Auto-Cam: Investigating Visual UX Research

We’ve been working on an exciting new project, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. Together with Goldsmiths’ Interaction Research Studio, we’re investigating and developing an approach to visual UX research through the designing, making, and deploying of an ‘Auto-Cam’. We envision the Auto-Cam as a research tool that combines a wearable camera with sensor technology to capture visual, contextual research data.

We started the project by thinking about how we can harness the power of visual research, in particular photography, to provide insight into the lived experiences of people and the contexts in which the UX of technologies can be developed and improved upon. Visual, explorational research through the deployed auto-cam prototype can generate a rich body of visual information from everyday life, serving as a resource for a vast range of UX research projects. We aim to broaden the scope of UX research through this project, employing a more visual, multidisciplinary approach.Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 16.17.19

With the dedicated hard work of three new interns we’ve welcomed to STBY, Danae Papazymouri, Emma van Zoelen, and Silvia Podestá, we’ve been researching, exploring, and prototyping the Auto-Cam over the past six weeks. Exploring the auto-cam from multiple angles and perspectives, we’ve mapped our research and created a design workbook to organise our ideas and design proposals thematically. We continue to ask ourselves more questions than we can answer (which isn’t a bad thing!), such as what methods can we employ for the visual analysis of photographs in design and UX research? How is photography even particularly suited for visual research, and how can our auto-cam capitalise on this? How might an auto-cam function in a particular context, like in UX research of public transportation for example?

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We’ve also just launched the Auto-Cam project blog which you can see here – we’ll continue to update it along the way with our thoughts and process on prototyping, designing, and deploying this new visual UX research tool.

The Auto-Cam project is partly financed by Innovate UK under the ‘Better interactions between people and machines‘ programme and sponsors projects  stimulate innovations in user experience through innovative technologies and approaches. STBY co-finances the project as part of its internal R&D programme.

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