Sketching with time: student projects

Saturday, October 10th, 2009 | Design process, General, Navimation examples

Some time ago the interaction design students at AHO did a short project in which they experimented with stop motion for prototyping a photo album interface. Before giving the task to the students I tested the technique myself using the free Mac software FrameByFrame (see earlier blogpost). This is the first time we have instructed students to use stop motion, so the project was partly an experiment in itself. In addition we wanted to find out more about the potentials and challenges of using stop motion for prototyping navimation.

Let’s look at some of the videos.

Synne Frydenberg

This idea shows quite directly how the properties of paper can be used in motion sketching, in this case by folding the paper.

Natasha Ruivo:

Natasha makes use of what I call virtual kinetics, by giving the sensation of gravity and mass as the images fall down.

(UPDATE: this video stopped working, and has therefore been removed)

This video shows nicely how stop motion can be used to show how a specific task or action in the interface can be accomplished. This would be much harder to sketch and present without such a video.

Fanny Monier

Fanny shows how stop motion can be used to create a sensation of transformation and three-dimensional space by simply substituting one drawing with another. This technique seems highly effective.

Another way to create the sensation of a three-dimensional space is of course to physically set it up in three dimensions. This efficiently takes us away from the page metaphor and allow us to rather conceptualise the interface as a stage or a theatre.

Svein Inge Bjørkhaug

(UPDATE: this video stopped working, and has therefore been removed)

The idea behind this video is to make a way of sorting images as they are imported from a digital camera to a computer. I think the motion sketch communicates quite well how this idea could be realised, by showing how the user actions are linked to what happens on the screen.

Ivan Milanovic

Ivan was the only student working with a real device, the iPhone. It must have been quite hard to work with such small elements and the small screen space. The first part of the video is a bit too rough, but the last part of the video shows nicely how a tilting gesture can be used to move between images.

Theo Tveterås

A simple but nice idea: touch the surface, and images appear underneath each finger.

As Theo argued, the principle that is sketched out here could be used in a screen interface by using other ways of controlling the navigation. I also think it could be a fun way of navigating a device with screens on both sides!

A playful way of engaging with photos: a memory game!

What did we learn?

Stop motion prototyping obviously has its advantages and disadvantages. These are the main advantages:

  • quite easy and quick to prototype visual elements that move, especially in three dimensions.
  • easy to show how user action and screen presentation may be related over time
  • the rough style of stop motion is suited for rough sketching
  • physical space and physical elements (such as paper) may inspire and induce new ideas. Great potential for experimentation.
  • effective for communicating and presenting ideas

The challenges:

  • requires some equipment and software tools (camera, tripod, light, PC, software)
  • it may take some time to prepare the visual elements (i.g. paper pieces)
  • there are limits for what you can easily do in front of a camera. Some things are more easy to do on a computer
  • it is hard and time consuming to produce subtle and sophisticated movement by using stop motion

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1 Comment to Sketching with time: student projects

[…] find out more about the potentials and challenges of using stop motion for prototyping navimation. Sketching with time: student projects | Navimation Research This entry was written by Timo and posted on 11 October 2009 at 13:37 and filed under quote. […]

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I am a Norwegian interaction designer and design researcher, currently working in Oslo. This blog reports on topics related to my design research on interface design, navimation, and data visualization. About me.

Navimation is a concept denoting the combination of navigation and visual motion in screen-based interfaces. About navimation.

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