Interaction 14 Student Design Challenge

Now in its fifth year, the IxDA Student Design Challenge will run during the Interaction14 conference in Amsterdam, February 4-8, 2014. I’m happy to be on the selection jury again, though sadly I can’t make the conference itself due to a clash with our MA final presentation. (I’m particularly sad because it’s in Amsterdam, which is comparatively close to me and I was going to teach a service design workshop, but such is life).

The Chairs of the jury are Dianna Miller, Innovation Catalyst, Fidelity Investments and previous student competitor, Izac Ross, Interaction Designer, Cooper. The rest of the jury are:

  • Miles Begin, Director of Design, Enterprise Growth, American Express
  • Peter Boersma, Interaction Design Director at Blast Radius
  • MJ Broadbent, Principal, MJ Broadbent Design
  • Susan Dybbs, Managing Director of Interaction Design, Cooper
  • Ana Domb Krauskopf, Director, School of Interaction Design
  • Penny Hagen, Design Strategist, Smallfire/ UX Director DAN Auckland
  • John Payne, Principal, Moment
  • Andy Polaine, Interaction & Service Designer, Lecturer, Writer, Researcher
  • David Sherwin, Interaction Design Director, frog
  • Samantha Soma, GE Design & Experience Studio
  • Sudhindra V., Creative Director – Experience Design, SapientNi

Student design challenge records for life 666x412

This year the Student Design Challenge is in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who have chosen the Student Design Challenge to complement the foundation’s Records for Life contest that launched this month.

The Information for Life challenge will be to design ways to improve how, where, and when the child health record is distributed, accessed and used in order to make it a more effective tool for health information and education throughout early childhood.

I’ll be interested to see what the students come up with. It’s a challenge not only to develop the idea, but also to ensure the idea isn’t just based on naïve designer platitudes about poverty and health. There’s a reason why this is a wicked problem and not just a design problem.

Please spread the word and and, if you are student, think about entering. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback from the panel and to put your work in front of a lot of people. Prizes for the Student Challenge have always been good and this year include:

  • Travel to Amsterdam
  • Accommodation in Amsterdam
  • Complimentary student registration at the conference
  • Registration for a dynamic master class, held before the conference, to address these design challenges
  • Additional prizes will awarded on site

For more details, go and check the Student Challenge website and the PDF of the brief. You can follow the competition on Twitter under @ixdaSDC.

Interaction Awards 2012 Winners

Sadly I couldn’t be at Interaction ’12 in Dublin this week, so I’ve been vicariously soaking up the vibe (but not the alcohol) on Twitter and the IxDA conference blog. This year was the first ever Interaction Awards and the winners were just announced.

My absolute favorite was CIID student Ishac Bertran’s Pas a Pas project, which won the Best Student category. The video above explains it best, but Betran describes the project as

an interactive educational tool for schools that enables children to learn and experiment with different sets of elements using animation. It aims to use the physicality and the animated outcome of stop motion animation to bridge the gap between abstract concepts from maths, physics or arts (usually represented by graphs, equations or words) and reality.

As the father of a nearly three year-old daughter who goes to a kindergarten that has a lot of Montessori input and who also loves to grab my iPad and play with it, I really loved the crossover analogue-digital nature of Pas a Pas. The retro hi-fi look of the product design of it really works so well with the concept too. An invitation to play if there ever was one.

Best In Show went to LoopLoop, a tiny sequencer made using Sifteo cubes. It is very cute, but for me was more a re-hash of many a sound toy I’ve seen (and designed) than anything really re-thought. Most of all, more effort seemed to go into the interaction design than the irritating plinky-plonk sound design, which I think is a shame, although this often happens with such toys.

Best Concept went to Out of the Box, a clever way of telling people learn about their new smartphone in an analogue way. It’s basically a book with sections cut out of various pages in which the phone and its parts sit. As the user turns the page, the book tells them how to interact with the physical object. I can’t help feeling it’s a little unwieldy, but very cleverly worked out nonetheless.

The People’s Choice were the Interaction Cubes, which are a nice, low-tech way of creating an interactive periodic table. The analogue aspect of this seemed to connect with people.

(p.s. Don’t forget to go and check out the Interaction 12 Student Design Challenge. It’s a different competition in which finalists compete on-site during the conference. I co-chaired it last year.)