Prototyping a tangible tool for design: Multimedia e-paper sticky notes

Abstract

Modern design embraces digital augmentation, especially in the interplay of digital media content and the physical dispersion and handling of information. Based on the observation that small paper memos with sticky backs (such as Post-Its ™) are a powerful and frequently used design tool, we have created Post-Bits, a new interface device with a physical embodiment that can be handled as naturally as paper sticky notes by designers, yet add digital information affordances as well.

A Post-Bit is a design prototype of a small electronic paper device for handling multimedia content, with interaction control and display in one thin flexible sheet. Tangible properties of paper such as flipping, flexing, scattering, and rubbing are mapped to controlling aspects of the multimedia content such as scrubbing, sorting, or up- or downloading dynamic media (images, video, text). In this paper we discuss both the design process involved in building a prototype of a tangible interface using new technologies, and how the use of Post-Bits as a tangible design tool can impact two common design tasks: design
ideation or brainstorming, and storyboarding for interactive systems or devices.