The future of UX design support tools

Alan Dix

Professorial Fellow, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, UK
Director of the Computational Foundry, Swansea University, Wales, UK

Talk to ACM SIGCHI Paris Chapter at Université Paris-Saclay, 19th March 2024

From the 1980s graphical interfaces have dominated the way we envisage user interactions. While we know and teach our students about the importance of taking a wider perspective, the vast majority of tools used in practical UX (user experience) design are dominated by screens. In this talk I will explore ways in which future design can step beyond the pixelated surface.

One strand is understanding the physical nature of devices, human bodies, and the environments within which they engage; this is addressed in my 2022 book “TouchIT – Understanding Design in a Physical-Digital World” co-authored with Steve Gill, Jo Hare, and Devina Ramduny-Ellis.

The other strand is work over the last few years with Miriam Sturdee and Anna Carter, collectively entitled InContext, in which we have been exploring next generation UX tools, including investigative workshops and focus groups. While not a major issue, AI was mentioned in these workshops, but they were before the recent rise in awareness fostered by ChatGPT. I will contextualise this building on two other books that I am completing relating to AI and Human–Computer Interaction.

I will demonstrate two tools that explore the space of design beyond the screen. One, ScenarioViewer enables screen-based prototypes, at various levels of fidelity, to be embedded within story-board-like contextual images. The other, PhysProto, allows physical prototypes to be interactively explored remotely using video clips and Physigrams, executable models of the physical behaviour of the device. These are prototypes of prototyping tools, but also provotypes, designed to provoke you to consider for yourself the future of UX design support tools.



Alan Dix 15/3/2024