Sixth Design Sprint: Lists with feedback


Creating non-visual feedback

The Initial Idea for this week was to explore how we might be able to move visual cues for understanding of our location in a menu into physical feedback.  If we think of list of items, we rely on our visual senses to interpret our place in the list, and how we need to interact to get to what we are looking for. 


If we think about interacting with the same list without looking at the screen, we can see that this is now a much harder task. Visual feedback such as a scrollbar, alphabetical or numerical ordering and the top and bottom of a list provide a number of different sources of information that we use to interpret our place within a system.

The goal of this sprint was to explore how we might create feedback within a physical control that can assist with non-visual placefinding.


This sprint saw a return to the rotary dial as a control device. Whereas in previous sprints I explored how user input might effect a control, during this sprint I wanted to explore how a control might provide feedback to the user.


The initial prototype contained a rotary encoder, a solenoid, and a DC motor. The DC was attached via a reduction gear to the rotary encoder. The idea would be that when the user turns the wheel past the end of a list, the wheel would then spring back, letting the user know that there is no further content to be scrolled through. 


The DC motor was programmed to trigger when the user got to the end of the list, in the opposite direction to the direction that the user had been scrolling. This worked quite well in creating the feeling of hitting an invisible wall.

What I learned

This week was quite useful in exploring how to create a physical interpretation of a digital concept. In doing the work this week I began to see a lot of possibilities in terms of how this might be expanded upon. 

I hope to explore this concept further as I begin the refinement stages of the project.