The project is an important and significant item in the class. It is expected that students devise and complete a project paired with another student, or to work on their own. There are several types of projects which will be acceptable (each idea will need to be discussed and approved by the instructor), though preference will be given to projects that directly address the design problem below.

Student Design Competition at CHI 2014

This year, we will be working with the design problem posed by the CHI 2014 Student Design Competition.

The top project from the class will be submitted to the competition. If this project is awarded a presentation spot at the event, the team will be sent to CHI 2014 to give this presentation.

Design Problem

BodyData: Designing for Qualities of the Quantified Self

This year's conference theme "One of a CHInd" focuses our SDC design challenge on the one of a kind diversity that is made up of the individual selves that create our community. The growing design domain of the Quantified Self has been made possible through the integration of low-cost sensing technologies with proliferating applications available through mobile and internet technologies. There is a context of sensory-rich data from biometric, health, neo-analog, DIY culture and geophysical sensing that expands our ability to augment or shift our perspectives and our knowledge. Self-tracking, self-management and self-awareness are activities that promote agency and transformation of our own growing accumulation of bodydata. How can we transform this overwhelming incoming bodydata into self-knowledge?

The growing integration of sensing technologies impacts our ability to track our own BodyData creating new design challenges for self-assessment, self-monitoring and self-change. What are emerging design and experience qualities for the quantified self? How can we design for technology that promotes greater access to self-knowledge through data collection, observation and analysis? How do research areas such as personal analytics provide access to tools that can have an impact on personal health, family and community, sustainable and environmental activism, social-change and global responsibility? Self-knowledge and self-change may start at home but ultimately affect our families, communities and global ethics. Our technologies have entered the rhetoric of our everyday perspectives yet our future outlooks depend upon our ability to alter and transform our own individual perspectives in fluid, ameliorative and improvisational ways.

The design arenas for BodyData: Designing for Qualities of the Quantified Self could explore (but are not limited to): Mood, Emotion, and Meaning; Sleep, Habits and Health; Movement, Mindfulness and Listening; Personal Analytics, Data Visualization and Ethics. The philiosopher Richard Shusterman has defined the term somaesthetics as "the critical study and cultivation of the experience of the living body as a site of sensory-aesthetic appreciation." How can we use the data of the Quantified Self to increase the experiential Qualities and agency of the Somaesthetic Self?

Our one of a CHInd voices vary tremendously by culture, community, income, age, politics, economic development and education. While BodyData describes the self, our individual selves are inextricably tied to historical concepts of identity, culture and not all selves have access to the same data. BodyData reflects both public and private, unique local needs and desires, as well family, community and cultural influence.

This year's challenge is to design an object, interface, system, or service intended to help us to develop and share self-awareness, understanding or appreciation for our BodyData, exploring how we can Design Qualities for the Quantified Self, our personal experience as it relates to our One of a CHInd knowledge in the world.

We want you to find new solutions, new groups of people and new issues that could benefit from the application of good design with appropriate technology.

Use appropriate design methods such as ethnography, contextual and phenomenological research to understand the problem space, and develop human-focused design solutions to support, assist, enhance or otherwise benefit your target audience. Your solution should address the issues of helping us to develop and share awareness, understanding or appreciation for collaboration.

To enter the competition, student teams may present either a concept (a clear, detailed design specification that can be taken to prototype), or a fully realized prototype. Either way, teams must clearly illustrate their design decisions and demonstrate the design processes that have been followed. Additionally, as this problem has a broad cultural and social focus, "system design thinking" is encouraged. We strongly encourage consideration of:

  • Previous work in this and adjacent areas, and relevant creative and technological opportunities.
  • Appropriate methodologies to ground your research decisions. These can include ethnography, contextual research, phenomenological/autobiographical methods, secondary sources (including trends) or other research approaches that inform, inspire or rationalize your design process.
  • Elaboration of methods for evaluating your designs within your iterative design framework
  • Contextualization of your design through scenario and narrative

Major Activities

  • Project Specification. Through an interative process, you will specify a set of projects, and narrow into one project. - 5%
  • Project Proposal. You will submit a project proposal that outlines the problem being worked on, the approach (proposed work), and related work relevant to that work. - 15%
  • Final Presentation. At the end of term, you will present your term work. This may involve a demonstration of your working system. - 20%
  • Final Paper. You will also submit a final paper of 4-6 pages outlining your work. - 30%
  • Early Reviews. You will also be graded on the reviews you provide to others. This will be graded on thoroughness, and usefulness of the reviews. - 15%
  • Program Commitee Review. We will engage in a mock program committee. This involves writing two reviews for others, and verbally presenting other's work -- defending, and presenting a case for why they should be selected as top paper. - 15%

Pedagogical Goals

There are three major goals for this project:

  1. Engage in research-related activities with real methods.
  2. Read, summarize, and write research literature.
  3. Practice and understand the nature of the academic review process.

Mini Proposal

A two to three paragraph (no more than five!!) statement about your plan for your project. Keep this statement within the domain of BodyData. In the mini-proposal, you want to address the following points:

  • What is the problem that you think your design is going to address?
  • How /might/ it go about addressing this problem? -- keeping in mind, specifically, that we are trying to either enhance self-understanding, and/or to share it!!
  • Who is the target population for this design?
  • How will you find about their needs? What methods will you apply?
  • What kind of data will need to be collected?

Remember the main piece of feedback: focus on the process and the how moreso than the technical aspects of what you want to build.


Proposal Details

Final paper

Final Paper Details