As We Emerge from the Pandemic – What has Architecture Learned about Integrating User Needs?
Almost exactly two years ago I spoke to BostonCHI about how Architects are integrating user research into their design projects, and the methods and tools we use to gather both qualitative and quantitative data to inform the design of buildings and cities. In the time since that talk, our practice has evolved – both in the tactical tools we utilize in a world where in-person interaction was severely limited, and in how our designs have responded to changing user expectations.
I am looking forward to reconnecting with the BostonCHI community to present on what aspects of spatial design we are rethinking, what has emerged as guiding principles, and how the demand for user research has increased – both to help our clients make informed decisions in an ever-changing world, but also for us to get a pulse of shifting needs from a variety of stakeholders across our projects.
Beyond the high-level trends, I will present a few case stories:
Research studying the impact of the Hub on Causeway development on Boston’s Bullfinch Triangle
How workplace design and return to work strategies have become entwined
How user-engagement has adapted to digital within Architectural Practice
As a Strategy Lead and an Architect, Erin is obsessed with how people use, interact with, and impact space. I’m also fascinated by how humans connect with each other, how we communicate and behave, and how we come together.
With Gensler’s Boston’s team, Erin works to develop human-centric strategies for complex space and cultural challenges, working with public and private sector workplace clients, building owners and developers, post-secondary education groups, healthcare institutions, community organizations and many others.
As computing proliferates into everyday life, systems that understand people’s context of use are of paramount importance. Regardless of whether the platform is a mobile device, a wearable, or embedded in the environment, context offers an implicit dimension that will become highly important if we are to power more human-centric experiences. In this talk, I discuss the construction and evaluation of sensing technologies that can be practically deployed and yet still greatly enhance contextual awareness, primarily drawing upon sensing and machine learning techniques to unlock a wide range of applications. I’ll also discuss some of my team’s recent work at Apple, and I conclude with a vision of how rich contextual awareness can enable more powerful experiences across broader domains.
Dr. Gierad Laput is a Senior Research and Engineering Manager at Apple, where he leads the Sensing Technologies Group under Machine Learning and AI. His group explores, builds, and ships technologies that aim to make a profound impact on millions of people through research and development in sensing and AI. These include applications in health technologies, context-driven systems, and natural + assistive interactions. Dr. Laput completed his Ph.D. and M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also an Affiliate Faculty at CMU’s School of Computer Science.
For several decades, tangible and embodied interaction (TEI), human-computer interaction that engages our bodies and physical environment, has been the topic of intense technological, scientific, artistic, humanistic, and mass-market research and practice. Our upcoming book (Spring 2022, ACM Books) Weaving Fire into Form: Aspirations for Tangible and Embodied Interaction, which I co-authored with Brygg Ullmer, Caroline Hummles, and Ali Mazalek, with a forward by Hiroshi Ishii, aims to provide a resource for teaching and research in this emerging area. It investigates the foundations of the field and sets aspirations for future directions.
In this talk, I will share highlights from the book and will show examples of novel tangible and embodied interfaces developed in my lab that have been applied to address real-world challenges related to the future of work and learning. I will also discuss new research methods, which we developed to investigate the impact of such systems on individuals and groups.
Orit Shaer is a Professor of Computer Science and Media Arts and Sciences at Wellesley College. She directs the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab. Her research focuses on novel human-computer interaction for the future of work and learning. Dr Shaer is a Senior Member of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), and a recipient of multiple NSF and industry awards including the NSF CAREER Award. She is a steering committee member of the ACM conference on Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction.