Process - Senior Thesis - A Tool for Designers

1999 design from my senior year - a solution to the restrictions technology places on designer's process

XIO - The perfect tool for designers 
10 years before the iPad, my senior thesis asked the following questions: 
• What is the relationship between at designer and their tools? Their machines?
• How do they work? Do they work with tools or machines in their process?

I learned that a tool is something that extends a designer's abilities while a machine replaces it. The documentation of this was a very aggressive critique of how we designers work. The computer as a start does some things well but many things it fails at.  For example, trying to draw with a mouse at arm's length vs using a pencil and paper. 

The Solution
The form factor - the portable scroll case, a permanent vessel for the memories using it bestows, the internal components to be swapped out, extendable flexible touch interface with multiple points of interaction so that two people can actually work on the same design.

The Interface
The process palette, at the top of the screen, kept track of all the iterations of the designs. While the history palette is a wonderful too, it is limited by the linearity of its design. You can go forward and backwards, but if you take a different direction with your design, you lose access to all the experimentation you did on the first line of experimentation. If there is one thing that I have learned by putting my portfolio up on Behance, it is designers are inherently bad at documenting their own work. This is my thesis' main point, that some part of the designer's process need to be replaced by machines, in this case that document their experimentation. In others, they need a tool that allows them to express themselves using their hands or stylus. Do you ever wonder why architecture was curvier 200 years ago when everything was drawn by hand or modeled in clay, but as we move to drafting tables and computers we see the rise of the square - because it is easier to draw using these tools! Or at least that was my opinion 10 years ago... The tool obviously influences the process and therefore the result of a designer's work.

XIO was an attempt to allow for the most natural interface for designing, while allowing for automation of the areas historically weakest for designers, but still critical. 
The Process palette showing the grid for tracking the DE - design elements - and their intersections points. Expanding this to all the details up to be able to work with them. Also, is a detail of the history palette limitations on the left. 
Details of the scrolls as displayed for the show. These design served the purpose of informing about the technology as well as simulating the display as it was designed. 
Details of the scrolls as displayed for the show. These design served the purpose of informing about the technology as well as simulating the display as it was designed. 
XIO design tool at display at the senior show
XIO design tool at display at the senior show
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