Device Ecology Mapper


  • Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)
  • Ph.D. project (I was primary designer)


Problem: We needed a way to capture data about the devices people own that is clear and easy to use. We also needed to find a way to do it in an automated way to collect a massive amount of data related to it.


This is an affinity diagramming session we did to work toward ecology mapping.


  • Using affinity diagramming, participants mapped their device ecologies with post-it notes and a whiteboard
  • Concept generation and sketching to explore representations for digital, automated system
  • Paper prototype of the agreed upon best idea informally tested with participants
  • Flash prototype with improvements from past test with formal usability test


The chosen design idea with two variations: one more normal graph with nodes and edges and a second more relaxed version.


This was an alternative idea where connections were made like puzzle connections. Puzzle pieces would morph to fit parts of the ecology already mapped.


These are all the components of the paper prototype.

Solution: We created a digital, Flash-based prototype based on a metaphor of pinning things to a corkboard. There were plans for a system for displaying the collected data, but it was not completed.


This is a shot of the digital prototype. A version that does not record data still is available.

Click here to make your own device ecology map on the digital prototype.

Outcomes: The data recording portion of the prototype was completed. It never was deployed, but it is ready for that purpose.


Dates of Project: Jan 2008-Mar 2012

UX Methods Used: Affinity Diagramming, Sketching, Paper Prototyping, Flash Prototyping

My Roles: Research, Writing, Artistry, Programming, Design