In order to make good and relevant designs, we need to have a deep understanding of the users, what they do and their context of use. However, not all users are easy to meet or use contexts easy to reach. This blog post is about alternative ways of learning about "hard-to-reach" users, i.e. seafarers.
I've recently been reading an interesting and inspiring book about generative moments in research. Generative moments are "moments of deep inspiration, connectedness, burst of insight and expansion of thought". These are moments that have the power to radically expand our thinking and really makes research worth doing. Acquiring generative (or Aha!) moments is a challenge for designers as well as researchers. And for us design researchers we have a double challenge: We need to chase these Aha! moments both in our doing of design and in our doing of research.
Last week a seminar addressing how systems thinking can be related to design thinking and design practice took place at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). The speakers comprised a good mix of internationally acknowledged designers and systems thinkers, PhD fellows (including myself) and former Master students from AHO. Here are my reflections on some of the issues discussed during the two days of the seminar.
I've earlier been writing about how I really wanted to go to sea again. One week ago I returned back from my second trip to the North Sea. Saturday morning nine days earlier I had received a call from a shipping company representative saying that it was possible for me to join a platform supply vessel in Aberdeen the same day.
I've been onboard an offshore support vessel twice so far in my PhD work and now I am eager to test out my sea legs once more. The two previous visits were shorter trips of two and three days and gave me an initial understanding of the bridge environment, its users and their tasks. Now I am planning my third and most important field study. But why am I so eager to go out to sea again?
1 1/2 week ago Ulstein launched a video presenting the Ulstein Bridge Vision, an outcome of the Ulstein Bridge Concept (UBC) project which I am part of. The vision presented is the result of more than one year of development work and shows new interaction design, product design and technical solutions.
Wednesday next week at the ONS 2012 conference in Stavanger the design work of the Ulstein Bridge Concept project will be presented publically at a press conference. Up until now the designs developed in the project have had to remain classified. We are so excited about being able to show the world what we've been up to the last year! For those not present at the ONS, the press conference will be available at www.ulstein.com from Thursday 30th of August. You will also get the latest news from the launch at the Ulstein Bridge Concept page on the Centre for Design Research website.
The seaman must develop sea sense, just as the driver of a motor vehicle develops 'road sense'. He must be alert continually to visualize what is happening, and to anticipate what might happen next. A true seaman is always ready to act in time to avoid injury to his ship or to his shipmates, or to himself.
'A seaman's pocket-book', June 1943
The situation on a ship's navigational bridge has evolved over the years. When the book quoted above came out in 1943, technological navigational aids were limited and many of the tasks that are automated today were carried out manually. However, both now and then the officers on the bridge must make sense of the situations they face to be able to carry out their work in a safe manner. What should we as designers take into consideration if we want to design bridge environments that eases this sensemaking?