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Research

Tyler Fox's Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the faculty member is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the faculty member or an advisor to learn more about these groups.


Winter – Spring 2021

The UX of Climate Change: Western Red Cedar Dieback

How do we notice and experience climate change? How might we design human-centered experiences that contribute to science, while also considering the impact on local communities? In this DRG, we will partner with Forest Health Watch and approach these questions through Western red cedar dieback.

Western red cedars are a critical organism in PNW forests. Environmentally, they perform critical roles such as storing carbon, filtering water, and cleaning the air. Western red cedars also have cultural importance with many indigenous communities. Currently, Western red cedars are dying back across the region, most likely caused by climate change. Scientists believe that Western red cedars offer a unique opportunity to track the effects of climate change in our region.

In Spring 2021, we will shift focus from current conditions and solutions to consider future conditions. Drawing upon discursive design techniques, we will seek ways to understand, imagine, and envision future states of a changing world. 


Autumn 2020

POST(-)HUMAN HAZMAT: Design fiction for multispecies care and collaborative survival in cataclysmic climates

In this DRG, we will explore and design for the concept: post(-)human hazmat by examining what it means to design for multispecies care and collaborative survival in cataclysmic climates. We will examine emerging design practices that emphasize the interrelations between human and nonhuman actors, such as Laura Forlano’s piece, “Posthumanism and Design.” Through works of design fiction, we will ask: How can we reimagine the boundaries of what it means to be human and our relationship with other species and the natural world? And, how can we build more-than-human relationships of care that build protection in hazardous contexts? 

Join us on a creative journey to design some-other-worldly characters, settings, and future scenarios of care and safety. We will use this exploration of the strange and imaginary as a way to sit with, digest, work with, stay with the trouble, communicate, and interrogate concepts, implications, and other considerations for this world. We will develop a series of scenarios in the form of comic strips. By the end of the quarter we will curate our narratives together into a final zine. 

The sessions will largely be a co-design studio where we can work collaboratively on our designs through design sprint activities. Each week, we will have readings, videos, and other types of media to check out that will help contextualize the upcoming activities in the design process. We will use a collage of methods, pulling from user-centered design, value sensitive design, speculative design, discursive design, critical design, and multispecies ethnography. 

The work of imagining alternative worlds is a useful practice for designers. We will make use of Le Guin's subjunctive mood to invoke the "what if" of speculative fiction. We will find inspiration from artistic mediums such as science fiction and graphic novels, interesting technologies such as coral planting robots, and fascinating species entanglements. 

We are looking for 6-8 undergraduate or graduate students to participate in this DRG. No prior experience in these areas needed. You do not need to be in the HCDE major to participate.

The group will be facilitated by PhD student Michael Beach (mwb8@uw.edu) with guidance from Tyler Fox. 


Autumn 2019

Design Research: Cultural Probes

This DRG will provide students with hands-on research experience using cultural probes. Cultural probes were introduced in 1999 as a playful, open-ended design research method. As a method, they are generative in nature, producing unique, qualitative results that require interpretation. It is an approach that will help broaden your understanding of human-centered design. Due to their nature, probes require an appreciation of, and comfort with, ambiguity, applicants must be willing to experiment and take risks! 

Students will work in groups to create, deploy, and analyze probes within Seattle communities. Simultaneously, we will explore the literature behind probes and similar research methods to understand their broader potential. 

This DRG will give priority to HCDE MS students currently enrolled in HCDE 518. However, advanced undergraduates and graduate students are welcome to apply.


Problematic Futures

Spring 2019

Co-directed by Brock Craft and Tyler Fox

In this DRG we will use design as a tool for critical thought, reflection, and commentary. Following a trajectory of discursive design practice (radical design, anti-design, critical design, speculative design, design as inquiry, to name a few) participants in this DRG will read, discuss, and design in response to a selection of provocations drawn from critical theory, cinema, and contemporary design. We seek individuals who want to think deeply about the world, and what it could be.

We use the term problematic as a means of directing attention to thickly contextual knots comprised of bodies, institutions, and ideas. Here, design methods become a way to understand these different contextual knots as imbricating structures of lived experience. While our reading list is still under construction, participants can expect to read Flusser, Simondon, Latour, and more.

The DRG will follow a tight structure of read, discuss, and critically respond through low-fidelity prototypes meant to provoke new thought and experience. The course will conclude with three weeks of frenetic building and critique as participants make a more complex prototype.


