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.

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.

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.

Designing interfaces to humanise technology

The way we interact with all the small and big machines we handle and inhabit in our daily lives tells us a lot about our personal relationship with technology. What do we actually want from technology and are we really getting it? Which side is more adaptive and compensates for the flaws of the other; Human or machine? What role play designers and artists when designing interfaces for the many black boxes our scientists and technologists surprise us with? Or can only magic save us from becoming machines ourselves? The video shows my 20 minutes talk from last July at Cape Town’s Creative Mornings event and tries to answer some of these questions.

Innovating education in South Africa: Formula D interactive presents a virtual, yet tangible Chemistry Lab.

Formula D interactive Virtual Chemistry Lab

Formula D Interactive recently developed a Virtual Chemistry Lab, as a safe, low cost alternative to the standard chemistry laboratory in schools. The heart of the system is a so called object recognition table. The interactive platform consists of a 50″ High Definition rear projected screen prepped with lots of computing power. Sophisticated pattern recognition technology allows users to navigate content information by placing physical cards onto the table’s glass surface.

How to design technology tools for the classroom of tomorrow (Part 1)

I recently spoke at a workshop with the title “The South African classroom of the future” at CSIR, Meraka institute in Pretoria. In my presentation “Tools for the classroom of the tomorrow” I discussed the following 4 questions:

  • What are technology tools for learning?
  • How do technology tools benefit the classroom of today?
  • What are the requirements for the design of tools for the classroom of tomorrow?
  • What are the key technologies for the classroom of tomorrow?

In this blog post I will deal with the first 2 questions.

Requirements for computing devices in education

India's 10 USD computer This is what the world’s cheapest computer may look like
Recent rumors about India’s launch of a 30 USD computing device for education sparked some thoughts on requirements for devices that should rather be cost efficient than provide excessive functionality that is not required by the user group.

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