Reinforcing goals in a design research community
North Carolina State University
This investigation explores the topic of building community in a digital environment, asking the question: how can a digital tool reinforce project goals in a design research community?
The community in this scenario is an interdisciplinary design research community, such as an architecture or urban planning firm. While the team’s design process incorporates both physical and digital interfaces, most of their resources live in a digital environment – which is the focus of this investigation.
Readings in activity theory (Kaptelinin and Nardi), design anthropology (Tunstall), schema theory (Mandler), design futures (Dubberly) and spatial cognition (Lynch) prompted this question: Can we add structure to our ideas and digital assets in the same way that we add structure to a city?
By understanding the task flow of the team in this scenario I identified a design opportunity in how the team interfaces with their digital assets. I looked to other methods andtools that the team implemented, and discovered that the pin-up space and activity of storyboarding was crucial in generating consensus, evaluating progress, and establishing a unified vision for the project.
From here I developed a proof of concept for an asset management system, based on a pin-up / storyboarding schema. Assets are organized within user-authored “chapters” directly in the asset manager, allowing team members to script a project narrative and share that narrative with the team. This helps the team understand connections between disciplines, reinforces team goals, fosters a bottom-up workflow, ultimately building a community.
Instructor: Meredith Davis
“We are continuously engaged in the attempt to organize our surroundings, to structure and identify them. Various environments are more or less amenable to such treatment. When reshaping cities it should be possible to give them a form which facilitates these organizing efforts rather than frustrates them.”
Kevin Lynch, Image of the City