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Video Interviews and Prototyping

Module E2-2 for the USI Programme

Panos Markopoulos

March 2009

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

This year, the emphasis of the module is methodological. You are requested to examine the role of prototyping in desing.

The following topics will be covered:




Lecture / Presentations

Deadlines/Presentations by students


Mon 9/3







Using video in contextual interviews


Introduction of the mini-project




Video Prototyping and brainstorming





Interview Presentations (10' per team)

Assignment 1: Ethics Lies and Video Tape"

Prepare interview plan

Read paper by W. Mackay

Shoot Interviews for Mini Project

Deliverable: 5'presentation with 3 slides: your process, your findings, your reflections upon how you did it.

Select at maximum 5' of footage fro interview to show to class.



Tue 10/3





Assignment 2: Reading on Prototype fidelity

Assignment 3:

Read papers on lo-fi prototyping, starting from Vertenley's paper and

"Minority Report" : video brainstorm exploring novel forms of interaction.



Wed 11/3 9:30-10:30



An intro to focus groups

Fidelity paper presentations (5' per team)

Video Brainstorm show

Assignment 4: "The Truman Show"

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

Set up 2 focus group per team to evaluate your two renditions of your concept


Thu 12/3        

Fri 13/3



Final Presentations

Show video of max 2x4' max illustrating your concept

Presentation of 10' regarding the focus groups planning and execution

Final report 8 pages SIGCHI format should include: process/product/reflection descriptions for all steps of your week: video interview , brainstorm, prototyping, focus group and a conclusion.

Report includes preliminary analysis regarding the comparison of the 2 videos.

Report includes evaluation of your video regarding Starfire



Much of design work involves the user of shared representations, being inspired from each other's work, having a broad knowledge of related designs that can also act as shared points of reference within design teams. In a department teaching design, students often work in proximity with each other: informally much knowledge is shared and ideas travel (slow) through informal social networks. This type of cross fertilization that characterizes creative environments is though restricted: it can work with the people one meets with regularly and is ephemeral; when the project ends and the prototypes are out of sight much of the knowledge that was embodied in the artifacts created is lost. It is often the case that people on different floors of the same department work on related topics, that researchers in the same group are unaware of the work of each other, that a particular problem that manifests itself in a health care application has already been addressed in an unrelated design project, e.g, accessing music collections. A by product of this, is that when students go home in the evening much of the department is a messy area that fails to portray the nature of the work, the atmosphere of the place.

Technology can support creative processes in many ways. The aim of this project is to explore obstacles to sharing design relevant knowledge  and experiences (like those alluded to above) as they unfold in a design education department and to seek ways in which Ambient Intelligence technology can support these.  Eventually we look to seek opportunities for easy access and capture of design relevant knowledge (part of the project is to find what that may be and what are appropriate forms for its representation) and to seek ways in which peer learning can be supported opportunistically. We seek ways in which working and moving through a design environment could bring to life the work that is done within the space.


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

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

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

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

Fidelity reading assignment

  1. Rettig, M. 1994. Prototyping for tiny fingers. Commun. ACM 37, 4 (Apr. 1994), 21-27. DOI=

  2. McCurdy, M., Connors, C., Pyrzak, G., Kanefsky, B., and Vera, A. 2006. Breaking the fidelity barrier: an examination of our current characterization of prototypes and an example of a mixed-fidelity success. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22 - 27, 2006). R. Grinter, T. Rodden, P. Aoki, E. Cutrell, R. Jeffries, and G. Olson, Eds. CHI '06. ACM, New York, NY, 1233-1242. DOI=

  3. Reinhard Sefelin , Manfred Tscheligi , Verena Giller, Paper prototyping - what is it good for?: a comparison of paper- and computer-based low-fidelity prototyping, CHI '03 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, April 05-10, 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA [doi>10.1145/765891.765986]

  4. Robert A. Virzi , Jeffrey L. Sokolov , Demetrios Karis, Usability problem identification using both low- and high-fidelity prototypes, Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems: common ground, p.236-243, April 13-18, 1996, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada [doi>10.1145/238386.238516]

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 brainstorms
3. max 4' your video prototype (in two compression rates: for viewing in class and for the web).

4. footage of the focus group proceedings, (Duration depending on consent you have obtained).

B. Documents


0.  Readme.txt file or table of contents

1. Report (8 pages SIGCHI style) including

    about the interview: interview plan, session summary and conclusions and analysis of your own interview with respect to Ethics guidelines

    about brainstorm: reflection on outcome and process

    about prototype: description of prototype, feedback from users

    about focus group: focus group plan, results, analysis

2. 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, 2008