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Visual Methods for the Design of Shape-Changing Interfaces

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Shape-changing interfaces use physical change in shape as input and/or output. As the field matures, it will move from technology-driven design toward more formal processes. However, this is challenging: end-users are not aware of the capabilities of shape-change, devices are difficult to demonstrate, and presenting single systems can ‘trap’ user-thinking into particular forms. It is crucial to ensure this technology is developed with requirements in mind to ensure successful end-user experiences. To address this challenge, we developed and tested (n = 50) an approach that combines low-fidelity white-box prototypes and high-fidelity video footage with end-user diagram and scenario sketching to design context dependent devices. We analysed the outputs of our test process and identified themes in device design requirements, and from this constructed a shape-change stack model to support practitioners in developing, classifying, and synthesising end-user requirements for this novel technology.