Panos's Home Page  Research  Publications  Teaching  Student Projects

Video Interviews and Prototyping

Module E2-2 for the USI Programme

Panos Markopoulos

February 2008

The aim of this module (40 hrs) is for students to familiarize with the use of Video for Interaction Design.

This year, the module builds on the results of the module on qualitative research methods. It involves an inquiry, a design and an evaluation all using video as a representation medium, but focusing on the insights and questions developed in the previous module.

The following topics will be covered:




Lecture / Presentations

Deadlines/Presentations by students


Mon 18/2



Using video in contextual interviews


Introduction of the mini-project



Assignment 1: Ethics Lies and Video Tape"

Read Chapter on Interviews 

Prepare interview plan

Read paper by W.Mackay

Shoot Interviews for Mini Project

Report (2-4 A4, SIGCHI format) on the process and product and analyze your video with respect to the guidelines by Mackay.

Tue 19/2




Video Prototyping and video brainstorming

Interview Presentations

Assignment 2: "Minority Report" : video brainstorm



Wed 20/2 10:30-12:00   Video Brainstorm show

Assignment 3: "The Truman Show"

Read the STARFIRE paper and watch the video - as a preparation for shooting your own.

Prepare video prototypes for mini-project. Deliverable DVD (see specification below) should be handed in a week later (24/2)with the results of the focus group.


Thu 21/2        

Fri 22/2



Final Presentations  focus group results (combined with video prototype presentation)

Focus group report: includes  focus group plan, notes from the execution of the focus group, results and evaluation of the appropriateness of the method for the problem at hand to be included in the DVD of the team  (see below).

Report also should include reflection on the video prototype with regards to the Starfire guidelines.


Mini-Project: Awareness display

The project topic concerns the acceptance of awareness systems (the same topic as in the QR course). Consider this example scenario below:

" Alison 75, is retired, well in her health and living alone and independently at her home town. A robotic rabbit on her mantelpiece lights up whenever there is activity at the home of her daughter Barbara living 60 kilometers away. After dinner she awaits for some activity indication at Barbara's home. She knows then that the whole family is back home and are getting ready for dinner. She likes to have the reassurance that everything is as normal. She often waits for an hour after dinner before calling Barbara to have a little chat. Barbara, uses her rabbit to show if Alison is at home or out. She is happy to see that her mother goes out for a walk every now and then. She would like also to know how Alison has eaten today and how she feels, but she has to find these things out by phoning. This is nice, it is good to chat every day, but sometimes she feels her mother avoids to complain so as not to load her with her troubles not of her own."

The rabbit in this scenario is typical of a wide variety of design concepts, market products or research oriented scenarios exploring the use of awareness systems for connectedness. In related literature, there is an abundance of variations of how the system behaves, what information is communicated, how much control people have over it. Scenarios discussed address a variety of user groups and needs (co-workers, lovers, grandparents+grandchildren, parents and children through the day, etc.). Related proposals aim  to connect people by providing almost continuous streams of information to connect their homes, their mobiles or their offices. Eventually, people should be able to live in the constant "presence in absence" of others, having at their "peripheral reach" a blog, or a newsfeed about their activities, feelings, or whatever else the designers consider presenting to them. Sleep patterns, moods, whereabouts, level of activity, etc. are typical ones to feature on this list. Little is yet known about how much people actually want to have this information.



  1. Chapter 10, Hackos and Reddish, honing your interview skills.

  2. Ethics, Lies and Videotape, Mackay, W., (1995), Proc. CHI’95, pp.138-145.

  3. •The "Starfire" Video Prototype Project: A Case History, Tognazzini, B., Proceedings CHI ‘94 - see the page at •

  4. •Vertelney, L.  Using Video to Prototype User Interfaces.  SIGCHI Bulletin, Vol. 21, Number 2, (October 1989), pp. 57-61.

  5. Optional: a quick (a bit dated) cookbook see

Deliverable DVD

The deliverable is one DVD per project team. All work should be included in the DVD.

This DVD should be labeled and the contents described on its cover.

Please include the following:

A. Video Material
1. max 5' edited Mini project video interview
2. max 6' video brainstorm
3. max 6' your video prototype (in two compression rates: for viewing in class and for the web).

4. max 6' of the focus group proceedings, that is selected to make some useful points regarding the way the method was run

B. Documents

0.  Readme.txt file or table of contents


1. Mini-project interview report: including interview plan, session summary and conclusions and analysis of your own interview with respect to Ethics guidelines (2 A4)
2. Walk-through evaluation of your video prototype (written by another team) (1 A4 max)
3. Storyboard for the video prototype (in any standard digital format).
4. Slides of your final presentation
5. Presentation of paper on a method (from module on qualitative research. - include the .pdf file)

6. Focus Group Report  (4 A4 max, SIGCHI style)

Ground Rules for Presentations

Everyone should be present in the class at the starting time listed in the schedule.

To minimize change-over time, presenters should have one laptop connected, with access (through the network or USB stick or hard disc) to the presentations of each team.

In preparing your presentations, make sure you describe:

It helps if the whole group is interactive, so you can learn from each other's experiences. So ask questions, share your thoughts about the work of other people.

One rule is though to remain constructive even when you are offering critique. You can inquire about the rationale of other people's work, suggest shortcomings, offer alternatives, but do so in a helpful manner that does not become personal.


Past Runs of this course

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,2005, 2006, 2007