Investigation of digital and analog material in a design process

Blodkikkerten is a research through design-project in which we investigated how analog and digital material facilitate collaboration in and progression of a design process.

The project was made in collaboration with Arne Knutinge-Kaas, Marie Naja Lauritzen, Nanna Marie Juhl Birch & Kathrine Gade Simoni.

At first, we divided our problem space in two main orientations, the actual design and the research. Through our design we wanted to increase awareness on blood donation. It is necessary to emphasize that the actual design is not the primary goal of this project, but is only used as a means to investigate how analog and digital material facilitate collaboration and the progression in the development of a design.
We divided the design process in three parts to investigate different phases of the process: How analog and digital material influence collaborative sources of inspiration? How analog and digital material influence development of the concept in a user workshop. How analog and digital material influence the collaboration when prototyping?

Sources of inspiration
We started out by using the platform Pinterest to gather digital material such as pictures and videos that had a connection to blood donation. After 30 minutes or so we simply went through all the pictures we pinned to our joint wall and expressed what the pictures meant to us. Hereafter we chose 8 pictures that represented different categories. We printed the pictures to use them in the following sequence with focus on analog material. We wanted to make a collage of pictures and started out by cutting images out of different kinds of magazines. We did this to unfiltered our approach to the design space. The 8 pictures from the digital phase was used as main categories on the collage and the images from the magazines was used as instruments of dialog to precise a common understanding and meaning of the design space. We experienced that using pinterest was an efficient way of gathering sources of inspiration. The making of the collage made the dialog about the design problem more dynamic when moving the images around and arguing through visual representations.

User workshop
We used the results form the previous phase of the design process in the following workshops: an Inspiration Card workshop (analog) and an iCard workshop (digital). The workshops are alike, but are only different in their material form. Basically the workshop is about generating concepts and ideas, but we wanted to investigate how the material form of the workshop might influence collaboration and the generation of ideas. We used images and pictures from the sources of inspiration-phase As result of the workshops our user group came up with lots of creative ideas and concepts of designs. There were not any large differenties between the ideas generated with the digital and the ones with the analog, but it was clear that the digital was way more structured and that the analog vivid in the progression and development of the design concepts. Both material forms have generative qualities that facilitate collaboration where the inspiration cards became objects of creation of the concept, externalisation of ones ideas, a medium of dialog.

Based on the previous generated ideas and concepts we chose the idea of making a binocular-stand that would allow people to see the world through augmented reality and hereby inform them about the need of blood donors. We first made a sketch and a paper mock-up of the design and its functions just to get a hands-on experience of the design. We realized that the analog paper mock-up could not give us a convincing experience of the functions, but it only gave us an idea of what direction the design should take. Therefore we implemented the digital aspect in the design which consisted of a computer with a webcam and Processing, a java-based code program.

Content & design by Thomas Pedersen 2018.