I am working on the idea of device landscapes or ecologies of artifacts since some time back. Here are some notes on the topic. They are short and somewhat abstract, but they work for me. If you want to comment. add or change them, please let me know.
A device landscape can be defined as “the landscape made up by all physical devices with some level of interactivity, made possible by digital technology, that one person owns or has access to and engages with”
Device landscape analysis is about non-designed landscapes, that is, landscapes that are serendipitous, emerging, evolving and dynamic.
A device landscape consists of (1) elements (devices), (2) relationships, and (3) qualities of relationships.
- What constitutes a device, a relationship, a quality of relationship, is a choice.
Why Device Landscape Analysis
There is an increasing need for landscape analysis in our field: digital technology is “wicked”, that is, it is complex, everywhere, connected, and experienced from the perspective of an inhabitant.
Every digital interactive artifact/device is part of one or many device landscapes.
Every person who owns any digital interactive artifacts is the owner and caretaker of a device landscape
People see digital interactive devices primarily as “things” which makes it useful to also analyze them as things/devices.
Landscape factors influence people’s thinking about and behavior toward their devices.
People develop landscape and device strategies
Analyzing/Mapping Device Landscapes
Any analysis/mapping is a response to a question.
A mapping of a device landscape is an activity that leads to a conceptual construct that can serve analytical purposes (knowledge), technical purposes (design), or emancipatory purposes (ideological).
A mapping can be
- phenomenological (personal, particular, perspective of the “owner”)
- analytical (composed, universal, perspective of the researcher/designer)
A mapping is always an act guided by intentionality and a result of judgment.
A mapping is a cut in time. A series of cuts may lead to a mapping of a landscape’s evolution.
A landscape analysis and mapping is always based on some kind of device landscape model.
A tentative device landscape model:
This work has been done in collaboration with Heekyoung, Ryan and Marty, and have been published in some papers and in this journal article:
Stolterman, E. , Jung, H., Ryan, W., and Siegel, M. A. (2013) Device Landscapes: A New Challenge to Interaction Design and HCI Research. Archives of Design Research, 26(2), 7-33.