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creative user

The Creative User is an integrated audience research and documentation project, exploring one of the key concerns for many cultural practitioners: how to engage the public user (participant/audience) of responsive media in a process of interaction and creation.

The question and concept of ‘Creative Use’ is at the heart of development in responsive media where the user becomes an ‘Inter-Actor’ required to influence, activate or create the experience.

The project draws on the shinkansen methodology of integrating artistic and audience development in the processes of production and presentation.

Creative User Research supports the improvement and enhancement of User Experience in the field of responsive media creation. It has a focus on the learning needs of developers of ‘Expressive User Interfaces’ through the provision of bespoke programmes of user research – testing, feedback, evaluation and sharing outcomes.


Document processes of user creation and interaction from the user perspective.

  • Role of the user as an Inter-Actor
  • Scope of creative use by the public
  • Centres of user interest and satisfaction
  • Education and marketing requirements

Identify development strategies for improvement and enhancement of the user experience:

  • Ways and means of enhancing human creativity and interaction
  • Information and communication requirements for both novice and specialist users
  • Adaptations/evolutions required to maximise usability and quality of user experience

Explore appropriate methodologies for creative user research

  • Build creative user testing into the fabric of the development process
  • Gather data on the user – profiles, roles, behaviour, feedback, needs
  • Share and network research with those involved in the production, promotion and development of responsivity.

Phase 1: Future Physical Programme

Creative User Research revolved around case studies.

Case Study Projects

Case studies encompassed a range of different forms, content, locations, venue/contexts, users and project stages (process, production and presentation).

July 02 through to April 2003
CELLBYTES and CLUSTER – workshop and club events – telematics based

September 02
TRAJET – workshop and installation – sensor based

December 02
tx0om – process and playspace – sensor/AI based

April 03
texterritory – process and performance – sms based
Wear Me – exhibition and live event – wearable computing/smart textiles
creativeuser day @ Respond - a one day symposium for developers and researchers in April 2003.

August 03 onwards
COAST DIGITAL– workshop and site specific artwork – GPS based


Quantitive USER PROFILING and FEEDBACK at various live events and online through the Future Physical website.

Various methodologies in use were:

1. Archive Documentation: recording of events in Future Physical by video, photography and writing.
2. Live to Web Reporting: a real time and on site activity posting process notes, reviews , participant listings and video recordings of events to the site for virtual viewing and debate involvement.
3. User profiling - quantitive data gathering through questionnaire at live events and on web site – user demographics, attendance behaviour, interest areas and satisfaction indicators
4. User Feedback: qualitative data gathering through live events and web site –public vox pops, developer interviews, user feedback sessions
5. User Testing: workshop experiments with targetted professionals and community groups.

Research Reports

The user data collected during the course of Phase 1: Future Physical programme will be published in the form of a web site and DVD report.
It will define key user concepts, issues and development and communication requirements in areas of p.r., design and education.
Evaluation and dissemination is supported by a NESTA Learning Award. Publication release date: Spring 2004.

Debbi Lander, Development Director,
shinkansen/Future Physical/creativeuser:


Phase 1 Research supported by shinkansen, Future Physical, NESTA, Culture 2000 framework of the European Commission and Arts Council of England.

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