A Simulation-Driven Approach to User Interface Specification based on a Multiscale Visual Workspace for Supporting Collaborative Creativity


This project investigates novel bmethods and btechniques along with bcomputational support that seek to baugment the bphysical, bcognitive, and bsocial aspects of bcreative interaction design activities.

  • WG Reiterer (Human-Computer Interaction)
  Geyer, Florian (2013): Interactive Spaces for Supporting Embodied Collaborative Design Practices

Interactive Spaces for Supporting Embodied Collaborative Design Practices


Digital technology is increasingly influencing how design is practiced. However, it is not always successful in supporting all design activities. In contrast, especially informal collaborative design methods that are typically practiced early in the design process are still poorly supported by digital tools. Traditional workflows are often altered in negative ways due to a lack of fluency and immediacy or through incompatibility with social dynamics and embodied actions. Many design practices are thus still better supported by relying on traditional physical tools that better facilitate design as embodied, situated practice. At the same time however, digital technology is inevitable in today’s work ecology. As a result of this tension, designers frequently have to move between digital and physical tools.

This thesis takes this critical gap as a central motive for investigating how digital tools can be designed to both preserve and augment existing material and social practices of collaborative design activities. By approaching potential solutions to this gap, the state of digital design and creativity support tools is advanced to better suit embodied design practices. Within this thesis, this research question is approached through the design and evaluation of new digital tools within four themes of design practice: 1) externalization, 2) reflection, 3) collaboration and 4) process. Further, as a framework to this research, a structured design methodology is developed that specifically addresses the goal of integrating digital technology with embodied design practices. This tradeoff-driven methodology is then applied to different concrete cases to demonstrate its applicability in context.

Within three case studies, new concepts for supporting collaborative embodied design practices are presented. Within the first study, the interactive space AffinityTable is discussed which was designed to support the collaborative design method affinity diagramming. A second case study presents the tool IdeaVis for supporting collaborative sketching sessions. In a third case study, support for the particular activity of documenting and organizing design artifacts is explored with the interactive space ArtifactBubbles. Taken together, the case studies deliver a representation of collaborative embodied design practices. Each case study provides a detailed introduction and justification of the case selection and documents the application of the proposed tradeoff-driven design methodology throughout analysis, design and evaluation.

As a result, this thesis delivers three types of contributions. As a first contribution, the thesis describes a novel design methodology than can be applied to related design problems. As a second contribution, new design concepts and interaction techniques are introduced that can be reused and adapted by other researchers or practitioners. Eventually, empirical data that relates to the effect of the designed methods on properties of design practice is provided. The thesis concludes with abstract design guidelines that bring together all contributions for reuse by researchers and practitioners.

Origin (projects)

Funding sources
Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Project no.
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft third-party funds research funding program 636/09
Further information
Period: 01.07.2009 – 30.06.2012