Teaching acting techniques to designers: observe, embody, create
interaction design, acting, design methods
To design quality digital products, designers need to understand the user and their experiences on a deep level (Ritter et al. 2014). To do so, design practitioners have developed research methods that mainly focus on an “intellectual” approach to gain insight through quantitative research and analysis. While useful, these approaches often undervalue the role of the body in the process of understanding the user. In response to this, a more embodied approach to user research has emerged. Methods such as roleplaying and bodystorming are increasingly used to gain new kinds of insight during the design process (Burns et al. 1994, Schleicher et al. 2010, Wakkary et al. 2007). However, designers often encounter limitations with these methods (Think Design 2021). Some have trouble engaging in role-playing exercises due to a lack of acting training. Others struggle to apply insights to their work. Our team developed a workshop for design students exploring how acting techniques can be used as design methods to address these challenges. It was conducted in interaction design classes (Winter 2019 and Fall 2020) in 2 universities. Our goal at the Interaction Design Education Summit 2021 was to present this workshop to design instructors and practitioners so they can share it with their students or design teams. In this article, we describe an overview of the workshop and discuss potential benefits, challenges, and limitations of this approach to design.
Sperano, I., Rivenbark, L., Roberge, J., & Caja Rubio, D. (2021). Teaching acting techniques to designers: Observe, embody, create. Interaction Design Education Summit, Montreal, Quebec. Medium. https://medium.com/ixda/teaching-acting-techniques-to-designers-observe-embody-create-94c1d289d6c3
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