It’s funny what experiences carry over when you’re working. When doing physical computing projects, my mind naturally tends towards habits I developed in computer science and development: start small, and test often. Even before Benedetta told us to do so, I had a tendency to test my circuits in pieces and with simpler components; it just seemed logical if I wanted to debug anything. Conversely, though, until this week’s readings, it hadn’t occured to me to bring user experience design into my physical computing projects. Is it because I’ve only been doing simple projects to test my learning, and because they’re not user facing? Or would they just not have occured to me anyways? Either way, Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook was a great read, and I hope I’ll pick up a physical copy and adopt the habits within.

Particularly, I should pick up the habits of: paper prototyping and testing (for physical computing); keeping a sketchbook for design ideas; and the sketching techniques from Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain (another fine book.) Anh Nguyen’s project, Happy Feedback Machine, has great examples of sketching and a really adorable use case storyboard (though this sort of seems like it’s assuming too much per Tom Igoe’s blog post.) It’s honestly wondrous that I hadn’t thought to apply these techniques to physical computing. Everything covered in Sketching User Experiences is stuff I’ve encountered before, but I never thought of it as applicable. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring both CS + Design experience to future Physical Computing Projects.