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Type: Thesis
Title: Wicked Problems in Interface Design: Reflections on the Theories and Practices of Remediation
Author: Dey, Subrata
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : Media
Abstract: This project sets out to investigate the ways in which media technology designers might be helped through employing frameworks of understanding from the field of media studies. The overarching goal of this study is to probe the contributory matrix of factors that play a role in the development of a technology interface and its usage. This goal is worked upon by tracing the diverse factors that come into play while remediating a pre-existing medium like oral storytelling onto a digital media interface. Drawing from relevant media theories on determinism and remediation, the transactional linkage between media technology evolution and socio-cultural conventions is established through the juxtaposition of technological determinism and social-constructivism. This linkage is thereafter used to question the conventional paradigm in design practices where the underlying role of pre-existing media technologies and media cultures in the shaping of a new media interface and its usage is overlooked. This assertion about design practices is then explored through an interface development initiative where oral storytelling practices that employed orality as the dominant medium were remediated into a digital interface through developing a virtual 3D avatar who tells a story to the user. Both eye-tracking technology and questionnaires were used as measurement tools to gauge the users’ response to the interface. Exposing the underlying complexity inherent in the process of remediation was guided by the paradigm of ‘wicked problems’ in design thinking. The methodological stance for this study also drew inspiration from the idea of social-constructivism which suggests chronicling the underlying socio- cultural factors that affect the development and use of a new media technology. The features of orality, literacy and virtuality media cultures as laid out by medium theorists were understood as cultural variables whose underlying effects on the development and the reception of the new media interface were explored. The findings of the study indicate that the conventional assumptions about ‘immersion’ and ‘distraction’ in a real-life oral storytelling performance are inadequate to explain the user responses when the oral storyteller is remediated into a digital interface. The wickedness in remediation design problems is compounded by the fact that user reception of a given media technology and the content that is conveyed through it may vary with time. The reception of a media technology interface is shaped indirectly by the emerging conventions of the virtual culture and also by the pre-existing cultures. Media technology designers need to use a broader matrix of analysis where their assumptions and results are positioned within a continuum of media evolution that has multiple socio-technical dimensions as contributory factors.
Advisor: Humphreys, Sal
Smith, Ross
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2019
Keywords: Remediation
virtual reality
interface design
medium theory
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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