The Digital Interaction Design Degree Show is an opportunity for the public to see the result of a year’s work by the recent graduates. At the beginning of their 4th year, students are asked to create their own brief and come up with a design solution for it. This results in a wide variety of projects that showcase each graduate’s skills and interests. This year’s work includes themes such as keeping in touch with family members, journalism, educational apps and connecting people to their local music scene.
Facilitating communication via the Internet for an elderly family member was the theme of Rachael Johnston’s piece, “Flux”. By replacing the touch screen interface with buttons on a tablet device, “Flux” makes it easier for elderly people to use Google Hangouts in order to communicate with their family. The tablet is hidden within a photo frame and, when not in use, displays a family photo which subtly turns from colour to black and white as time passes between video calls, thus prompting the user to make calls on a regular basis
Journalism is the theme for Alistair Norris’ “NewsGather”, which is a tool to help independent journalists and data gatherers put together pieces of citizen journalism in order to more accurately depict current world events. It is designed to make wading through the noise of social media easier for the user through a series of filters, such as the social media outlet, location and the time frame. This allows the user to keep track of the story as it develops, which helps the journalist tell the story as accurately as possible
Meanwhile, using technology for educational purposes is the theme for both Amber Keating and Scott Robinson. Keating’s “Collect” is aimed at making the museum visit at the Kevingrove Museum in Glasgow more engaging for parents and children by leading the family on a treasure hunt throughout the museum. This playful manner of exploring makes the whole experience more memorable and increases the likelihood of information being retained. Robinson’s project addresses the contemporary need to teach children from a young age about the digital world they were born into. One method of doing that is by teaching them how to code. Robinson has created a game which helps children who have yet to learn how to read grasp the basic concepts of programming by directing a mouse through a maze using a physical interface.
Callum Potter’s project, “Undergrowth”, is an iPad app which helps the user navigate the local music scene in Dundee and discover the relationships between individual musicians and bands. The interface of the project is inspired by nature and how plants grow leaves using the Fibonacci sequence. This inspiration results in an organic visualisation of the growth of a music scene when the user navigates the timeline.
Kyle Macquarrie and Paulius Ptasinskas presented two pieces that were more experimental than the others shown in the exhibition. Macquarrie’s aimed to turn people’s perception of using a mobile phone in public into a social, rather than a private, experience. His users have to engage with content on the screen which they can control through their mobile phone. Ptasinskas, meanwhile, created an interactive art piece which explores the relationship between mobile phone users and the way they receive notifications. His work plays with the idea that people get a dopamine rush every time they receive a notification on their phones or find a hidden feature within an app.
Although the projects were all different, each of them has been built around people, design and technology. Especially for third year students it is inspiring to see the graduates work on display. The participants all showcased their strengths as designers and created solutions tailored specifically to their target users. This review has covered only a handful of the projects on display, but will hopefully pique the reader’s curiosity to attend and see all the work first hand.