A Collaborative Landscaping Exercise of IoT Design Methods

ThingsCon is an initiative to explore and promote the development of fair, responsible, and human-centric Internet of Things (IoT). I try to support and co-shape this initiative by regularly co workshops around co-creating future smart things together with future users. Within this context, Albrecht Kurze (TU Chemnitz), Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (@iotwatch) and myself brought together the creators of seven Internet of Things design methods for a collaborative landscaping exercise of these design methods.

These design methods are:
Tiles IoT Toolkit
Mapping the IoT
Know Cards
IoT Design Kit
IoT Design Deck
Co-Create the IoT
Loaded Dice Toolkit

Together, all the creators tried out all of these IoT design methods and located them on a design process model. A visual analysis of this landscaping exercise reveals large discrepancies between the application area the original creators of each IoT design method had in mind, and the understanding of most other experts. We subsequently argue that the design research community can benefit from collaborative approaches towards understanding each other’s methods. We conclude that the design research community can benefit from more appropriate mappings when choosing the most appropriate IoT design method for a particular task within a specific context.

We show, that the creators of design methods seem to underestimate the versatility of their own methods. We also shown that it is beneficial, when the creators of design methods collaboratively try-out each other’s design methods. Not only do the creator get to know and appreciate a multitude of existing methods, this also helps them to understand how versatile their respective design methods actually are and it helps them to reframe application scenarios for their own design methods. The seven IoT design methods are potentially capable of addressing way more design process stages than their creators expected.

Albrecht Kurze, Sören Totzauer, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, and Arne Berger. 2019. A Collaborative Landscaping Exercise of IoT Design Methods. In Proceedings of the 31st Australian Conference on Human-Computer-Interaction (OZCHI’19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 307–311. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3369457.3369484