Ryan Ramsey - (FB4) Semesterprojekt

Mindful Design

Winter Semester 2020/21

Design Theory

In this class, we explored several aspects referred to the concepts of emotions and design. One goal of the main goals was to examine approaches connected to design and emotions such as “Design for Well-Being”, “Positive Design”, “Emotional Design”, “Happiness”, “Human-Centered Design”, and “Human flourishing”, to name a few. Furthermore, we have explored different design research methods to conduct meaningful research within the field of design.

The overarching theme I tackled this semester is a relatively new area of design called, Mindful Design. The two research papers I read to explore the intricacies of this topic were by Kristina Niedderer, titled, Designing Mindful Interaction: The Category of the Performative Object (2007), and Facilitating Behaviour Change through Mindful Design (2017).

Throughout Niedderer’s research, she brings clarity to the elusive concept that is “mindfulness”, by contextualizing it in a way that makes it possible for designers to understand how this state of mind can actually be achieved in users, within and through the design process. The concept of mindfulness here refers to the attentiveness of the user towards the social consequences of actions performed with the object. In Neidderer’s first paper, she makes the distinction that the three pillars of mindful design are mindfulness, interaction, and function. At the core of her study, she argues and supports the identification of a new category of objects; Performative Objects (POs). Its two distinct characteristics from other design objects are mindfulness and a modification of function, through which this mindfulness is achieved. It’s from this understanding that Niedderer’s research evolves and brings her argument full circle, in proving how this powerful state of mind can be achieved in the everyday, strictly through the design of an object’s functionality, and as a result of our interactions within social contexts.