Exploring the challenge of designing rituals


Lévy, P. (2015). Exploring the challenge of designing rituals. In V., Popovic, A., Blackler, & B., Kraal (Eds.), the Proceedings of 6th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, IASDR 2015. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland University of Technology.

Our lives are a collection of rituals. The way we wake up, the way we leave or enter our home are two of the many rituals each of us have constructed, and they structure our everyday lives. However, designing rituals remains challenging because of the nested structures of events within a ritual (temporal complexity) and the required consistency between the ritual and the involved artifacts. In this first Research-through-Design iteration, we introduce a workshop done to explore the way to design rituals from an interaction design perspective. Our inquiry addresses such approach and aims at proposing tools to support the design or the evaluation of daily rituals. The workshop was structured by a introduction session (a Japanese tea ceremony) and two iterations leading towards the design of a high-resolution ritual and required artifacts for welcoming people home for Dutch students. Findings mainly pointed out different starting points for designing rituals, suggested the pervasive effect of engagement in rituals, and proposed a descriptive tool to provide the designer with participants’ perspectives in and affect by the ritual.