April 23, 2023

Documentation can support design work and create opportunities for learning and reflection. During my Master's at UC Berkeley, I worked with other graduate students at Professor Eric Paulos's Hybrid Ecologies Lab to build Kaleidoscope, a novel documentation tool for a remote interaction design course. We explored how it provides insight into design process and integrates strategies from expert practice to support studio-style collaboration and reflection.

Using a "research through design" approach, we developed and deployed Kaleidoscope in an upper-level HCI class during the COVID-19 pandemic, iteratively developing it in response to student feedback and needs. In our CHI '23 Best Paper, Kaleidoscope: A Reflective Documentation Tool for a User Interface Design Course, we discuss key themes from the real-world deployment of Kaleidoscope, including: tensions between documentation and creation; effects of centralizing discussion; privacy and visibility in shared spaces; balancing evidence of achievement with feelings of overwhelm; and the effects of initial perceptions and incentives on tool usage. These successes and challenges provide insights to guide future tools for design documentation and HCI education that scaffold learning process as an equal partner to execution.

Kaleidoscope displays artifacts generated during the design process in a virtual studio space, providing a shared repository for project teams to collect their work, document and annotate their progress, and receive feedback from peers and instructors. In our paper, we report data from a variety of surveys, critique sessions, discussions, and interviews with students and course staff to understand how a documentation tool like Kaleidoscope can support collaboration, metacognition, making progress visible, high-level views of project histories, and personalization of a remote studio environment. We discuss successes and challenges encountered by students and researchers, and how these insights might support HCI educators building tools for teaching design process. We envision the lessons learned from Kaleidoscope may support a future of design tools which holistically understand the design process wherever it happens, support student learning, sharing, and metacognition, and makes creative process visible for discussion, critique, and intentional modification.

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Sarah Sterman, Molly Nicholas, Jessie Mindel, Eric Paulos

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