The Open Design project focuses on developing and testing design methodologies for scenarios where existing conditions such as safety requirements makes hard to predict and understand the effects of the introduction of technology. The goal of the project is the creation of a competence center at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Technology FIT, which will work on positioning and establishing the use of these new methodologies, and that will support their application on product development processes along the industry. The project is sponsored by the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft through its internal “Challenge” program, oriented towards the exploration of new technologies and methods for emerging and future markets.
New Paradigm in HCI
In the last few years, a collection of approaches have found their way into HCI research, dealing with problems that traditionally fall out of the scope of HCI. Research coming from multiple disciplines ranging from social sciences to design and arts has provided a useful set of tools to deal with issues such as values, social issues and embodiment. Most of this research however is yet to be tested in domains where complex restrictions exist.
HCI in Complex Domains
With open design, FIT opens a new perspective for the design of technology in complex domains, which looks for complementing well established methods such as Usability Engineering and User Experience Design with methods coming from this new paradigm emerging from HCI such as ethnography, triggering artifacts and design probes. The final goal is to bridge the gap existing between new, open methods and traditional, heavy weighted engineering processes.