SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Design-in-Living

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-04
Abstract: 

This doctoral work aims at articulating and deepening our understanding of how people design and make a space they live in with the goal of informing the design of interactive artifacts. While previous research described the appropriation and transformation of design artifacts through their everyday uses, those descriptions have focused mostly on discrete artifacts or systems. In this doctoral work, my goal is to go beyond unique instances by looking at the relations between design artifacts, ensembles of artifacts, and the spaces they are in. This dissertation puts forward the concept of design-in-living as a way to rethink the design of interactive artifacts and spaces. Design-in-living describes how everyday designers engage in multiple ways of designing by combining unconscious design acts, ad hoc design, and planned design activities in order to construct their built environment. Design-in-living occurs while living in a particular space over time and design acts are motivated by fit between artifacts, ensembles, and the space. As a result, the space is constantly and incrementally built, leading to an invariably unfinished space. The articulation of design-in-living emerged from the findings of four studies. Each study was previously published and the full text of those four studies is presented in this cumulative format dissertation. The four studies include 1) a critical literature review of human-computer interaction (HCI) research on the home, 2) an ethnography inspired study of the practices of design and making of three groups of non-expert designers, 3) the articulation of the conceptual construct of unselfconscious interaction, and 4) an autobiographical design project of converting a cargo van into a campervan. In addition to the conceptualization of design-in-living, this dissertation I pose a critical reflection on how to design for people who live with the Internet of Things, at home and beyond. Moreover, I offer a methodological reflection on the use of autobiographical design as a method of inquiry. Finally, this dissertation is addressed to interaction designers and HCI and design researchers who are interested in designing interactive artifacts that can become part of the making and designing practices in lived-in spaces.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Breaking Tradition: Recreating Tutorials with Unconventional Techniques

Date created: 
2016-07-11
Abstract: 

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tutorials have become part of our every day landscape. From IKEA style furniture directions to clothing tags detailing how to wash them, people are surrounded by directions listing the steps required to accomplish a task by themselves. The Maker movement, utilizing this form of instruction, has popularized and standardized the format. HCI research and tutorial makers explore methods of streamlining the creation of DIY tutorials, but very little research has been done to explore alternatives. By applying Research through Design (RtD) techniques, this work seeks to explore twelve alternative approaches to traditional tutorial presentation methods. Both amateur and expert participants were then asked nineteen different open-ended questions pertaining to the designed tutorials. Their responses were coded and sorted utilizing grounded theory, and serve to support the RtD methodologies already applied. The findings of this study reveal a need for identifying a tutorials audience, in addition to better supporting tutorial authors.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Tangible interactions with intangible heritage: The development and design of ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — belongings

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-16
Abstract: 

Contemporary museums increasingly incorporate technology into exhibits, allowing visitors to engage with information in different ways and in greater depth. One such technology utilized is the digital tabletop. This thesis describes ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — Belongings, an interactive tangible tabletop at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The tabletop was designed to communicate the continuity of Musqueam culture, convey the complexity of belongings excavated from an ancient Musqueam village site, and reconnect those belongings to traditional practices and oral histories through tangible interactions with the table. In this thesis, I offer a case study of the collaborative design process shared among the researchers, curators, and the exhibit Advisory Committee, and I highlight key design decisions that resulted from this collaboration, showcasing how cultural values can be shared through tangible interactions. I use this case study to contextualize three collaborative publications on ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — Belongings, the research outcomes of this project.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kate Hennessy
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Leveraging MSLQ dataset for predicting students’ achievement goal orientations

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-12
Abstract: 

