Reflect on your experience of the Bodystorming exercise by answering the following questions:
1. How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?
Acting out helped us to see some of the problems from different angles and at a closer level of detail, and this allowed us to explore solutions differently. I think that in our heads, we don’t necessarily go through every possible detail and scenario, so the process of acting it out helped us to see more of that detail.
2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?
Yes, our original smart buzzer did not do that much. It was just a buzzer that told us when to come back to the doctors surgery. We realised there was a great potential to solve many other problems with the one solution. So we decided that we could put headphones into the buzzer for listening to music while waiting; and a screen so that everybody didn’t have to watch the same tv show on the tv at the waiting room; and so on.
3. What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?
Some of our ideas were difficult to bodystorm, partly because we didn’t have the equipment, but also because they required a highly specialised setup (like suspending rows of chairs at different heights off the ground).
4. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?
Bodystorming lends itself to problems that can be solved practically and physically. If it’s a problem related to aesthetics or something that’s theoretical, bodystorming becomes irrelevant, because the body doesn’t come into it. However, if the problem relates to physical interaction with the human body, then it will be more suited to bodystorming.
It’s interesting reading into Harrison, Tatar and Sengers’ Three Paradigms of HCI (2006), and mapping it against layers of the history of HCI (Paul Murty’s lecture) and the history of modes of thinking. Without performing an exhaustive study, it would appear that the paradigms (defined as “waves of research” by Kuhn (Harrison et al., 2006, p. 2)) come in waves of varying strengths according to the sociology of the day. During the time of Scientific Management (Taylorism / Fordism) in the early 1900’s the focus in HCI was really about the science of efficiency (Classical Cognitivism), with things like the QWERTY keyboard. Around the early 1960’s there’s an emphasis on making computers more user-friendly (Human-Factors Paradigm), with the first GUI, touch-tone dialling and speech recognition. Then in the late 1970’s and early 80’s there’s a move into the information age – somewhat of a scientific paradigm again (Information Processing Paradigm), with networking business machines such as the Xerox 8010 Star Information System complete with networking capabilities. Only recently have we started to move into areas like User Experience where emotions and social aspects come into play (Phenomonologically-Situated Paradigm). We ask questions like, ‘what meaning does this bring?’. The thinking of the day appears to parallel largely with the emphasised paradigm of HCI at that point in history. It’s a bit like the left-brainers (logic, process) fighting the right-brainers (emotional, social) throughout history.
I feel like I could add a few layers to this diagram, and map the parallels.
Hoetzlein, R. (2011). Timeline of 20th c. Art and New Media. Retrieved from http://www.rchoetzlein.com/theory/2009/timeline-of-20th-c-art-and-new-media/
Harrison, S., Tatar, D., and Sengers, P. (2006) The three paradigms of HCI. In Alt. chi, Proc CHI ’07. ACM Press.