Majken Kirkegaard Rasmussen

Aarhus School of Architecture & Aarhus University

Shape-changing interfaces: Designing in the 4th Dimension

The dissertation addresses the topic of shape-changing interfaces, from an interaction design perspective. The aim of the dissertation is to push the research area of shape-changing interfaces beyond the prevalent point design, and present concepts for how the dynamic element influences the interaction between user and artifact.

The starting point for the research has been my background in architecture, product and interaction design, and shape-changing interfaces, presents the opportunity to work with the dynamic elements used on screens in a physical way, making it possible for physical objects to adapt to different types of use, rather than making one interface, which has to suit every occasion.

The research is founded on a range of design experiments, and I highlight the experimental design process of 2 shape changing interfaces, a shape-changing bench coMotion and a shape-changing mobile REFLEX. The prototypes illustrate different scale, and approaches of shape change, which together with examples from 2 courses for master level students on shape-changing interfaces, form the basis for reflections upon 1) the design space for shape-changing interfaces, dealing with the different aspects of designing and interacting with physically dynamic interfaces. The part outlines different strategies for designing interaction relationships, between the physically dynamic form and the user, presents a framework for shape-changing interfaces, and discusses it discussed in relation to being a generative tool in the design process, as well as being a vocabulary for describing form change. 2) The user experience with shape-changing interfaces, dealing with making sense of shape-changing interfaces and the users expectations, as shape-changing interfaces challenge this notion of the physical as static, as it enables physical interfaces to become dynamic.