Motivation, cognition, and achievement goals are three broad domains of learners’ characteristics that affect how learners study and what they learn by studying. Two of the most commonly used instruments for measuring learners’ characteristics are the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, and the Achievement Goals Orientation. A substantial body of research over the last three decades has studied relationships between the motivational and the achievement goal constructs used in both the instruments. No previous study, however, attempted to use the existing knowledge of construct associations to derive learners’ achievement goals from their measures of learning motivation or vice versa. This research aimed to leverage the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire dataset for predicting learners’ achievement goals orientations and was guided by the following research question: whether the MSLQ measures of motivated strategies for learning reveal achievement goal orientations of college students. Data for this study was collected from 347 undergraduate students. Both a confirmatory data analysis approach and an exploratory data analysis approach were employed to examine the collected data. For confirmatory analysis, I built a new theoretical model of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire items based on the previous empirical research findings, and employed Pearson correlation analysis, regression analysis and Akaike Information Criterion to identify the best-fit models. For exploratory investigations, I used canonical correlation analysis to identify relationships between Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire measures and Achievement Goals Orientation constructs. The confirmatory analysis identified a 15-item model of motivated strategies which predicted four achievement orientations, whereas the exploratory analysis resulted in a 15-item model that predicted three achievement goal orientations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marek Hatala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Visual histories of decision processes for collaborative decision making

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-05-24
Abstract: 

Remembering, understanding and reconstructing past activities is a necessary part of any learning, sense-making or decision making process. It is also essential for any collaborative activity. This dissertation investigates the design and evaluation of systems to support decision remembering, understanding and reconstruction by groups and individuals. By conducting three qualitative case studies of small professional groups, we identify the critical activities where history functionality is needed most and specify problems in collaboration and technology use. We construct a framework of key issues, concepts and observations that can serve as a basis for the design of systems to support histories for decision making and decision reconstruction. A tool for visual history in collaborative decision making may benefit from having the following features: a minimal commitment way to create records of history; support for sharing of tacit knowledge; providing the context of information; reducing clutter and user need to switch attention among the tools and environments; providing access to multiple sources of record within a single environment; providing users with cues and reminders; allowing users to create their own structures within the system; and supporting user agreements and storytelling. We suggest and defend specific design responses to the above mentioned framework. We reified several of these design ideas in an interactive prototype (the VH Prototype). A qualitative user study of the VH Prototype validates, refines and prioritizes the suggested design framework and shows possible real-world scenarios for how each of the design principles can support decision recording, remembering, understanding and reconstruction.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert Woodbury
Lyn Bartram
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Development, implementation, and evaluation of an interaction design thinking course in the context of secondary education

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-06-26
Abstract: 

Design thinking aims to foster innovation by elevating participants’ creative thinking abilities. It usually involves a problem-solving approach to solve complex problems, which can be best achieved through collaborative and human-centered activities. In post-secondary education, design-thinking techniques and practices have been implemented into different curricula as particular skills that need to be learned in the 21st century. However, little work has been conducted to investigate design thinking in secondary education. This thesis reports on a successful development, implementation, and evaluation of an interaction design-thinking curriculum in the context of secondary education. Over the course of three months, 39 students from two schools in grades 9 and 10 participated in the course. Several types of data sources, including in-depth interviews, participant observation, focus group, open-ended questions, questionnaires, and visual method were employed to gather data, and the data was coded for distinguishing core concepts and categories. The results of the study clarify the course benefit for students and inform interaction design educators and researchers about how to best develop, implement, and evaluate a secondary-level course on interaction design thinking. This study presents several important research contributions. First, it demonstrates how students’ design thinking skills can be incorporated into their everyday life experiences and practices. Second, the findings of the study shed light on design thinking evaluation, and how design educators and interaction design practitioners can evaluate participants’ design thinking skills and abilities through different data collection methods in depth. Third, this study provides an analytical lens in examining and adapting a design thinking curriculum in the context of secondary education. Furthermore, this study provides four substantial recommendations to design educators for implementation of a design thinking-based curriculum.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Not all feedback modalities are created equal: designing mindful artifacts to decrease stress and increase focus

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-02-23
Abstract: 

Mindful breathing exercises have been proven to reduce stress and increase focus. While technologies are increasingly being used to support mindfulness practices, there has been little research that has evaluated how different modalities can affect everyday awareness. I utilized a research through design methodology to develop three different artifacts that use different feedback modalities to alert participants when their breathing pattern shifts from optimal diaphragm breathing to chest breathing. Using a mixed-methods study, I analyzed how different feedback modalities influence diaphragm breathing, and the corresponding impact on stress reduction, focus and productivity for students in everyday work activities. My findings show that when participants were able to achieve optimal diaphragm breathing patterns their stress decreased and their focus increased, especially if they participated in a regular body-based practice. I utilized my results to evaluate the five design guidelines that were applied in the development of the three different artifacts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Models and Methods for Reflecting and Improving Analytical Tools and Practice Using Flow, FlowSpaces, m3 [em-cubed], CDG+ and TextWorlds+ for mindful multi-level analysis of text

