As a specialised design consultancy for interactive learning environments and tools, Formula D interactive has gained valuable project experience in designing non-traditional interfaces for digital educational content and tools in the culturally diverse context of South Africa. The aim of this paper, the final version of which has been published by Springer is to share the company’s experience in the field using prominent examples of their recent work, related research and user testing in order to discuss the merit of large-scale interactive surfaces, gesture-based and tangible interfaces in culturally diverse contexts. The company’s work includes interactive displays for science centres and museums as well as digital learning tools for classroom environments.

How designers shape the world: A short essay on cartography, design and ideology

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World maps are not truer to the reality of the world then a spreadsheet with landmass figures of each continent. Both entail measurements and estimates, but are in fact abstract descriptions of known data about our world. Since our perception is visually dominated, designers have done a great deal for our understanding of the world by visually interpreting data from narratives, philosophical debate, firsthand observation and mathematical measurement. It is understandable that during the realisation of these representations, they often had to fill in gaps to make sense of incomplete data or address constraints of the medium they were using. The translation of data into a visual representation is subject to interpreting data. Design informs data and thus creates information. In today’s data rich world, data visualisation is one of the foremost design tasks since it delivers information necessary for the understanding of our world. Most world maps are iconographical depictions which describe the shape and size of land and water. But topography has often been corrupted by incomplete or incorrect data, bad design tools, or ruling ideology.

Interaction design for learning

We all know it; it is the mantra of our time: Our lives have changed a lot in the last years through information and communication technology. It has changed the way we work. It has changed the way we communicate. New technologies like mobile computing, new tools and interfaces not only have a major impact on our work and social experiences, we can rightly claim that they have improved our lives in various areas. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the field of education. Here, it seems as though things are moving slower than anywhere else. The following article proposes various engagement points for interaction designers to make technology count for education.

International design project researches gentrification in Berlin and Cape Town

The Koeln International School of Design, the Faculty of Informatics and Design of the Cape Peninsula University and Formula D interactive cooperate on an international design project investigating the effect of gentrification in Neukölln, Berlin and Cape Town, The Fringe. A UN report predicts that 4.9 billion world citizens will be living in cities by […]

World Design Capital 2014 – Participatory design and experimentation are key to urban innovation

Although, there had been hopes for an economic boost which did not materialise in the form it was anticipated, South Africa’s FiFa World Cup 2010 was a success story. The deliverables were clearly set: Build stadiums, manage infrastructure, and provide safety for an event that would merely endure 4 weeks. In turn, the deliverables for World Design Capital 2014 are far from clear, a fact which on one hand provides an opportunity to shape the scope around the unique requirements and capacity of the region, but also bears the risk of disappointed expectations on the other. The World Design Capital project should be used as an opportunity to focus on developing change strategies following a bigger vision, instead of settling in on preconceived expectations for solutions.

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