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Holistic Service Prototyping: Sketching Hardware and Software

Computing, Mobile and The Web, Objects
Location: Gold Room Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 5 ratings)

The Economist has defined services as “products of economic activity that you can’t drop on your foot.” Where businesses once viewed services as a necessary but inconvenient accompaniment to their product offerings, they now increasingly look to designers to develop holistic, human-centered, and innovative service solutions that can help expand profits and cement brand loyalty.

Services are richly complex offerings occurring across space, time, and multiple touch points. Their essentially intangible nature presents new and exciting challenges. Designers in this emerging field must expand the toolchest of product and interaction design to develop new approaches for communicating and prototyping service concepts.

This one-day tutorial will cover key concepts and methods through a combination of lectures, demos, and hands-on activities. Though there are countless types of services from air transport to farmers’ markets to medical care, it will focus on services that can benefit from the integration of Web, mobile, and embedded digital technologies. We will introduce key tools and techniques for prototyping physical computing interfaces and will develop functional sketch prototypes using Flash and RFID.

Matt Cottam

Tellart, Rhode Island School of Design and Umeå Institute of Design

CEO, Tellart,
Faculty, Rhode Island School of Design and Umeå Institute of Design

Matt Cottam graduated in 1999 from the Industrial Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2000, Matt co-founded Tellart, a product and service design firm specializing in the development and prototyping of web, mobile and embedded systems. Tellart’s projects range from museums to medical simulators, from ambient game interfaces to mobile phones. Tellart’s clients include international manufacturers and service providers such as Nokia, Humana, Novartis, Otis Elevator, the Wright Brothers Museum, and Stanford University. Matt serves as Tellart’s CEO, building strategies and tactics for design, and working closely with clients to discover opportunities for innovation.
For the past ten years he has also been teaching courses at RISD on topics including product and service design, physical computing, design for emergency medicine, and design for human habitation in extreme environments. Besides his work as a designer and teacher, Matt is a Paramedic for the US Department of Health and Human Service’s National Disaster Medical Team, as well as the National Ski Patrol. Since 2004 he has been an adjunct faculty member at the Design Institute Umeå in Sweden, where he teaches Experience Prototyping. Matt is also a visiting Instructor at The Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing (China), and the Oslo School of Architecture (Norway).

Photo of Maia Garau

Maia Garau

Dynamic Diagrams

Maia Garau teaches at RISD and is a senior user experience consultant with Dynamic Diagrams, where she translates research into visual explanations that bring complex ideas to life. Recent projects focused on information design and service improvements for clients including Hewlett Packard, the Aerospace Corporation and the World Health Organization. Prior to joining Dynamic Diagrams she was sponsored by British Telecom to conduct doctoral research on improving avatar-mediated communication. She went on to manage a European Union research project on social presence in virtual environments, and then focused on design strategy for Radar’s mobile picture-sharing service. Maia has a BA in comparative literature from Brown University, an MSc in virtual environments from the Bartlett School of Architecture, and a PhD in computer science from University College London.

Photo of Jasper Speicher

Jasper Speicher

Tellart LLC

Jasper’s role as lead engineer at Tellart involves a variety of responsibilities including: designing, manufacturing, and testing digital and analog electronics; repurposing and “hacking” existing electronic systems for prototype design; researching and porting open source software for a variety of desktop and embedded environments; designing and testing code for user interfaces, basic DSP algorithms, and data networks, for various desktop, embedded, and mobile devices; performing on-site device installation and maintenance; designing, building and testing basic mechanical systems; managing engineering subcontractors for projects requiring expertise beyond the scope of the company; writing and illustrating proposals for work, on a variety of technical subjects, to be evaluated by non-technical clients; and maintaining direct relations with the company’s clients. When he isn’t working on consulting projects, Jasper participates in Tellart’s internal invention efforts.

Jasper received his BA from Brown University in Engineering and Visual Arts. He also completed a Masters degree in Computer Music and Multimedia at Brown. While pursuing his Masters degree, Jasper worked on grants at the Brown University SHAPE Lab, studying 3D shape processing and augmented-reality user-interfaces for creative software. He has taught Digital Sculpture and Industrial Design at Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design, and he has co-authored several academic papers published in international academic journals.

Brian Hinch


Brian Hinch has been working at Tellart since 2001 and currently serves as its Technology Director. Since studying Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design he has been designing and developing tools for designers of various stripes. While working at Tellart he has focused on building a set of hardware and software tools that can be used to quickly prototype new products. Recently he has been looking at ways to prototype services—systems of physical and software elements. With other Tellart team members, Brian has led workshops at the Industrial Design Society of America’s annual conference and has taught the Experience Prototyping Course in the Interaction Design Masters Program at Umeå University Institute of Design in Sweden.

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Pauline Turnbull
03/18/2009 12:34am PDT

Great session – when will the slides be posted???

Picture of Gene Becker
Gene Becker
03/11/2009 11:51am PDT

Thanks for a fun workshop. Next time, more hands on please!

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