Call for Papers and Demos

The work presented at DeSForM focuses on new meanings and interaction modalities with technology-affected artefacts. It addresses design challenges, theories, experiences, systems, and new developments. This single-track conference provides a unique forum for exchanging ideas and presenting innovative studies through Talks and Interactive Demos.

To present their work as a Talk, authors should submit a long paper. Interactive Demos are submitted as short papers. All submitted papers (both long and short) will undergo a double-blind review process.

There will be room for 30 long papers and 20 short papers. Authors of accepted short papers are expected to set up and demonstrate their application at the conference.

All long and short papers will be published in refereed conference proceedings both online and in a paper volume as previous DeSForM conference proceedings.

Suggested Topics

We invite to submit high-quality original contributions that face the issue of designing artefact’s aesthetics and meanings by exploiting new materials and technologies (both tangible and virtual), which give rise to innovative interactive forms.

The following three topics are of particular interest for DeSForM 2015. However, research works addressing more general issues on the topic of design meaning, semantics and aesthetics in smart, dynamic and interactive products or systems, are appropriate for the conference.

1. Tangible, smart and dynamic objects: how the new aesthetics affects meaning and experience

Tangible artefacts are always more getting embedded with sensors, electronics, processors, smart devices and smart materials. These elements make them intelligent and interactive, but also able to actively change their aesthetics (i.e. their sensory appearance) over time, in a controlled and reversible manner. For this reason, products are shifting towards new paradigms, where their aesthetics is no more static, but becomes dynamic.

In addition to being only expressive elements, multi-sensory transformations in products’ aesthetics (e.g. changes in light, shape, temperature, sound, tactile qualities, textures, smell, etc.) can also be exploited to convey messages and bits of information, which, instead of being displayed by conventional visual interfaces, are displayed by dynamic sensations. The aesthetics of such sensory communication is a core element of the interaction with dynamic artefacts, and has the power to affect the user experience at different levels (cognitive, sensory, and emotional). For this reason, designing the dynamic qualities of product’s appearance is decisive to create enhanced experiences and interactions with artefacts, especially while mediating social relations and human connections. DeSForM has always been interested in how artefacts showing active behaviour interact with people, mediate their communications and affect their experience.

We seek contributions able to add knowledge to the design field by addressing, among others, the following questions:

What meaning can design give to technologies through the design of artefacts’ dynamic features?

How can design best mediate between individuals, groups, cultures, social institutions, by focusing on the dynamic aesthetics of tangible products, spaces, environments and material artefacts in general?

How can active and dynamic physical products mediate social relations, from intimate relations to grand-scale social interactions?

Keywords: dynamic products; product design; product meaning; tangible interaction; multi-sensory experience; aesthetics

2. Designing and virtualizing the multisensory product experience

With novel technologies we can experience the reality in a completely new way. What is real can be virtually augmented, and what is virtual can have pieces of reality inside, thus breaking down and mediating the boundary between what exists and what people imagine. We can seamlessly be transported from reality to virtuality, where our senses are stimulated and deceived by the technology. Virtualization can enrich our experiences of the real by adding aesthetic elements and new meanings, making reality more informed, beautiful, and wealthy. Furthermore, by means of multimodal and multisensory approaches, virtualization technologies can be used for engaging people in complete new worlds, in which their emotions can freely stream and be better understood.

Aesthetics is concerned with the creation and the appreciation of the beauty and the study of sensory-emotional values, deeply related with ethics and well-lived life, so the role of virtualization technologies in the contest of design is even stronger. Virtualization of products and of the experience with products becomes the medium between what designers imagine for improving people’ lives in aesthetically and ethically appreciable ways, and what the real world is. Designers can use the multisensory virtual technologies to make visible their aesthetic ideas, and to study in which way they can impact people lives, experiences and emotions.

The conference intends to explore new ways for using virtualization technologies as medium for creating novel products and scenarios, and involving people in new engaging experiences, which could lead to an improvement of the quality and aesthetics of their life.

Keywords: Multisensory interaction, product experience, virtualization, design process

3. From smart to wise: toward a new conception of digital products and services

The digital world is quickly growing and evolving, and should promise innovative and tantalizing scenarios also through internet of things and diffused “smartness”. On the other hand, the paradigms governing the interaction between people and products and systems lack an equivalent evolution and, as a result, we are overexposed to a large number of unavoidable technological solutions that are far from being desirable.  The generation of new products and services based on the combination between ubiquitous computing, connectivity, places and objects of everyday life, is not sufficient, on its own, to generate progress and we believe that new approaches to interaction design are needed. We suggest that it’s time to focus on the aesthetics and ethic dimensions of the user experience and to explore different paradigms of human-machine interaction beyond usability and simplicity requirements. Our interest is on metaphors, meanings and sensorial effects that are produced by the way activities are carried on with the support of digital devices and information.

Through the design of interactive objects and spaces, designers enable new behaviors, induce changes in mental frames and human abilities, modify perception of space, time and social interaction, and induce different attitudes.  As a consequence, designers must be aware of the meanings they are transferring through the user experience and should promote the experimentation of languages, effects and models of user engagement out of the grooves of consolidated user centered interaction design methodologies.

The aim of this topic is the sharing and the discussion around the design of technology-based solutions, so to raise new questions and perspectives: the focus is on the intangible qualities of interactive artifacts that act as mediators in the design of new services.

We are seeking contributions based on design experiences and on theoretical thinking; the focus is on the design of interactive products aimed to provide pleasurable and emotional gratification through aesthetics and formal characteristics of interactive processes, emerging dynamics and meaningful experiences. Interactive products could be, but not only: interactive and connected objects that communicate each other, wearable objects, playful artifacts, interactive systems that affect how we perceive and live spaces and places, etc.

Some questions to be addressed by contributions could be:

From “smart” to “wise” interactive systems and services: how can we ride technology innovation?

Fascinating interactions: can we design intriguing interactive artifacts and services?

Ethic-driven design and aesthetic ambitions: how can we give formal quality to digital solutions?

Getting free of digital slavery: can we design meaningful digital experiences?

Keywords: Interactive systems, meaningful interactions, ethic driven design, user experience design, technology innovation, smart systems, digital artifacts, intangible qualities, interaction design, playful artifacts, perceptions, sense-making.