Human Centered Design in London Preparatory Seminar (1 credit)

Spring 2019

This bi-weekly seminar will prepare students for the design work that they will undertake during the Study Abroad Program. We will prepare to explore the cultural and design context of London and discuss readings on design strategies and methods. Practical considerations for the program will also be covered.

This course meets bi-weekly, for 2 hours. This DRG is exclusive to and required for participants in the HCDE in London Study Abroad program.


Removing Barriers: Exploring User Experiences in the new Burke Museum

Winter 2018

The new Burke Museum offers an exciting opportunity to apply user-centered design processes in a dynamic, real-world context. Currently, as the museum staff prepares to move into their new building, they are prototyping new museum spaces wherein researchers perform their work in the public eye. These spaces are in the existing building and not only constitute new ways of working, but also new forms of public engagement. This comes with multiple challenges and opportunities, and stakeholders.

In this DRG, we will consider distinct points of view (researchers, interpretive staff, and visitors) through direct engagement and observation. We will also explore potential technologies and design interventions through which to create evocative museum experiences that support the needs of the Burke’s various stakeholders.

Students will work in small teams and present design proposals at the end of Winter Quarter.


Problematic Futures

Spring 2018

In this DRG we will use design as a tool for critical thought, reflection, and commentary. Following a trajectory of discursive design practice (radical design, anti-design, critical design, speculative design, design as inquiry, to name a few) participants in this DRG will read, discuss, and design in response to a selection of provocations drawn from critical theory, cinema, and contemporary design. We seek individuals who want to think deeply about the world, and what it could be.

We use the term problematic as a means of directing attention to thickly contextual knots comprised of bodies, institutions, and ideas. Here, design methods become a way to understand these different contextual knots as imbricating structures of lived experience. While our reading list is still under construction, participants can expect to read Flusser, Simondon, Latour, and more.

The DRG will follow a tight structure of read, discuss, and critically respond through low-fidelity prototypes meant to provoke new thought and experience. The course will conclude with three weeks of frenetic building and critique as participants make a more complex prototype.

Instructors: Brock Craft and Tyler Fox


Designing Bioluminescent Displays

Autumn 2017 & Winter 2019

Bioluminescence is light produced by living organisms. Pyrocistis fusiformis is a single-celled, nonmotile dinoflagellate (algae) that emits a flash of light when physically agitated. Bioluminescent algae can be found in seawater around the world. In this DRG will explore the expressive potential of bioluminescent algae as a form of display. Students will learn how to propagate algae, use physical computing to agitate it, and utilize the affordances of this form of bioluminescence in a display.

We will collaboratively construct a display as a group, then students will divide into small teams to create custom visualizations for it. Along the way, we will consider intersecting questions regarding our topic: What are practicalities and limits of bioluminescence? What are the ethical questions of designing with living organisms? How can speculative projects such as this help provoke environmentally-sensitive design, or do they? Students can expect to gain practical skills in physical computing and interactive installations as well as to grapple with broader, theoretical questions, such as, what should living displays be used for, and why?

While we seek to develop a robust, interdisciplinary group, ideal candidates will have significant interest in, or basic skill in:

Physical Computing/Electronics
Physical Prototyping
Interaction Design
Interactive Art
Creative Coding
Marine Biology

Faculty:  Tyler Fox, Brock Craft


Designing Interactivity in the Urban Landscape

Spring 2017

Instructors: Tyler Fox, Brock Craft, Andrew Davidson

EXPLORE interactivity with large screen interfaces!
INVESTIGATE sensors and gestural interactions!
DESIGN for a high-profile interactive public display wall!

This is the continuing on going project for interactive displays at the West Campus Utility Plant (WCUP) - a brand new major power plant installation on the UW Campus located on University Way. The facility contains 12 large, street-facing, high-resolution screens. This DRG will explore and implement prototype interactions for this display, enabling passersby to gain an understanding of the University’s commitment to the environment and energy conservation, and enhancing public perception of UW Campus and UW sustainability profile. Team members will investigate possible gestural, sensor-driven interactions and incorporate feeding live data to the responsive displays. 

The WCUP displays are intended to be a permanent installation on the UW campus, and student work will be considered for showcasing at a project launch or in the media.

This project is sponsored by the Office of the UW Architect, This DRG requires dedicated and enthusiastic students at all levels (BS to PhD) to help with the project. We will be limiting participation to a small number of students. Only those willing to commit to at least 3 credit hours will be considered.

Ideal candidates will have some of the following knowledge/skills:

User Research
Contextual inquiry
UI Prototyping
Physical Computing/Electronic​s
HTML+CSS+Javascript
D3
Information Visualization