The past Monday, I did an assignment for Physical Computing class. The assignment was called “Imagining Physical Computing”. We had to think of an interactive system that lives in the real world of physical objects, but the object doesn’t have to be realizable with current technology. The point was to get our creative juice flow by being imaginative. I had fun coming up with ideas. When I brainstorm for an idea, I have a tendency to disrupt my own thoughts/ideas by bringing up all the possible obstacles, problems, and practicality even before the idea starts to really develop. But for this assignment, I constantly told myself that I don’t have to think about the execution process, so let’s just be imaginative and come up with fun ideas even if it’s completely unrealistic.
My idea still ended up being somewhat feasible and practical, but the process of coming up with ideas were really interesting. Since school started, I was bombarded with all the thoughts and lessons about users, usability, user-interface and etc. Interaction design to me was all about the users. I still think it’s probably right that interaction designers’ foremost important role is to think of the users and their experiences, but as a designer, I saw myself creating my own limits on my imagination when approaching a concept or developing an idea.
But imagining without any pressure of execution gave me a lot of freedom during my thinking process for this assignment. I felt more creative, and ideas that are more interesting, yet probably unrealistic, came out. The lesson I learned through this assignment is that, yes as a designer, I have to make products that have functionality, yet I don’t have to or probably shouldn’t think about practicality and functionality from the beginning of brainstorming stage. I think it’s better to let my thoughts run wild, be imaginative and be a dreamer, and that’s when creative sparks happen.