Welcome

A headshot of Dr Scott Brown during a promotional photoshoot with the Kaspar robot at UNSW Art & Design Creative Robotics Lab.

Hi there! I am a Lecturer at UNSW Sydney, where you can find me leading the Assistive Technology focus of the Creative Robotics Lab and teaching Interaction Design at UNSW Art & Design.

Like most designers, I bring an interdisciplinary approach to my research and teaching. However, my main interest is in working alongside neurodiverse populations to develop interactive experiences to enrich the lives of people often marginalised by emerging technologies. What does this mean? A few definitions are helpful here…

[Judy] Singer’s notion of neurodiversity was that autism and Asperger’s were not an ‘affliction’ but another state of being with equal rights to live and reproduce… Over time the neurodiversity community has grown to include conditions such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia/DCD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

From its earliest inception, [human-computer interaction] has had the notion of ‘the user’ from ‘user centered design’ to ‘user participation’ there is the implicit notion of ‘user’ in the singular… Neurodiversity suggests that even these approaches carry with them certain assumptions about the cognitive processing abilities of users that need to be challenged.

Dalton, N. (2013). Neurodiversity & HCI CHI EA ’13: CHI ’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems https://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2468356.2468752

Drawing upon the mantra, ‘nothing about us without us‘, I always aim to work with neurodiverse people, not to do work about them. Communicating first-person experiences and the unique knowledge and values of neurodiverse populations is the challenge that I am interested in exploring through Experience Design and Assistive Technology.

Unlike the field of User Experience (UX), which focuses on the usage of technological products, Experience Design aims to (re)tell or share stories of experience. This subtle but important distinction leads to a shift in focus from product development toward a community-led practice…

[Experience Design] starts from the Why, tries to clarify the needs and emotions involved in an activity, the meaning, the experience. Only then, it determines functionality that is able to provide the experience (the What) and an appropriate way of putting the functionality to action (the How). Experience Design wants the WhyWhat and How to chime together, but with the Why, the needs and emotions, setting the tone.

Hassenzahl, M. User Experience and Experience Design https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/book/the-encyclopedia-of-human-computer-interaction-2nd-ed/user-experience-and-experience-design

If these ideas interest you, please get in touch for collaborations, postgraduate research supervision, or just to say hello! You can find my teaching, publications, professional activities, projects and grants in the menu above or on my UNSW researcher profile page.

Interests

  • Experience design
  • Assistive technology
  • Inclusive design
  • Neurodiversity