Portia

Reflective piece on Speculative Design Project

Speculative everything

In my opinion, while resolving design problems, designers should always aim to look at the bigger picture and ask additional questions. I think speculative design is one of the design methods that every designer should learn how to perform, especially when trying to tackle big societal issues using design practices and systems.

 

Anthony Dunne’s statement above explains speculative design in the neatest way possible, saying how this methodology should be practiced as there were neither technology or culture limitations, while imagining all the possible outcomes. But still, speculative design is treated as a black sheep, with an excuse that it mirrors disruption and builds concepts around things that don’t exist.

 

On the other side, I look at it in a different way. This project helped me to see the speculative design as a tool which will tickle my brain, help me to think outside the box, and possibly help me to find the hidden, bigger problem waiting to be solved. Also, when we think of a software and its journey from day 1 until the last day, when the product is delivered, it often takes more than 2 years until it is launched. And in 2 years, technology can advance a lot, become more sophisticated, smarter, and more user focused. We should keep those things in mind and think of the benefits and traps that the future can bring.

 

During this project, I learned how everyone’s vision of the future is different. Depending on the experience each one of us in the group had, we had different visions on what is possible and what is plausible, but we managed to find the common language and agree on crucial things, such as the overall solution of the project. It was difficult to deliver all the work when all of us had Christmas holidays and other commitments, but we managed to come up with a high quality video and a website explaining our product. All of this was possible because of Peter’s existing knowledge in Google Web Designer (video), and Eoin’s in building websites.

 

Portia Diving Mask

 

When it comes to the things we could have done better, one example would be to give better instructions on how our hardware works, and possibly even coming up with a prototype we can physically test. This could potentially be a diving mask with a UI we show in a video, which we could test and see how it would feel to actually use a Heads Up Display (HUD) such as this one. Even though we looked into Google Glass design principles, that wasn’t enough, as there are more things to consider when designing for HUD such as the amount of the displayed content and how it would work underwater. We could have even shown the full working process of the UI, and how it works when synchronised with a diving computer (i.e. a watch) and an air tank.

Nevertheless, I think we did great work and our ability to work remotely and under pressure turned out to be a great advantage, because in the end we came up with a great product, and if we get any queries about it on our website, we can take the subsequent steps to build it.

 

References

Dunne, A., & Raby, F. (2014). Speculative everything: design, fiction, and social dreaming. S.l.: MIT.

Tran, T. H. (2019, April 8). Speculative design: 3 examples of design fiction. Retrieved January 17, 2020, from https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/speculative-design/

Principles  |  Glass Explorer Edition  |  Google Developers. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2019, from https://developers.google.com/glass/design/principles

 

Links

Website

Video

Google Drive (materials)

Final Presentation Link

Interim Presentation Link

Figma worksheet

Early stage Freehand link

 

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