Date created: 
2016-04-11
Abstract: 

This Dissertation offers a transdisciplinary integration of several strands of research from human cognition and language understanding across to analytical practice and analytical tool design. This work aims to enable reflective practice for the individual analyst by developing theoretical models, applied methods, and prototype systems that are focused on overcoming core challenges related to deficits in the cognitive and functional capacities of human analysts and their analytical tools. Five integrally related research projects are first grounded by an elaboration of the problem space and a thorough inventory of the concepts, theories, and methods drawn from disciplines that study human cognition and enact analytical practice. The reseach focus proceeds from a broad view on analysis, through to the often overlooked analytical task of shallow evaluative judgment in the preparatory phase of analysis, and finally to the deeper and under-supported task of analytical reading in the execution phase of analysis. The collective goal of these projects is to understand, capture, and enable the processes of general analysis, shallow evaluation and deep comprehension, by creating models, methods, and systems to interactively capture and reflect these cognitive and functional processes. At the broadest level, both the Flow Model and the FlowSpaces System aim to enable process-focussed reflection on focal activities by theorizing a general analysis process, and by capturing and analyzing workflow focus data. The m^3 prototype system and method captures shallow analytical judgments in the preparatory phase of the analysis process as bundles, tags, and highlights. The capture of these metadata objects aims to enable file-focused reflection, on a record of procedural states of files as they are processed through workflows and more generally upon the preparatory process of feature identification and boundary judgment. Finally, to better understand the execution of deeper textual analysis, my extended Cognitive Discourse Grammar offers models of discourse context, discourse content, and the dynamics of discourse processing, as well as several novel methods and interfaces for meta-contextual classification of text. These models are the basis for the applied method and proposed system of TextWorlds+ discourse analysis, which captures interactive TextWorld models as external representations of the internal mental models of conceptual structure formed while reading. Interaction with these models aims to enable meta-cognitive reflection upon the internal cognitive processes of language comprehension.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The personal equation of interaction for interface learning: Predicting the performance of visual analysis through the assessment of individual differences

Date created: 
2015-10-20
Abstract: 

The Personal Equation of Interaction (PEI) for Interface Learning is a short self-report psychometric measure which predicts reasoning outcomes of interface learning such as accurate target identification and insights garnered through and inferred from learning interaction. By predicting outcomes, we consider why some interfaces are more appropriate than others, provide a tool for intuitive interface design, and advance the pursuit and design of interface individuation. Through study designs which use comparative interfaces and simple but imperative tasks to any interface learning, such as target identification and inferential learning, we evaluate the accuracy of analysts and how it is impacted by graphical representation. By using psychometric items culled from normed trait assessment, we have created a measure which predicts accuracy and learning, called the Personal Equation of Interaction. This prediction tool can be used in a variety of ways, including as a function or equation that puts a number on the association between analyst and interface. We also use the PEI to build profiles of analyst expert cohorts and discuss how its use might impact Visual Analytics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Brian Fisher
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Exploring thermal sensation in the design of parent-child distant interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-02
Abstract: 

Current video chat systems such as Skype afford high quality of auditory and visual information by allowing users to communicate anytime and anywhere. However, affectionate touch which plays an important role in child social-emotional development is filtered out of the process during video conversation. In order to address this issue, this thesis explores the quality of thermal stimulation as a metaphor for physical intimacy in remote interaction between parents and child through a prototyping approach to fully understand potential benefits and experiences of thermal messages in interpersonal communication. The findings from a qualitatively focused methodological approach describe how the users appropriate the thermal wearable communication system and experience heat cues. My analysis reveals values of thermal information in interpersonal communication and suggests how future thermal applications could be designed to augment distant communication patterns in parent-child relationship.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.