most of research is concerned with pushing technical boundaries,
the User Experience group is primarily focused on how new technologies
will lead to new opportunities for use, and what effect this will
have on our lives. The designLab was created to help give structure
to the design process within the IBM Almaden Research Laboratory.
In the design process, we begin with an understanding of the needs
of the users.
We start by researching the activities and interactions we are
trying to enhance. Ideation takes place through "brainstorming"
and "mindmapping" and helps to generate many new possibilities.
These ideas are then cast into plausible scenarios, and storyboards
are created. The storyboards not only allow us to make sure that
the new applications fit into the "real world" but serve as a guide
as we continue to develop the ideas - a guide which constantly reminds
us of the desired outcome of our work.
We continue by creating mockups, simulations, and prototypes which
allow us to test out our ideas with people. By turning ideas into
real objects, we can understand more of the real issues surrounding
the concepts. As we learn from our prototypes, we feed that information
back into the definiton of our basic problem, and generate further
ideas. This is an iterative process, constantly folding back upon
itself. Throughout the process, we are constantly spinning out new
artifacts, constantly discovering new applications, and constantly
re-analyzing the basic issues.
The ultimate goal of the designLab is to aid in identifying and
creating future products and services which will enhance our interactions
with computers, the world, and each other. Some of our current projects
include peripheral displays, wearable computing, and digital jewelry.
Contact Cameron Miner
for more information.