Anatomy of a failure: How we knew when our design went wrong, and what we learned from it

William Gaver, John Bowers, Tobie Kerridge, Andy Boucher, Nadine Jarvis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we describe the failure of a novel sensor- based system intended to evoke user interpretation and appropriation in domestic settings. We contrast participants' interactions in this case study with those observed during more successful deployments to identify 'symptoms of failure' under four themes: engagement, reference, accommodation, and surprise and insight. These themes provide a set of sensitivities or orientations that may complement traditional task-based approaches to evaluation as well as the more open-ended ones we describe here. Our system showed symptoms of failure under each of these themes. We examine the reasons for this at three levels: problems particular to the specific design hypothesis; problems relevant for input-output mapping more generally; and problems in the design process we used. We conclude by noting that, although interpretive systems such as the one we describe here may succeed in a myriad of different ways, it is reassuring to know that they can also fail, and fail incontrovertibly, yet instructively.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2009
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Life New World - Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, United States
PublisherACM
Pages2213-2222
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781605582474
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event27th International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2009 - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: 4 Apr 20099 Apr 2009

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference27th International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA
Period4/04/099/04/09

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Anatomy of a failure: How we knew when our design went wrong, and what we learned from it'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this