Invisible Design

Invisible Design is a technique for generating insights and ideas with workshop participants in the early stages of concept development. It involves the creation of ambiguous films in which characters discuss a technology that is not directly shown. The technique builds on previous work in HCI on scenarios, persona, theatre, film and ambiguity. By not visibly showing the design on-screen – although it is still in the scene – the films provide opportunities to seed discussions about the experiences around a particular idea or design space without focusing on the physical form and exact functionality of the design. We have used the Invisible Design approach in a number of projects:

  • Smart Money was used in the New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old project to explore issues to do with sharing money with people you trust and don’t trust.
  • Panini (aka Hagels Bagels) was used to explore problems related to physical mobility and navigation for older people.
  • Biometric Daemon was used to elicit concerns about security and privacy in the context of biometric authentication technologies that hold sensitive personal information.

The concept and development of Invisible Design was developed in collaboration with Pam Briggs of PACT Lab at Northumbria University.