These days, one of the important issues among my realizations is that it is so hard to design a certain solution for user without having to understand their contextual stories. (I did not realize the fact when I was conducting user study in participatory observation method two years ago. I suddenly realize this fact now) And, I have thought of the interpretation methods in terms of the signs that user produce, exploring their contexts, and of how can I applying the signs to design solutions. In my superficial assumption, an artifact is a certain point of contact when human being interacts with the value, perception, or experience that this environment provides us. The signs, which mean the artifact produce, might be in the consensual domain to link the relationship between designer and user. A designer detects the activity signs by which user consciously or unconsciously produce without having to let the user recognize the fact that the designer discovers the signs in user’s life. At this situation, the designer would say “you have the same usage interpretation with others” or “you have a different one to use an artifact.” The designer would be willing to mediate some artifact in both interpretation stances, the generalization(structural) and specialization(anti-structural) approach like a sort of creative things<?> for user’ activity. On the other hand, the designer would empower user’s interaction with artifacts or restrict by designer’s interpretation.
According to Acting with technology, by Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie A. Nardi, “Technological/psychological tool is the sign intended to help people affect others or themselves.”
“The tool is at the same time both enabling and limiting: the tool empowers the subject in the transformation process with the historically collected experience and skill “crystallized” to it, but it also restricts the interaction to be from the perspective of that particular tool or instrument only; other potential features of an object remain “invisible” to the subject”. Based on the sentences, my term “the generalization approach” is related to “collected experience and skill “crystallized” like a sort of paradigm or discourse, and the term, “specialization one” is the interpretation of particular culture or phenomenon of individual. (I am not sure if my definitions are proper interpretation) Anyway, a few of question arises in my mind again. As the functions of signs, how can designer create and transmit the intended sign/information to user, persuade them, seek to establish the sign that artifacts create by designer, and enable them maintain the relationship with the artifacts? How can I regulate the consensual domain between artifacts and user? To get the answer of my curiosity, I am thinking of how I have to do create the consensual domain as an interaction designer. Simply, I need to comprehend complex phenomena of human activity, which reveal motivation and action level of user. I have to be able to recognize the issues that are relevant to the intended user and that affect on identifying the appropriate attributes and qualities for the artifact concept. That can be achieved by utilizing various design methods, and drawing an overview in concept design aspects or more detailed aspects. Hopefully, after that, it is possible to get deeper insight of user. However, there are a numerous number of layers of experiences/phenomenon. User experience of a certain phenomenon is wide and cannot be examined from by macro discourse. This needs to take many different angles per each user experience. Moreover, tacit or hidden aspects such as product meaning or personal motivation have also influence in the user phenomenon, which are unlikely that easily recognized or communicated to design, or even directly affected by design. Hmmmmmmm. What am I supposed to do? It is so hard to explore the consensual domain.