Media design method


  • Lars Nyre University of Bergen



Technology, materiality, method, experiment, user studies, audiovisual media, locative information


To design a medium means to investigate what happens when a new technology is intentionally introduced into an already existing communicative practice. The research team must be able to respond systematically to on-going, many-faceted, and quite unpredictable practices of media use. The scope is such that development and testing will take several years by teams of 3-4 researchers, plus students. This article belongs to the genre of methodology articles. There are few common references regarding methods, and difficult to compare the designs in a methodical way. I will recommend a comprehensive way of doing things. In this article I stake out a public purpose that should be vital to specifically academic medium design, and present a way for it to be both normative and scientific at the same time. The article sketches the basic steps of a theoretically informed practical testing of opportunities inherent in the interfaces and procedures of communication. It is an experience-based technique for discovery and problem solving. In the following, I will first locate my ”medium design heuristic” in relation to the concepts ”innovation” and ”design”. The remainder of the article presents the steps of the proposed method in chronological order. In short; the research team must formulate a program of action based on the full potential of new media, build a prototype of a new medium, try out procedures for editorial content tailored to it, and evaluate it with external test-users in various experimental treatments. Not least, the public value of the design project must be evaluated, and it is the ultimate measure of failure or success.