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designLab
designLab

Enhancing our interaction with computers, the world, and each other!

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Thile 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.

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