Non-Stereotypical Homes: Engaging Alternative Visions of the Internet of Things:

Our Team:

Non-Stereotypical Homes: Engaging Alternative Visions of the Internet of Things is a focused research group at the University of Washington with Audrey Desjardins, Nouela Johnston, Cayla Small, Heidi Biggs and me!

 

Problem:

The one-size-fits-all vision of the home is problematic because it ignores the nuances, complexities, and differences of a wide range of ways of dwellings in temporary housing like Airbnb, student housing, recreational vehicle, etc.) as a starting point to imagine, design, and materialize alternative visions of the Internet of Things.

Figure 1. Samsung smart fridge advertising, featuring an idealized view of the kitchen.

Figure 1. Samsung smart fridge advertising, featuring an idealized view of the kitchen.

Figure 2. concept development and synthesis

Figure 2. concept development and synthesis

 

Research Question

How can temporary and alternative living inspire more meaningful ways of designing interactive and connected products for the home? Smart and connected products and concepts for the home are often designed for and positioned in a nuclear single family home, a stereotypical view of family life and of what a home is.

Figure 3. Concept sketches: Imagining a new Internet of Things.

 

Bespoke Booklets for Co-speculation

We developed a method called Bespoke Booklets as a way to co-speculate with dwellers of non-stereotypical homes. The Bespoke Booklets are constituted of 10 to 12 situated, imaginary and bespoke conceptual sketches designed specifically for and with dwellers of non-stereotypical homes. Our intention was to create a method that would (1) situate speculation in real world situations as a generative approach to develop new concepts for IoT and provoke concrete reactions, and (2) encourage co-speculation: “the recruiting and participation of study participants who are well positioned to actively and knowingly speculate with us in our inquiry in ways that we cannot alone” (Wakkary, 2018)

 

Audrey Desjardins, Cayla Key and Nouela Johnston and I wrote about our research in Alternative Avenues for IoT: Designing for Non-Stereotypical Homes. This paper was accepted into CHI 2019 and was awarded a best paper Honorable Mention award . Below I have included the abstract:

ABSTRACT:

We report on the findings of a co-speculative research through- design study that investigates alternative visions of the Internet of Things for the home (IoT). We worked with 16 people living in non-stereotypical homes to develop situated and personal concepts attuned to their home. As a prompt for co-speculation and discussion, we created handmade booklets where we took turns overlaying sketched design concepts on top of photos taken with participants in their homes. Our findings reveal new avenues for the design of IoT systems such as: acknowledging the porous boundaries of the home, exposing neighborly relations, exploring diverse timescales, revisiting agency in the home, and embracing imaginary and potential uses. We invite human-computer interaction and design researchers to use these new avenues as starting points to broaden current assumptions embedded in design and research practices for domestic technologies. We conclude by highlighting the value of