Designing Deployment: a visual paper of the batch deployment of research prototypes

Cameron, David; Jarvis, Nadine and Boucher, Andy. 2014. 'Designing Deployment: a visual paper of the batch deployment of research prototypes'. In: DRS2014 International Conference: Design’s Big Debates. Umea, Sweden 16 - 19 June 2014. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper we present the detailed design decision-making that went into the deployment phase of a project exploring Third Wave HCI through batch-produced devices. Building on the studio’s design-led methodologies, we produced multiple sets of Indoor Weather Stations (IWS), research devices that explore the microclimate of the home, and deployed them to 22 households over the course of a year to gather polyphonic feedback from participants. This project built upon our previous work of gathering polyphonic views of devices deployed to one or few households, but in order to scale our practice for multiple deployments, we had to develop new methods.

We have documented the design and rationale of the IWS and the outcome of the field study elsewhere. Here, we focus on the design involved in the recruitment of participants, deployment of devices and the methods of gathering feedback. Designing the supporting artefacts for projects such as this – everything that goes alongside the main research object – demands almost as much attention as designing the object itself.

Our usual fieldwork practice is to make numerous visits in person to participants in order gain insight into the impacts and effects of our devices. However with the scale of this project, it was not possible to pay multiple visits to all our volunteer households in the same way that we do when a single device is deployed. Instead, we designed new methods for this batch-deployment that we term Deployment Probes, using Cultural Probe sensibilities and approaches to develop methods to gather polyphonic feedback and insights from such a large number of participants.

By adopting a visual paper, a paper format which focuses on image, we present material design decisions in a way that is difficult to achieve in writing, and offer an alternative to other written accounts of this project. Images require interpretation, so we rely on readers to interrogate those used here. Granted this, we believe the photographs and quotes included here effectively reveal our novel methods of recruiting, deploying and gathering feedback at a large scale.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Design Process; practice-based research; photo essay; visual paper; annotations; design interventions;

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Design > Interaction Research Studio


1 September 2014Published Online

Event Location:

Umea, Sweden

Date range:

16 - 19 June 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Feb 2016 21:04

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2021 17:38


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