UX Awards

The Premier Awards for Exceptional Digital Experience

Henri: Creating Languages for Objects Details


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Method created a tool that allows designers a mechanism to tighten the design process loop.

Smart devices have created new problems for designers to solve, and at Method there has been a growing need for physical products to be able to communicate independently of screens. As a Lead Interaction Designer at Method, Daniel Nacamuli has been looking for ways to enhance the design process by creating tools to control physical and digital design patterns in real time. From this starting point developed what became the physical product Henri (Hardware Enhancing a Natural Responsive Interface) and the workshop experience, creating languages for objects and removing the noise of interactions.

Henri is a sound and light emitting device whose behaviors can easily be created, recorded, and played back using a mixture of physical and digital interfaces. The physical interfaces free designers from thinking about code, therefore encouraging them to focus on the interaction capabilities of the tool. Henri was intentionally designed to encourage collaboration by allowing multiple behaviors to be controlled by a number of people at once.

Henri was unveiled as part of a workshop in February this year at San Francisco's IxDA15 Conference, where attendees were paired in teams and asked to program light and sound patterns on the tool. Most participants had never thought of infusing personas into an object. They began to think from a unique perspective where the product needs to communicate more information to a person than just on, off or idle. What if it was angry, sad, or excited? Henri allows those concepts to be tested real-time, and enhance the overall capabilities of both the designer and the product. It helped people literally think outside of the box, and feel productive while playing.

Method is currently developing a workshop for middle school children to expose them to the intersection of design and technology at an early age.

Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:

The culture at Method is one of curiosity and experimentation, and Henri truly pushes the boundaries of design. As designers, agile and lean work processes are becoming the norm, and often required by clients. Our awareness of the need for designers to be able to prototype for objects quickly, often within the IoT realm, pushed us to develop a solution and share it with the community. Prototyping for apps and websites is an invaluable contribution to a project, but we have found that prototyping for the behaviors of objects is a much more time consuming endeavor. Working out the details and general personalities of these objects throughout the design process results in the prototypes being much closer to reality, and faster to the client’s hands. This push towards the future of what design can be is very exciting, and Henri is building towards that future.

Submitted By: Method

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