Monday, November 07, 2005

ArchiTECH - Usability Solutions for Architects

ArchiTECH A long, long time ago, I had taken the Introduction to Human Computer Interaction class at Georgia Tech taught by none other than Professor Beth Mynatt. Of course, one of the very first things she'd said about the HCI project was that it should not be boring crappy fluffy HCI stuff (e.g. cellphone, PDA and other easy-to-tackle usability issues). So, I'd suggested that we look at structural engineering issues (I used to/still work at the Computer Aided Structural Engineering Lab at GT). But after much discussion and head-scratching, we went ahead and chose to look instead at Architecture as a possible area, hoping to find some interesting problems to tackle. So it turned out that that is indeed the case, with several interesting issues in that area. Trust you me, those darned Architects have a real lot of problems. :-|

And thus was formed A r c h i T E C H -- with the explicit goal of trying to provide solutions to Architects. Our enlightening and insightful motto was summed up quite nicely, of course we didn't realize that Beth would read any of it! ;)
We're the ArchiTechs. We want to do cell phone stuff. Just kidding Beth. you think I don't read these things ... :-) Beth
After much discussion with structural engineers, architects and folks involved in the construction industry, we decided to explore a series of problems specific to the architectural domain. So, we had three devices - the aWall, a large architectural display solution to evaluate designs and collaborate during discussions, the aDesk, a desk-based solution for an individual architect or a small team of architects working individually and the aTab, a personal tablet-PC solution for the average architect to help aid their moments genius.
Our design space is quite nicely summed up by this diagram:
Of course, that is a purely objective view of our design space, but that's about it. If you're more interested, you can read more detailed project notes and documents on the work we'd done: Yeah, there're several pretty pictures and stuff in there. And a hell lot of study results and other material on why we did what we did. So, does anybody think there is market-value in this work, or stuff related to this? Comments, insights and stupidity appreciated!