[Week8_Final] First thoughts + Research

Research Domains


While a conversation with my major studio1 Professor (Anezka), I came up with some research domains for my personal project for final. There are some topics that i’ve been interested in, such as Virtual Reality, Biomimicry, Speculative Design, Information Design including Interaction Design for ExhibitionInteractive Data Visualization for the future IOT environment and Cognitive Therapy. I’m taking all of the subjects into account for my final project and researching them.

My Thoughts

As a designer, I’ve always contemplated this question: “what makes people happy?” “what is the better state of existence?” “what makes a life worth living in our finite life?” These questions make me pursue my studies in design for human experience. I believed “creativity” is a key to make people happy by allowing them to create something and encounter the “flow” state which is a moment of ecstasy with high concentration. I was inspired by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “Flow” theory and his inquiry that how to to put everyday life to flow channel. So, the next question has been “how can I make people creative or let them realize their hidden creativity?” So, I’ll adapt some keywords which seem to make people happy such as “Health, Love, Creativity, Learn, Socialize, Religion” to my further design projects as soon as possible.

I’ve been also inspired by Donald Norman’s philosophy a lot and found an inspiring article written by Calvo and Peters. -> Positive computing: technology for wellbeing and human potential (Calvo & Peters)

Also, I want to expand my design idea not just for normal people but people who belong to minority in our society! I was particularly inspired by a virtual reality project for disabled children below that my professor let me know. -> Disabled boy learns to play piano with his eyes using virtual-reality headset


There are some reasons I want to pursue my studies in Design for Experience, Data Visualization and Wearable Technology.

1. Design for Experience

“Everyone designs who devises a course of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” This quote by Herbert Simon is well-suited to my vision of the ‘design for experience.’ As a young and enterprising designer, I would like to research user experience and interaction design to create positive experiences for living. That’s why I’m eager to pursue further study in the field of design for experience based on data visualization for wearable tech and IOT environment.

In my view, the designer is a person who finds solutions for a better quality of life. In this sense, I have always wanted to be a designer who improves the present situation and creates ‘optimal experiences’ for people. In our current society, the designer’s role is extending, keeping pace with rapidly developing technology and a new media environment. We, designers, are not only concerned with the aesthetic form of products, but also their context.

2. Data Visualization which gives people objective information

I want to provide people objective data and let them realize the objective reality of their personal life and our current situation of the world. I think the objective perception of the reality can allow people to know what they really doing and totally involve in the present with holistic sensation and the understanding of the world can urge people to take right actions toward to critical issues in the world. I was inspired by Hans Rosling’s Gap Minder program which shows amazing data visualization, dealing with world issues.

3. IOT Environment based on Information Design for Well-being

Nowadays, wearable devices and smartphone apps are gathering people’s health data and other life pattern data from their daily lives. In this way, personalized data is increasing more and more in our current society through smartphones and other wearable devices. The IOT environment and wearable tech will change our lifestyle. I think big data can be more widely used through Data Visualization combined with interaction design and it enables a designer to make services and platforms more personalized by gathering each individual’s data and information. By analyzing data, UX design can be focused on each user by considering their specific needs. In a flood of data, visualization and curation of data can help users organize information. Thus, a business model I’ve imagined is to make an application as a desktop interface which shows our personalized data such as health data, work progress, sleeping patterns, social networks, etc. This would connect to the data of wearable devices and the smartphone. By doing so, people can see their life data in one glance and check their lifestyle and health condition on every device.

Specific Ideation


UI/UX + Data Visualization for Everyday Life.

Q. Do we need more information in daily life?  

IOT environment enable us to live better lives?

Data Vis can have positive effect on human life?


  • Finding situations that need user interface design in my daily life.-> Making a demo video

UX scenarios:

Bathrooms are the most cozy place to relax in busy daily life, when we spend our time in bathrooms in our home, we usually relieve tension and relax. But, I think there are a lot of users’ needs that are unsolved yet and the space can be more smart.

