Seminar: Interaction Design for the Lived Body – Implications of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology

Current off-the-shelf digital technologies such as smartphones, full-body interaction games and sensor-based appliances are to a large extent embodied in the sense that they integrate with the body of the user. Designing for such technologies requires an understanding of the embodied user experience: how technology is experienced with and through the body. Welcome to a K3 seminar with Dag Svanæs, professor at Dep of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, where the phenomenology of the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty will serve as a starting point for a discussion of the embodied user experience.

Date and Time: March 18, at 13.00-14.30.

Place: K3, Malmö University (building 4 on this map), in room A160. To get there: enter the main Kranen entrance, take the stairs to C-level, walk past the restaurant and take a left turn at the janitor’s office and then the stairs down to A level (ground floor). Give Jonas Löwgren a call if you can’t find the room (070 39 17854)

Whom? Open to the public.

ABSTRACT – Current off-the-shelf digital technologies such as smartphones, full-body interaction games and sensor-based appliances are to a large extent embodied in the sense that they integrate with the body of the user. Designing for such technologies requires an understanding of the embodied user experience: how technology is experienced with and through the body. The phenomenology of the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty is a good starting point for a discussion of the embodied user experience. He makes a distinction between the third person and the first person perspective on the body – the body that I see in the mirror vs. the body that I experience as being me. The latter he refers to as the lived body. Designing for the lived body invites us to see interaction as active perception. Participatory design for the lived body is best done with the lived body by supporting the kinaesthetic creativity of both designers and co-designers. Svanæs will present some basic concepts from Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the body, and show through examples how his perspectives can inspire interaction design.

Dag Svanæs, professor, Dep of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. Svanæs is also affiliated with the IT-University of Copenhagen. He does research in Human-Computer Interaction and Interaction Design. His main areas of interest are mobile and ubiquitous computing, usability evaluation methodology, user-centered design, and the philosophy of human-computer interaction. He is currently involved in a national research initiative on medical informatics, and has built up a usability lab for mobile and ubiquitous health ICT. For an introduction to his work on phenomenology and interactivity, see Philosophy of Interaction – and the Interactive User Experience published on interaction-design.org.

Discussant: Jonas Löwgren. Please contact Löwgren for distribution of the paper.

Dag Svanaes – Image credit: flickr user ramyo CC:BY-NC