Executive Summary

This project seeks to design and publish a deck of cards to be used as a pedagogic aid in the study of contemporary interface design. Specifically, we wish to develop a deck of cards that will help engage students to creatively and critically reflect upon contemporary interface design practices. This focus, on the design of interfaces, directly aligns with our MA-level module User Interface Cultures (UIC). Card decks are used across many design contexts as a way to generate creative thinking and problem solving. They are thought to aid in lateral thinking and are increasingly used to aid product innovation in commercial settings. (As a famous example, see Brian Eno’s deck of Oblique Strategies .) Our deck will seek to utilise the creative dimensions of card decks as a design method, but equally it will encourage students to reflect upon and interrogate an array of these contemporary design techniques. In other words, we wish to take this method for creative thinking and re-appropriate it as a pedagogical method. The students will learn about design practice through participating in a design method, but they will equally develop the tools for thinking critically and reflexively about these practices. The project will centre on a one-day workshop, where we will bring together current and previous students of our module User Interface Cultures, along with leading academics in the study of user interface cultures, and two designers (who will design the actual deck). In advance of the workshop, participants will be given an outline of the rules our deck to follow as well as the possible themes to be included. The workshop itself will be used to develop the specific individual cards (i.e. the content of each card), as well as the final design of the deck (as a material artefact). The workshop will include sessions on developing card content, giving feedback on suggested content, and trialling the use of the deck in small groups. After the workshop, Dieter and Tkacz will finalise the content and proposed design of the deck. At this point, a small group of designers will bring the deck to a production standard where it is ready to be published. Once completed, we aim to print around 300 card decks and disseminate these widely to relevant academic programmes across the UK and internationally. To ensure maximum dissemination, the deck will also be made available as an online download.

Who is involved?

The project will involve past and present students of the module User Interface Cultures (4 past, 6 present). We will also invite 6 external academics who teach on closely related courses in the UK and Europe. Two designers from the agency Openwork will attend, as well as (3) teachers on the User Interface Cultures module at Warwick. (Note: interested IATL staff would also be very 3 welcome to participate in the workshop.) Importantly, the invited academics will not give research presentations. The entire focus of the workshop will be on developing the deck.

Outcomes and Impact

The outcomes of the project will be the creation of the deck of cards (paper and digital). The deck will be incorporated into the teaching of our module (UIC) and form the basis of at least one design workshop and one assessment task. It will thus directly impact how the module is taught and how our students learn. As a method that is designed to be used in different contexts and settings, the deck has the potential for wider impact across art, design, media and humancomputer interaction learning environments, and perhaps in design-oriented commercial settings.