Week 2: Process and Context


Part 1: Design Process Overview 

In order to effectively comprehend the meaning of ‘context’, it is useful for one to have an understanding of the design process. Verplank outlines that this process contains eight phases, ranging from the initial invent stages to the representation phase which can later on be manipulated.

verplank week2.pngWaterson, S. (2016, February). GDIDMPOD02 [Video Podcast Recording]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/159662636

There is a vast array of tools and techniques in which interactive designers can utilise to assist them in ‘generating and identifying potential solutions’. This includes, applying skills and selecting tools based on the problems that that to be solved and the solution that needs to be communicated.

Designers typically rule out their initial ideas and designs with the use of low tech methods, such as using a pencil and paper, sticky notes or a white board in order to define and frame the problem. In order to identify potential direction, missing information and the most appropriate solutions, it can be useful to incorporate the use of flowcharts, diagrams and models throughout the developmental stages.

When gathering information to help us generate ideas and make decisions, we can utilise the following useful techniques: precedent research (studying recent products), observe people,  ask questions based on those observations and test prototypes.

Part 2: Context

This lecture pod also introduced the concept of ‘context’. This includes, the context of use and the context for use.

part-2 context.png

Waterson, S. (2016, February). GDIDMPOD02 [Video Podcast Recording]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/159662636

For example:

  • One might log into their bank account on their laptop to check their balance and confirm transactions from home
  • One might log into their bank account through an app on their phone, at the supermarket to check if they have sufficient funds

We can use context scenarios like the above to identify the specific needs for people, in order to create interaction designs that will facilitate their behaviour.

i.e. a context scenario is a story about the use.

There are many questions to be asked to help us create context scenarios. Such as:

  • What is the situation?
  • What’s the setting or environment in which the interface or the device will be used?
  • Is it public or private?
  • Is it conducive?
  • Who will be using the device or interface?
  • Will it be used by one person, or multiple people?
  • How long will the interface be used?
  • Will the person be able to focus on their task, or will they be interrupted by using it?
  • Does the experience need to be extremely simple?
  • How much complexity can be accepted?


I believe that in order to create a successful interactive design, one must consider the design process in conjunction with context. The interactive designer must apply low tech tools to efficiently create a basis which would effectively allow them to identify areas for improvement during the developmental stages of the design. An interactive designer must consider context scenarios in relation to their product in order to ensure all potential areas of the consumer’s needs are met. It is only through this process that a designer can fully understand its audience and adapt or manipulate its product in relation to how their market reacts. The design process is a useful mechanism for designers not only to identify insightful solutions, but to engage with their audience and appropriate their product to best gratify their desires.


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