Outfit-centric Design

Image source : "http://thestyledistrict.com"

Reflection on Outfit-Centric Design

Related paper: Juhlin, O., Zhang, Y., Sundbom, C., & Fernaeus, Y. (2013, April). Fashionable shape switching: Explorations in outfit-centric design. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1353-1362). ACM.

Time: 14th April 2014

In the paper the authors generated a concept of “Outfit - Centric Design” by undertaking an ex- plorative study. In this study, participants can choose different mobile phone prototypes as a fashion item to match with their outfit in regard with various colours and shapes. The mobile p!hone in this study serves as a part of fashion rather than just a everyday communication tool.

I found this perspective rather interesting because I myself sometimes treated my mobile phone as a match with my personality or outfit. Though I can say that I am not a fashionable person, as I don’t care so much about my clothe, I will pick mobile phone cases with different colours, and sometimes choose the background screen to match with it. I think it is a more advanced ap- proach in this paper inspired by the research of embedding electronics in to soft, touchable or organic interfaces. With the advent of wearable devices, how about one can also ‘wear’ his phone as part of his outfit? As a tie, a brace lace, a brooch and even a shoe lace! Without the widely accepted form of a mobile phone, a mobile phone can in return show it’s owner’s person- a!lity, his sense of innovation, fashion and maybe art.

Although in the paper the author addressed that in order to stimulate the situation in which peo- ple choose garments from the closet, they designed 22 mobile phone in different colours and shapes for users to choose in order to avoid endless number of choices, I still think that the re- sult would be more inspiring if participants are just given, for example, a piece of textile material, or plasticine to make any form at any position as they want when using this new form of “mobile phone”. In this way, we will not only receive more variations in how to match the “mobile phone” with their outfit, but also let participants experience the materials and change the shapes under different situations. Then it would probably help to answer questions as what materials to use to practically making a mobile phone with Outfit-Centric Design. As an exploration, I think it can be m!ore dynamic.

On the other hand, I think it is pretty hard to explain to participant the concept of a mobile phone that can change the shape and colour to match with the out fit and avoid cargo calf design in this study. The author also mentioned that one participant Christina complained that she cannot vi- sualise how to use a mobile phone like a piece of clothes in the study. But it is necessary to ex- plain ahead of the study, because the result will be hugely different if participants don’t know this piece clothes is used as a shape - switchable mobile phone. As a counterplan, we can explain to the participants more about the technical possibilities to make it happen, and the explorative p!urpose of this study.

-- Thanks for reading --