Designing with Values

A designer’s framework for delivering personalised media

RUST, C.  BLYTHE, M. MCKAY, A. BAGGOTT, J. WRIGHT, P.  (2009) Designing with Values: A designer’s framework for delivering personalised media in an unencumbered interactive environment. International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference, Seoul, Korea, October 2009


This paper describes the evolution of a design and development process for a museum exhibit that delivered unencumbered or ambient interactive media using personal values as the main framework for customising interaction and thus for selecting and developing content. The context of the work is the developing field of products and systems that incorporate rich digital content.

The work took place as part of an interdisciplinary research project that explored how people might interact with rich digital media in an unencumbered computing environment. An examination of the historical content of the planned exhibition, and the different stakeholders who influence that content led us to identify a set of ideas based on the different values at work, for example the different motivations and professional focus of the two main curators. This was then used as a reflective framework for the production of visual, video and audio material that could be incorporated. At the same time technical concepts were developed to define the opportunities for interaction and presentation of content in ways that emphasised unencumbered interaction using body movement and sensors rather than explicit computer devices.

A second review allowed the value framework to be re-evaluated in the light of the content that had been created and the content was coded against that framework. An algorithm was developed that allowed a database to track visitors’ interactions and maintain a developing profile of each visitor, with the content that they saw both responding to and testing that value profile.

The result was tested in a live exhibition with members of the public and was found to provide an engaging experience. However the main findings presented in this paper will be in the process of development and how it allowed the design group to work with values while accepting that these were provisional rather than definitive. This will be discussed in the light of existing theories that govern the design of museums and their content and also theories of designing including recent thinking which draws on Polanyi’s theories of tacit knowledge to describe a role for designers in tacitly processing experience rather than explicitly executing a brief.

Key words: Interactive Media, Museum, Unencumbered, Personalised, Values.

Download full paper from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: