CLOSE

METAPHORIC INTERFACES

A case study for the digitally enabled luxury kitchen

Successful interfaces have often been the result of powerful metaphors. By likening an unfamiliar context to one we are more familiar and experienced with, it becomes relatable and easier to navigate.

INFO

2019

Year

TU Delft

Institution

Master Thesis

Type

Gaggenau

Partner

Ianus Keller,
Rick Schifferstein,
Piotr Szpryngwald

Supervisors

MOTIVATION

As technology evolves, it permeates more and more aspects of our lives. It creates exciting new possibilities but also introduces new risks and complexities. Successfully navigating these waters requires interfaces that can effectively mediate between our intuition and new opportunities.

Despite this, the interfaces we use are often universal and literal, providing little salience to the relevance of individual choices. In the kitchen space, I want to find alternatives to conventional graphical user interfaces that fall short of being successful mediators.

UNIVERSAL INTERFACES

can be ill-equipped to convey complex, digital intformation

CROSS-MODAL METAPHORS

to give data physical shapes relevant to its context

SUMMARY

Breaking with the two-dimensional nature of screens, I see an opportunity to create immersive, physical interface metaphors with greater contextual relevance. These metaphors may work by themselves or be used to complement and expand on existing digital interfaces.

By physically shaping digital information into cross-modal metaphors, we can experience computation in a way that is tailored to its context of use. This allows our sensory abilities to help us explore and understand its meaning.

To explore these opportunities, I reached out to Gaggenau, a manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances, and convinced them to sponsor this endeavor.

BLACK BOXES

cause information relevant to the process to move beyond sensory reach

CONTEXT

With its wealth of sensory stimuli, the kitchen offers many qualities beneficial to creating interface metaphors. Through user research, I identified relevant scenarios for such interventions. They tend to arise when little to no information is available to the senses. These sensory “black boxes” are usually caused by literal boxes: Ovens, microwaves, fridges, etc. Often accompanied by novel technology, encounters meant to enable users to do new things can seem overwhelming and intimidating.

OBJECTIVE

ENABLE USERS

to let their sensory intuition support their ambitions

DYNAMIC EXPLORATION

of information made tangible in multi-dimensional space through physical expressions

MULTIMODAL DIAL

The dial can modulate its stiffness, volume, texture, and color – allowing it to embody data in a contextually relevant form. Its haptic properties can, for example, enable users to feel changes in volume and stiffness of baked goods or the doneness of meat as though they were directly experiencing them.

Advanced information, such as data recorded by a multi-point temperature probe, can be explored three-dimensionally. Its pressure sensitivity allows the dial to sense the depth of a finger in the actuator. Its visual response provides additional context to the information on an accompanying screen – it adds a third spatial dimension to a display.

CONCLUSIONS

NEW LAYERS

of sensory depth to let our curiosity guide us into