  1. Interactive Smart Mirror – 1) Give a right information: when i apply a cosmetic to my face, the smart mirror can inform me of the components of cosmetics. 2) Recommendation: the smart mirror can give me recommendations or suggestions for makeup based on daily skin conditions and feelings. 3) Announce the time – what time it is, predict the time you finish a shower based on the average time you take. you can also set up the time for important appointments.. 4) Play music, morning radio or podcast while using bathroom – people can touch an interface directly through the smart mirror. It can be adjusted by time and moods. ex) at night, relaxing music will be played. 5) Communication – SNS, messages, email… 6) Remind to-do list of each day  7) Check daily health condition and weight change.


Smart Mirror





VR Experience for Running (Treadmill) – motion graphic

“Better Experience for Running!”

Q. Natural environments can motivate people to run more? – The relationship between environment and exercise.

Motivation is the most tricky and important part of exercise. When people run on the treadmill, they sometimes would get easily tired and exhausted. But, if there are some friends and other people running on the street together, they can run for a long time. Also, when people are surrounded by natural environments, they can be more energetic while they are running. I want to make a virtual reality to help people boost their running experience. They will be able to feel like they are in nature and feel optimal experience with the virtual reality experience.


Biomimicry – 3D printing

Q. What if I make microbes bigger by using 3D modeling? – Bring unfamiliar objects and organisms to the real world!

Q. which the human-animal relationship occupies a grey zone in between the everyday and the exceptional, the ordinary and the extraordinary?

Microbes, bacteria, cells are all unfamiliar organisms because they cannot be seen by our vision. We are always living with them, but cannot notice their existences. If i make them bigger, it will look like monsters – that are likely not to exist in this world. (The monster also throws up a challenge to the very concept of “nature” and of our relation to and distance from that which we call “natural”.)

I was inspired by an article – thACKEr, Eugene (2006). “Cryptobiologies”. In: “Organicities” [online node]. Artnodes. Iss. 6. UOC.  <http://www.uoc.edu/artnodes/6/dt/eng/thacker.pdf>

“In this everydayness of the animal, in this quotidian relation we have with animals, we as human beings practise this dual form of orality— communicating and consuming, speaking and eating, word and flesh.

but what of animals that are not everyday? what of human-animal relationships that are far from ordinary, but are rather extraordinary? Of course, exotic animals can also be pets, in which case the exotic becomes everyday. so perhaps a better question to ask is, are there instances in which the human-animal relationship occupies a grey zone in between the everyday and the exceptional, the ordinary and the extraordinary?”

Also, I’m curious about the shapes and structures of very tiny organisms like cells, bacteria, microbes….! I think the structures and patterns can be adapted to biomimicry design.

Biomimicry of microbes

What if I make biomimicry design by utilizing the shapes of “microbe?”

Example) Simulation – Mitosis Biomimicry



Biomimicry + 3D Printing


Biomimicry + Fashion


Computation Design




Ideas for Speculative Design

For Speculative Design based on critical thinking, I want to research on three problems derived from the advance of technology.

1. Side effects of development

Although there are many positive effects that technology contributes the humanity, it has also degraded humanities in some ways. Environmental disaster caused by side effects of the technology development would be one of the worst problems that the technologies have.

2. Technologies that degrade Our Humanity

Some scholars say that technology degrades our humanity. Take Social Networks, for example. Social media has changed the way people interact. The spread of SNS, people can contact with each other and see other people’s daily lives in every second. However, it has caused lack of real communication and hinders our natural interaction. As people spend increasing amounts of time on social networks, they experience less face-to-face interaction. While on the surface it appears social networking brings people together across the Internet, in a larger sense it may create social isolation. Also, although Facebook’s like button strengthens a sympathetic culture, many people doesn’t concern with others because the virtual reality is replacing their family and friend’s roles in real life.

3. Inequality of the world

There is no doubt that technology is unfairly distributed over the world. While rich countries can utilize technologies, poor countries in the third world have been neglected. According to many articles, Critics of globalization often cite increasing income inequality in their opposition, but a new study suggests that technological advances, not globalization, is responsible for an increase in the gap.


Author: Jiyeon Kang (Jenny)

MFA Student of Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design dreamealist@gmail.com

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